Some of you boys I think like to argue to hear yourself argue :)
Fact, There is no game without Steam if you got it from Steam. That's not debatable. But feel free to argue.
Fact you can't install a Steam game without Steam.
Fact Steam HAS cut off people in the past. If you lose Steam access your games are gone.
Fact people do occasionally need to re do their machines, and it can be a hassle, especially if you have no internet at that instance.
I have bought Civilization V via hard copy off the shelf. All it gave me was a no download duration install option. There is no game without Steam though.Or I can just use the download option which is increasingly necessary with game patches updates dlc etc. The disks lose their worth eventually.
Now, if Matrix Games or Slitherine or both were to just die on us for any reason at all we lose access to them, not our games. We lose access to convenient re downloads, not our games. We lose access to forums, not our games. We lose access to stored lists of our serials, not our games. We lose access to new work done on the games through them, not necessarily the developers though, as they could be out there somewhere else and perfectly happy to continue evolving your game(s). But I have no idea what that might mean to your installer/serial.
I have my games on my laptop, on storage drives, on physical disks, and I could have them in the cloud if I wanted. If you have access to cloud storage and an internet connection you can install them anywhere you feel like. I have access to online storage as a response to my laptop brand (Asus perk). So I have a lot of redundant storage available to me. I also have all the Steam Keys on Steam which was very generous of Slitherine Group. So I could always have both methods open.
If Steam died tomorrow, Slitherine Group loses all that sales potential advertising route and really I am sure they would miss it.
I'm fairly sure if Slitherine Group died, Steam likely would not be able to continue selling the games. They don't own them.
I don't buy any of my games from Slitherine Group as physical purchase as it is a dumb waste of money, a pointless waste of 10 bucks. But hey, if some of you jus haaaaave to spend the 10 bucks, there is no reason to think they won't sell that way. It's not hurting Slitherine Group to sell that way I suppose. But I can and do download the games just fine, and then I shunt the files to my various places and then I can re install for whatever vague reason I might generate. It takes no effort to store the install and the serial number. And it takes no effort to re install them as well. Comparing mouse clicks employed is hilarious though :) And comparing installing from a file on my drive to speed of install from an online source, well here's your sign eh.
Men are not all created equal. Some of your boys really seem to hate that too :)
Feel free to continue arguing. I think some of you like it :)