Interesting rant, obviously never tried it
Steam is most probably the least invasive game-controlling environment I have ever tried.
- it does not run a hidden service that runs whether you play or not (looking at you, EA Games)
- it does not require that you re-download your entire game collection if you restore your Windows system (looking at you HARD, EA Games)
- it does not even require that you reinstall Steam if you wipe your OS partition and reinstall Windows (I'm bloody sick of looking at you, EA Games) - if you install the same OS in the same version as before, obviously
- Steam has weekend deals that are sometimes astounding (got L4D2 for €5, can anyone top that ?)
- Steam allows me to play my games without bothering with a bloomin' disk
- unless the game I play uses an online server, Steam allows me to play offline (hear that, Blizzard ?)
- most importantly, the games on Steam play on the PC I have - yes I know, that's obvious, but it is also true of titles that were WinXP or before, like Evil Genius, or Supreme Commander, or, say, SimCity 4 - games that I have but did not succeed in installing on my Win7/32 configuration
- my Steam games have always been available to me when I wished to play them, not like LotRO or Diable III
- there is no such thing as a license error on Steam
So your rant against Steam seems perfectly unreasonable to me, and if your rant actually concerns DRM control or whatnot, then you must have stopped buying games since Y2K, because most major titles since 1995 have had some form of (annoying) DRM control embedded into them which seem to bleed onto the PC and take control of it. Why I remember a certain Lemmings II that wouldn't run anymore if I so much as chose a different boot option in the bad old days of DOS 5. And I also remember Painkiller, which I bought in a lovely box set and brought home only to find that it simply wouldn't install, since its paranoid DRM didn't believe that its own install disk was genuine. I was forced to go find a pirate copy to be able to play the game I bought - and I'm sorry, but I do not for one instant feel like a pirate for doing so.
On the other hand, Steam has survived two OS versions and I don't remember how many OS reinstalls and has never bothered me more than to ask for my login and password after the fact. It has even survived partition change and disk swapping without complaining. My game library is intact from day one, unless I feel like uninstalling something to free some disk space. And I can re-download whatever is in my library whenever I want. Heck, I can even install Steam on two or more PCs if I feel like it and access my same game library. Of course I can't play on two computers at a time, but I can have my home configuration and my laptop configuration for when I'm traveling - and that one can be offline, remember ?
To sum it up, Steam is great. It is the best game-selling platform there is. You may not appreciate that your are being checked when you play, and I basically agree with you on that point, but you're not really being given a choice anymore - well, not outside of indie titles, that is. So you might as well choose Steam, because there is nothing better.