Dum_Gen

TLD is removed from GeForce Now

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I hope it gets closed honestly, the topic is too divisive. 

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On 3/12/2020 at 11:36 AM, Hotzn said:

Quite a number of people in this thread - and elsewhere - repeatedly write that they "bought" TLD on Steam, and that they consequently "own" the game. However, section 2.A of the STEAM® SUBSCRIBER AGREEMENT (herreinafter: SSA) contains the following passage:

"The Content and Services are licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Content and Services."

So it would technically be correct to state that you acquired a license to use a software (in this case, TLD) from Valve. HOW exactly you may use the software depends on the license agreement (in this case, the SSA (and - potentially - additional agreements/terms you have accepted from Valve and/or the developer)), further the agreements concluded between Hinterland and Valve (Valve can likely only grant a license as far as their agreement with Hinterland permits) and any other applicable laws. I will not dig deeper into the legal side, as the question whether Steam customers are 'entitled' to use GFN is not easily answered. Personally, I rather doubt it.

I am quoting myself, since I will try to dig a little deeper into the SSA (or Steam EULA, as some people in this thread are calling it). To avoid the discussion running in circles. Be informed that I know something about law, and therefore I reiterate: Giving answers here is not easy. It's also tricky to find the exact questions which need to be asked.

So, I established above that a Steam customer does not "buy" and "own" a game acquired on Steam, but acquires a license to use it under specific circumstances, which are mainly defined by agreements concluded by the Steam customer Valve, and - potentially - further agreements, also potentially concluded between third parties, and applicable laws. Especially the 'applicable laws' part can be complicated, since these laws may depend on where the customer is situated or living when acquiring the game (eg compulsory consumer protection laws). But for the time being, we shall assume that the SSA gives us answers, and that no laws are applicable which overrule them.

Now one interesting question might be: Is a Steam customer entitled (or: does he/she have the 'right') to install and run the Steam client and a game acquired on Steam on a virtual PC (meaning on hardware owned by a third party), using his/her Steam account on that virtual PC? According to 1.C SSA, you are - among other things - forbidden to "share" the password to your Steam account. I would assume that by accessing your Steam account on a remote PC via a service provided by a third party (here: GFN), you are entering your password into an interface of that service, which at least opens up the possibility that the service provider can technically get to know your password. On the legal side, I would then assume that this means "sharing" your password. If my assumptions are correct (you may of course debate them), then a Steam user is not entitled to install and run TLD via GFN on the basis of 1.C SSA alone. But let's look further: According to 2.G SSA, you are - among other things - forbidden to "transfer reproductions of the Content and Services to other parties in any way", further to "emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Valve in any network feature of the Content and Services". I would assume that playing TLD via GFN technically requires either installing another copy of TLD on your virtual PC or emulating Valve's communication protocols to use some other copy of TLD already existing on GFN servers (I might be wrong in these assumptions, if so please correct me, tekkies). I would further assume that the former represents 'transferring a reproduction to a third party', and the latter represents 'emulating or redirecting the communication protocols used by Valve'. So, if my assumptions are correct, playing Steam games on a virtual PC would also mean violating 2.G of the SSA.

Please don't take this as a final legal opinion, but a rough sketch of where my preliminary thoughts are going. Make of it what you will.

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I haven't read 95% of this thread, but I think in the end it comes down to control. Hinterland wants all the control, customers want all the control, valve wants all the control, etc etc.

The real objective is to find a balance that most people can agree with. Personally I haven't purchased a game on steam in years I think because it has too much control, telling me I require an internet connection to reliably load a game and also allowing devs to force patch in loot boxes and other things. Most of the control is with companies and not customers and they know their customers will accept it so they stay there where it's comfortable.

