Altering the order of quotes to reply to what’s possibly the most important point in your post:
I have no problem with criticism, as long as it’s honest and constructive. What Valve gets is for about 90% just bashing for its own sake, the most useless, negative form of pretend criticism there is.
You’re being a little idealistic there, CDP did blackmail alleged pirates, that ranks higher on the Absolute Scale of Evil than any blunder Valve has made so far, it actually puts them on the very same level as the big names.
Anyway, to sell DRM-Free games, you need paid DRM-Free games in the first places, which do now exist because someone proved that DRM-Free was not a surefire recipe for rampant piracy and bankruptcy.
That looks pretty logical to me as Paradox, unlike most developers, are committed to keep working on their games and making them better thus, the more channels they have to push updates to, the higher their costs.
Conversely, if they dropped the ball not long after launch and started working on the sequel like, you’d have been able to retain your Gamersgate version, only without the free updates that have been released for years now.
The source of the problem is greedy, malignant corporate entities with too much power and money, thinking their little useless client is going to enable some more extortion, while at the same time it is, the same firms introducing ONCE AGAIN annoyances for legitimate users and wasting their time without offering absolutely anything of value in return.
(Unless someone thinks that unlocking free DLC with achievement points is offering that something)
It’s simply the next step in the same thought process that brought about ever more invasive DRM and:
To add insult to injury, they’re not (and won’t ever be) real alternatives to Steam. They’re closed little things, that do not play nicely with anything and anyone else (except, maybe, each other) and do not want either, from companies that we already know for a fact are evil.
Anyone who needs a reminder of why Uplay and Ubisoft are so bad and way worse than Steam, there we go:
More videos specifically about Ubi and this one about “The Pre-order Culture” is nice too.