I love the feeling of finishing the last assignment for the semester. Although I’ll be filling up most of my free time with volunteer work, my first thought is that I can now play games guilt free.
When it comes to video games, music and TV/movies, I feel 3 types of guilt
1. Guilt for procrastinating when I should be studying or being ‘productive’
2. Guilt for wasting money on something that will probably become redundant or uninteresting in the near future
3. Guilt for adding junk to landfill, as a result of buying things that become redundant within a short time
Number 1 isn’t really an issue for now that uni is over, but I think number 2 is the main one that stops people from buying games, upgrading PCs, paying money for movies.
So I’d like to share with you how I go about minimising guilt (thus maximising gaming). 😀
But first, a bit of context.
When I was at primary school and highschool I made mix tapes, burnt CDs for friends and shared game cartridges.
- Pro: cheap and often free
- Con: VHS, VCRs, casettes, CDs, CD cases, shrink wrap, numerous console cartridges and old consoles were all mass produced and are now gathering dust or lying in a garbage pile somewhere
Next up we had mp3s gaining prominence, file sharing became an issue for record companies, Napster was controversial and ultimately shut down, DRM (digital rights management) enforced on digital forms of music, software, games etc.
- Pro: Reduced packaging and waste, digital entertainment is often linked to your ‘account’ so losing a physical disk isn’t a problem, freedom to purchase things from your own home
- Con: Expensive! Suddenly friends and family have to buy their own individual copies of games, software and music
Because of DRM, I’ve lived a sad gaming life. Hidden away from XBox Live and Steam, forced to play games under my partner’s account because it would be ludicrous to spend anywhere up to $80 for a game that he already owns.
Now, finally, there’s an alternative. I think this might be the first of it’s kind (correct me if I’m wrong) – providing consumers with an option that has all the positives of digital game copies PLUS the option to share games with friends and family for free.
And it’s called…. Steam Family Sharing (currently in beta).
First, if you’re unfamiliar with it, what is Steam? Steam is an “entertainment platform” which allows you to purchase and play games via one interface, and connect with family and friends on there. This lets you see when friends are online, what games they’re playing and chat with them. If you play multiplayer games, you can use this interface to invite each other to join. My favourite thing about Steam is that it tracks your progress and achievements in the games you play.
Second, if you want to take advantage of this, ask your close friends and family if they play games on Steam. If you find someone who does, ask them (very nicely) if they’ll share their games with you. There are some caveats, so Steam game owners be careful, but this could save you heaps of money.
I’ll expand on cheap entertainment alternatives later on (such as cheap, easy and legal TV viewing for us poor people in Australia who suffer awful free-to-air TV).
- Steam Is 10 Today. Remember When It Sucked? (kotaku.com)
- Here’s how to use Steam Family Sharing (ocaoimh.ie)