You forgot the random "This game is temporarily unavailable." too !
Quitting and restarting steam fixes that. It is worthy to note that once in the last month, Steam forgot the installation status of my games, but a restart fixed that, and I've never run into the described problem in the Steam Community beta. It should also be noted that Steam's "copy protection" can and will be implicitly updated to change with the times instead of making the same mistake some early 'hard' copy protection schemes did with breaking on newer operating systems.
O NOES. THE HUMANITY. ETC
Starforce? Never even heard of it. Other than that junk that FEAR was using (the one that made it impossible for a lot of people who bought the game to play it, cause it thought they had ripped it.) But who cares, FEAR was a horrible game anyway.
clicky. Yeah, the website is a little activist, but it seems to have all of its information in one place.
I don't see this in Doom3, QuakeIV, WoW, MystIV, etc-
or to go older:
Diablo2, Strife, System Shock2, Syndicate wars, Tiberian Sun, Max Payne, Red faction. whatever else...
Most copy protection is relatively unobtrusive in terms of system intrusion. (and a couple of your examples are laughable, System Shock 2 is notoriously difficult to play on XP these days without a CD crack due to the version of Safedisc that it was shipped with as evidenced here). And again, it requires your CD be in the drive. What if you lose your CD's? It's a lot easier to lose track of a CD than forget a username and password, especially when installation requires 5 or 6 different CD's.
In diablo2/WoW's case, all you have to do is connect to a server to get the latest updates. Or also in diablo2's case, you can download them online if you want to.
Diablo 2 and WoW's most effective form of copy protection is the awesome online play, which is impossible to circumvent barring username/password/CD key theft.
Most games these days allow for some kind of instant direction towards a patch w/o the need for anything like Steam, ever head of something called an "updater"? It's working out great. What you do is start the program, and it finds an update for you. Or tells you to fuck off since you already got the latest version.
Standalone updaters are prone to breaking after a couple of years if a website goes under reorganization.
Doom3 for instance got a cruder version of this, where it through the menu connects to the internet and compares your version with what info it got, and if you got an obsolete version it'll direct you to a website with a list of mirrors where you can get the latest patch.
Steam's is automatic and requires absolutely no effort on my part.
Apart from in Riven for instance, where you had to continuously switch between 5 cds. I don't see the problem with putting a cd in the drive to play a game. Most games these days have abandoned that too anyway, most likely since people can just make an image of the cd.
Why should I have to deal with Daemon tools and wait for copy protection to be broken to play a game I legally own without the CD in the drive?
Are you claiming that Half Life 2 hasn't or can't be warezed? If you are, then you're sorely mistaken. What's even more funny is, that if you got a cracked version of HL2, you don't need Steam. With that in mind, it almost seems like Valve is trying to make people steal their game rather than actually buying it.
Companies don't want any old tom dick and harry to be able to copy it effortlessly, because then the number of casual pirates would be too great to attempt to track down (see: music piracy). Due to copy protection, the secrets of how to copy the game are only known by a few very talanted individuals, who must work anonymously and then produce cracks for the rest of us. Going after those people are considerably easier than going after everyone who shares a game with a friend, and it forces talk of copying games to the outskirts of the internet, since it is implicitly illegal. Business know that they're not going to stop piracy, they just want to spend X amount of money to prevent Y percentage of the populartion from being able to do it easily.
Actually, I were told from a friend of mine who got Half Life 2 and at the day of release cracked it by simply unplugging the network cable at the crucial moments. But I dunno, I wasn't there.
News flash, early versions of Securom, SafeDisc and Starforce were trivial to defeat too.
EDIT: OH and yeah: Steam is fantastic
Wait a second, you're trying to white-knight a moron as a reason that steam sucks? Let's take a look at this guy's post...
Last weekend I decided to take my old HL1 cd and reinstall it. I figured it was going to be a blast to play through it again. So I whipped out my CD's (all of them, HL1, Opposing Force, Blue Shift etc..). Turns out, I can't register these serials with steam (unrecognized serial number for HL).. so I couldn't find any patches. 'No worries' I thought.. let's go to fileplanet.. 2 HOURS WAITING TIME for unregistered users. 'Ok'... I thought.. 'there are others'.. after 30 minutes of browsing, with the CD's still in my lap I gave up.
Time to contact the good folks over at Steam. Original CD keys in the ready. Sent an email.. no reply.. (3x).
'Screw that!' I though.. so I grabbed my credit-card and went into Steam, 'ok..' I thought, 'It's such a good game they'll get my money twice.. the rats..'. I went online and ordered the item 'half-life'. Nice.. now I can download and play.
Sure enough 10 minutes later I was ready to play!
YAY! I thought... well.. not.. Turns out this was the true original HL where I wanted to grab the 'source' version.
Ok, well that sucks.. 10$ down for a game I already owned, without having Opposing Force nor Blue Shift. But that wasn't all. So I went back into Steam to pay another 10$ to download the 'source' version. Mails to Steam about this still need replying. That's 20$ for being able to play a game I already owned to begin with, with no replies (nor service) whatsoever from Steam.
First of all, this guy didn't realize he could register his HL1 CD's on Steam and paid twice for the same game. Second of all, he thinks that Half Life: Source is a patch for Half Life 1 when in reality they're two completely different things. Third, admits he spent three and a half hours trying to contact steam support not taking into consideration that had he contacted support for any other company he would have had the same 1-2 day delay that steam likely has. Fourth, he tried to get a patch from fileplanet, which is actually more of an argument FOR steam than against. And finally, he was an impulsive moron who didn't even ask anyone else about Steam. Usually when you're greeted with something you're unfamiliar with like steam, the first response would be ask someone on...I dunno...the forum he's now complaining about Steam on, instead of wasting 20 dollars on an alien system that you know nothing about. I can totally understand being unfamiliar with steam, but who in their right mind would just simply hand this same unfamiliar system money without asking around first?
In conclusion, this kid obviously has a brain tumor and you're using him to explain to me why Steam blows. Nice.