I am mostly talking about AAA publishers here, but all the CEOs know gamers are generally pretty weak. That's why they keep screwing people over and they know the people they're slapping in the face will beg for more. It's pathetic, honestly. All the people calling for boycotts because of human rights abuse or customer exploitation just eat up that next call of duty or diablo. I bet 98% of the people who purchased that WC3 abomination will be yelling that they won't be buying D4 because of the real money auction house and macrotransactions as they pre-order the game having long forgotten that blizzard supports murdering people.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/15/2020 at 12:13 PM, Hotzn said:

I would assume that by accessing your Steam account on a remote PC via a service provided by a third party (here: GFN), you are entering your password into an interface of that service, which at least opens up the possibility that the service provider can technically get to know your password.

At another section (I don't remember, but can look up if you like) Valve however grants you to access you Steam account from any PC, as long as you don't run a copy of a game (not Steam) twice. So I guess this kinda frustrates the idea that entering a password is considered sharing. Edit: However the technical means exist to achieve that from Nvidias side. Then again, your friends PC could have a keylogger just as much.

On 3/15/2020 at 12:13 PM, Hotzn said:

According to 2.G SSA, you are - among other things - forbidden to "transfer reproductions of the Content and Services to other parties in any way", further to "emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Valve in any network feature of the Content and Services". I would assume that playing TLD via GFN technically requires either installing another copy of TLD on your virtual PC or emulating Valve's communication protocols to use some other copy of TLD already existing on GFN servers (I might be wrong in these assumptions, if so please correct me, tekkies). I would further assume that the former represents 'transferring a reproduction to a third party', and the latter represents 'emulating or redirecting the communication protocols used by Valve'. So, if my assumptions are correct, playing Steam games on a virtual PC would also mean violating 2.G of the SSA.

I guess what 2.G SSA explicitly tried to forbid is downloading from Valves repositories to other parties (than yourself) or manipulate the data stream in ways to achieve this. So while you are technically fine installing a copy of TLD for yourself on another PC, you have to install it for yourself. What GFN does with proxy-hosting Valve's repository is questionable and probably in violation of this, but you still have to install it yourself via direct user action, which might be enough for a judge to rule in favor of GFN in this case. However, since the Virtual Machine and the installed game remains in GFN's posession you could argue that you should uninstall it after playing - something you probably don't do with a friends PC or in an Internet Cafe (however those have special licensing anyways). Then again just because you don't delete your copy from your Friends PC doesn't mean it legally valid that you don't. It's thin ice, legally, and would probably requires a definite precidential ruling to clear up.

What you could indeed interpret this as is that "transfersfering a reproduction to a third party" would forbid you to stream your game to someone else (which is technically possible, even without Steam), but the current case is more the otherway around, as in Nvidia is streaming a reproduction to you. Then again, I would assume that a court could rule in favor of Valve that GFN is breaking this specific part of the agreement since while technically you are the one fulfilling the actions needed to accomplish this, they provide the means for it, and as such should be bound to this agreement.

The really important part, however, which I see actually primarily disputed is if Hinterland themselves has any legal claim to force removal of their IP from a service/platform/pc rental service, despite Valve being the distributor. I don't see any clearcut answer to this, but I would presume a ruling in Hinterland's favor likely, simply but not only because Nvidia didn't dispute this.

What I guess most people should be able to agree upon is that this case wasn't initially considered when Valve laid out their SSA, as this topic, to my knowledge, isn't explicitly touched on. I also don't think it makes a lot of sense to argue the moral aspect of it any further, since that one is so far and deep into personal opinion territory, and it's unlikely either side will agree with the other.

Edit2: Another important distinction you have to make here is that GFN isn't using Steam's means of streaming a title to another PC, but rather their own solution. I guess this could be another vector to attack this if Valve actually wanted, since while Valve explicitly allows you to stream a game from one instance of Steam running your account to another, they do not allow this for any other form of remote access to software distributed by them - however, again to my knowledge, they also don't forbid it, and I guess it could be put to question if the means of achieving technically the same matter in this case. I guess they could since Valve (and their partners) can control which games you stream via Steam, but not via GFN.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thank you for sharing your views on this topic. At this time we are closing this thread as it has become circular in nature. If you are interested in the topic please read the posts already posted here.

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This topic is now closed to further replies.