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DRM Damages a Game's Value, Says Valve Boss

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 66 comments

Gabe Newell agrees with most PC gamers that nasty DRM makes it a less worthwhile experience.

Those who have been keeping abreast on the events surrounding newly released Ubisoft games, such as Assassin's Creed II, know that the games are protected by a very controversial DRM that requires a constant connection to the internet.

While there's little argument that developers and publishers have a right to protect their investments, gamers aren't appreciative of DRM schemes that make playing a rightfully owned game difficult.

Valve Software co-founder Gabe Newell has a good reason to protect his company's work from being stolen, but he's also got the gamer in mind. Speaking at Game Developers Choice awards, where he picked up the Pioneer Award, Newell shared what he felt was a problem with PC game DRM.

"One thing that you hear us talk a lot about is entertainment as a service," he said. "It’s an attitude that says ‘what have I done for my customers today?'"

"It informs all the decisions we make, and once you get into that mindset it helps you avoid things like some of the Digital Rights Management problems that actually make your entertainment products worth less by wrapping those negatives around them," Newell added.

According to Develop, Newell's comments were greeted by cheers in a room filled with other developers and industry workers. Of course, Valve has its own DRM system that ties games right into its Steam service, but it's one that so far appears to balance protection of the artists as well as the consumer.

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Top Comments
  • 40 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 12, 2010 10:04 PM
    As far as I'm concerned, Steam has demonstrated a perfectly appropriate way of incorporating DRM into its titles. Ubisoft has not.
  • 33 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 12, 2010 10:00 PM
    Agree 100%
  • 25 Hide
    tinmann , March 12, 2010 10:33 PM
    Let say you get laid off and have to really cut back. Okay I can have lights and pay the rent but I can't have lights pay the rent and have a high speed internet connection for the time being. Now that game you bought with DMR seems like the most stupid purchase you ever made. At least with a steam powered game you can still play it in offline mode. Don't laugh because it happened to me. I'd go to the local library to use the internet and at home I just played COD, Crysis, etc. single player until my economic situation improved. I'd never buy a game that required a constant internet connection because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Other Comments
    Display all 66 comments.
  • 33 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 12, 2010 10:00 PM
    Agree 100%
  • 40 Hide
    restatement3dofted , March 12, 2010 10:04 PM
    As far as I'm concerned, Steam has demonstrated a perfectly appropriate way of incorporating DRM into its titles. Ubisoft has not.
  • 20 Hide
    Ciuy , March 12, 2010 10:10 PM
    drm is a constant spike in your side whenever its involved .
  • -4 Hide
    hot74rod2003 , March 12, 2010 10:28 PM
    if there wasnt so much pirating going on they wouldnt have to do it. steam is great and they should do away with disks.. the only people that are gonna cry about it are ones that want it the illegal way and not buy it.
  • 25 Hide
    tinmann , March 12, 2010 10:33 PM
    Let say you get laid off and have to really cut back. Okay I can have lights and pay the rent but I can't have lights pay the rent and have a high speed internet connection for the time being. Now that game you bought with DMR seems like the most stupid purchase you ever made. At least with a steam powered game you can still play it in offline mode. Don't laugh because it happened to me. I'd go to the local library to use the internet and at home I just played COD, Crysis, etc. single player until my economic situation improved. I'd never buy a game that required a constant internet connection because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2010 10:41 PM
    Steam may be better than Ubisoft's DRM, but it still doesn't beat a simple disk check - or nothing at all. Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 only require disc checks. Oblivion and Civilization IV are two games that did quite well, and they don't require a disc to play* or even a product key!

    *Civ IV Complete Edition doesn't require a disc, but the original does
  • -2 Hide
    LORD_ORION , March 12, 2010 10:47 PM
    Valve has nothing on Stardock. Brad Wardell is blunt, to the point, and transparent about his company. He is the best thing for PC gamers.

