From my understanding, folks use Steam because of the extra layer of bullshit, like achievements and social networking features it adds.
And other bullshit, like workshop for easy access, installation and maintenance of mods
, autopatching, for ... Eh, for autopatching, cloud saves for being able to continue playing my game even when I'm on a different computer / harddrive crashes, automatic file verification, so I can fix most of my games with a single button when my game breaks... You know, useless crap like that :-P
I admit I don't know a lot about Steam, how well does the installation and maintenance of mods work? Also, if I edit files, after an update or new patch, would I have to do that all over again? Could it overwrite my changes?
When it comes down to it, my main beef with Steam is that it shouldn't be required to play my games. It should be a service that I want
to use, but I could uninstall it at any time without affecting any of my games. I don't see why this should be a problem unless games are actually built to run with Steam (excluding multi-player and social aspects), and if cracking Steam is easy, that's probably not the case.
Does GameShadow work very well? I don't like the adware sound of it but that could be an option too.
And then there's another point that a certain person has made when I was talking to him recently: When you can resell your stuff, publishers are trying to make games with a lot of longelivity, which in turns leads to tacked-on multiplayer and generally market tends to abandon quality SP games as MP are just more profitable. Sure, it's a natural development, but not really one I like.
This is an argument I don't really understand. A person playing a game longer doesn't make that person pay any more money unless it's a pay to play business model, unless the goal is to have people playing the game because the publishers think that the people who will wait a year before purchasing a game will have to buy new instead of used because everyone is too busy playing a mediocre game's multi-player instead of trading in games and thus create a short supply of that game. This seems negligible to me as most games make most of their money the first couple months anyway. A different way to keep people playing a game is to make modding easy too. I doubt many people gave up their copies of Morrowind, a great game in its own right, but also kept a lot of people playing with mods. I remember seeing new GOTY Editions still selling in brick and mortar stores only a few years ago.
In my experience, I keep games I like and sell forgettable ones that I don't want to ever play or even think about again. I bought the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection and I still kept my original PS2 copies even though I probably won't ever play those versions again just because I really like those games.
On a side note, I will agree with you that an artificially long game is not better than a condensed, short and fun experience. In fact, the way I subjectively value things, if the end result is the same, I'd pay more per minute for the product that saved me more time. Like a yard service, if two are offering the same thing but one is cheaper per hour but also takes a long time, I'd usually go for the other one even if they charge a little bit more for the total job so I don't have to put up with annoying things like listening to the mowers and power tools or have people from the other company in my yard all day.