It's hard to believe that Sander is a gamer at all if he doesn't even know what an MMORPG is (and why they require an internet connection and cost a monthly fee. Duh.) I don't play them either, but at least I know what they are. This article, I suspect, is really about how p**sed off Sander is at Valve, but he had to throw in at least one other title so as to make it seem like a broader subject. After all, it's too soon on the heels of his "Steam sucks" rant (curiously referred to as a "discussion" in this article. lol)
The issues just raised have been thoroughly explored and rehashed a million times over the years among gamers. The whole affair of not buying the product, but only the license to use it under the publisher's terms, is a very well-known (by most) and long-standing subject among those of us who buy software of any kind. Where have you been for the last decade? Realistically, the only options open to us are to pays our money and agree to give up our firstborn in the EULA, or just "acquire" a cracked version of the product through some mysterious means that I wouldn't know about.
Steam will have to undergo a lot of changes to make it more reliable and painless for those of us who pay for our software, or that business model will simply not last. It's still new, so I've been willing to give Valve the time to make it work or eventually fail shamefully. The free market will win out in the end, as it always does. Subscription-based models are the hot topic in publisher's conference rooms. Not just for PC gaming, but for just about any product or industry where it can be implemented. Look at the success of the consoles, which are, in effect, a kind of subscription model: they practically give away the console at cost, then charge a percentage of the price of all the game titles you buy thereafter, and that's where they make their money. Or look at ink-jet printers: also given away at or below cost, with 90% of revenue coming from replacement ink purchases. MMOGs are already there. And telephones. Television is there, too, unless you just get what's broadcast over-the-air. Radio is not far behind (XM, Sirius). New cars are being leased instead of purchased in ever greater numbers each year. The argument being, since you'll be paying down a new car for years -- when it won't be new anymore -- why not just turn that monthly equity payment into a never-ending fee so you can always be driving a new car (that you never really own)? This is the larger economy moving toward the "insurance model" (the most successful yet).
I have no gripes with anything that was said throughout this article; regarding Valve and their new "Steam" system. I do, however, have to agree with the rest of the users who have commented in this thread.
When you initially purchase a game of the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre (mmorpg), you are essentially paying for "the game". The monthly subscription is due to the fact that MMORPGs, unlike standard video games, are a sort of service ontop of being a game.
You pay for any service for a specified period of use; whether it be for a meal at a resturant, refilling the fuel tank of your vehicle with a certain amount of fuel through someone elses pumps, or for a month to use the internet. With most MMORPGs, that happens to be fairly standard monthly fee.
They are allowing you access to their server, so, a connection to their game. They are allowing you into their "world" which they are expected to update frequently and keep enjoyable for you. This being the service they are offering you; gameplay. Similar to how, when you pay a resturant bill, you expect to receive a quality meal which either meets or exceeds your expectations.
I agree that Sander made a moronic statement when it came to the users agreement and WoW, this makes me wonder if he is a legit "gamer" and if he should even be reviewing games especially MMORPG's.
As for Steam and Valve I have to disagree with the statement made that it's new and should be given a chance to work out all the bugs.
Steam was released about a year and a half ago, just a bit after the time that 1.6 of CS was released, and it's still screwed up in its implimentation and doesn't always stop or detect cheaters and hacks.