    I hope Impulse dethrones Steam.
  • 12 Hide
    thegreathuntingdolphin , March 12, 2010 10:51 PM
    I do like steam a lot, and I think it is the best form of DRM except for one problem: You can't resell steam games.
  • 3 Hide
    herniter , March 12, 2010 11:01 PM
    I am personally annoyed by both disk checks and DRM. When I want to play a game I haven't played in a few months I don't want to have to deal with the hassle of trying to find a disk to play it. It is even slightly bothersome to have to open up your disk drive every time you want to play a new game and while that isn't a deal breaker it is annoying.

    There is also the issue of wanting to game while you're away from home and an internet connection, people that travel constantly or the soldiers deployed over seas quite often are left without an internet connection. Pirates are always going to pirate games, people the purchase them legit will probably continue to purchase them in a legal fashion.

    The ideal situation for me would be to limit online activity via a CD key and move on. Leave single player alone, you're never going to be able to stop pirates, save money by moving away from DRM and hopefully the gaming community will continue to support the developers by buying games legit.
  • 11 Hide
    cloakster , March 12, 2010 11:04 PM
    My biggest concern is what if you try to play the game 8-10 years from now? Will it work?
  • -4 Hide
    7amood , March 12, 2010 11:08 PM
    a message to ubisoft: do something as good as Modern Warfare 2 and u will make lotsa money even if it will be pirated... that fact was proven.

    why DRM... don't u have enough confidence in the games u make??!?!
  • 6 Hide
    Trueno07 , March 12, 2010 11:09 PM
    I love steam's DRM policy. No activation keys, nothing (well...). Simply double click on the game you want to install, and bam, it's on it's way. No need to hassle with Ubisoft's DRM crap.
  • 4 Hide
    Kelavarus , March 12, 2010 11:34 PM
    Steam is not the perfect solution. Bull. I use it, but when my internet goes funky, it still has issues. Offline mode isn't 100%.
  • 6 Hide
    xxsk8er101xx , March 12, 2010 11:39 PM
    I like the steam and impulse type systems. I have no problems with it. Even Blizzard's system is good.

    DRM that causes the disc to break my optical drive, installs root kits, or requires constant internet connection to play I do have a problem with and usually boycott those types of systems regardless the game.
  • -5 Hide
    builderbobftw , March 12, 2010 11:42 PM
    Meh, He's just saying that so we all buy Steam games.

    Stop Negging me. You know it's true....
  • 2 Hide
    jubalhharshaw , March 13, 2010 12:20 AM
    Ubi and other publishers that are escalating their DRM should hear the man, he tells the truth. Activation limits are one of the most annoying things that the industry created, but Ubi's DRM is worse that that.
  • 4 Hide
    JDFan , March 13, 2010 12:25 AM
    Only problem I have with buying games through Steam is what happens when they go out of business (or another system comes along to replace them that is cheaper\better\whatever) if they ever decide that keeping those servers up is too much of a cost you all of a sudden can not verify your install and thus can not play the game you bought. (plus the time it takes to download a game from them is really a pain for some people that are still on slow internet connections or limited bandwidth per month.)
  • 2 Hide
    zerapio , March 13, 2010 1:08 AM
    Like others have mentioned, what happens when you want to play your game in 15 years? Will Steam be around then? Who knows. I rather not have to be tied to a service. And worse, I can't sell my Steam games. This is a pretty bad one.
  • 0 Hide
    sykologic , March 13, 2010 2:00 AM
    I love games that can use steam, since you can just put your key in and then no matter what that game is connected to your acconunt, but for some reason it sucks when you are required to use steam. Guess I'm torn. But really pirates ALWAYS find a way. Quite sad actually. Smart enough to hack a game, to cheap to buy the game.
  • 1 Hide
    OvrClkr , March 13, 2010 2:27 AM
    I have been using steam for quite some time and I have 0 complaints. Specially when you purchase the game online, no CD's, no errors, no messing with cd-keys, no 3 installations only gimmick, nada..Just load steam and choose your game.
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