Double Buffered

A Programmer’s View of Game Design, Development, and Culture

Steam and Expansion Packs

Posted by Ben Zeigler on April 24, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the ease of use and community features of Steam. Valve and the publishers they get on there actually seem to WANT me to buy games from them, unlike brick and mortar publishers and other (non-Stardock) game download services. I just ran into a great example of that.

I’ve noticed lately that several of my Steam friends have been playing Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword. I picked up Civilization 4 a few years ago, and enjoyed it. I’d never purchased the Beyond the Sword expansion pack though, which I hear is quite good. I was on the edge between repurchasing the game via steam (because I can’t stand physical CDs), or just forgetting about it, when I noticed the note on the Beyond the Sword steam page: “Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword requires Sid Meier’s Civilization IV to play and will work with boxed retail versions as well as the Steam version.” Sure, that’s technically possible, but it seems so pro-consumer that I was just confused. Would it actually work to install the steam version over top my 2 year old copy protected and out of data copy of Civ 4?

Well, I installed Civ4, and then tried to buy the expansion pack (it failed before I installed Civ 4 which makes sense). It detected my copy, and let me buy the expansion pack. I am now installing a Steamified $20 expansion pack that also makes it so Civ4 doesn’t need the CD in the drive any more. I’ll uninstall my old copy of Civ 4, and tada, I have Civilization 4 and Beyond the Sword for Steam. I’m continually surprised when software actually works in the way I would want it to, but Steam does this enough that I’m in danger of starting to trust it…

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One Response to “Steam and Expansion Packs”

  1. Yeah, I was very pleased with buying Dawn of War: Soulstorm from Steam when it came out. Relic also released a CD-free patch for the other Dawn of War boxes when they started selling on Steam, and my combination of three retail boxes plus a Steam download worked together seamlessly.

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