When You Don’t Own What You Own: Digital Changing The Model and What Happens Next

steamThis article came across my desk this morning about Steam and Valve and it had me thinking again about the changing nature of ownership and consumption in the digital marketplace. The piece called Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming was an interesting read looking at Valves dodgy tactics with Steam and it’s fight against regulatory regimes that mandate refunds.

With Steam and games you can still purchase games on disc, but the convenience of Steam has captured what could be considered an unhealthy section of the market. You need Steam to play your games.

It had me thinking. With ebooks if we buy via Amazon while you get to own a digital copy you need a Kindle or kindle ap to read it. If you purchase in epub there is much more freedom. Music with Apple is actually freer as you can convert your apple files to mp3 and store them elsewhere. Though with music and the surge in streaming services do people still actually buy digital music? I can understand the resurgence of vinyl as the mode of music ownership.

Also companies can remove things from your libraries. We have a subscription to Audible for audio-books and we bought one that came with a bonus audio-book. I really loved the bonus book but later the rights were removed it was removed from my library. This really sucked. I have thought of re-acquiring the bonus audio-book but feel a little put out that they took our free one away.

Not to mention the fact that now we need digital wills so we can pass ownership of our digital collections to family members.

So yeah i’m thinking again on the what do we own, the nature of consumption and what rights we have in this digital cloud based market.