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Valve Claims to Have Made DRM "Obsolete"

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 48 comments

Selling a game on Valve’s Steam service is already a safeguard against piracy, but now the developer has come up with a new technology that it claims will make DRM “obsolete.”

In an age when game publishers are desperately seeking a DRM solution that will protect their investments, and where legit gamers who purchase their games are often the ones who suffer from invasive protection schemes, Valve’s claim that it has made DRM obsolete is a bold one.

Valve’s new method technology is called Custom Executable Generation (CEG), which make a unique copy each games for each user--essentially rendering the game unplayable but anyone else. The CEG will allow game access on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits.

CEG is now an integrated part of Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that are available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide for putting content on Steam.

Also a part of the new Steamworks is support for in-game downloadable content (DLC), allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. Added is the new matchmaking system that was shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.

"Delivering this extension of services on Steamworks first anniversary, demonstrates our commitment to continually develop the platform to better serve the community working with these tools," said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. "As we roll out these features, we continue to look for new ways make PC games easier to create and better for customers to experience."

Of course, Valve’s claim that CEG makes DRM obsolete only applies if a publisher puts its game on Steam. With CEG and Steam’s previously existing protection system, we hope to see even more developer and publisher support on Valve’s gaming ecosystem.

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  • 15 Hide
    hurbt , March 26, 2009 5:18 PM
    Quote:
    Valve’s new method technology is called Custom Executable Generation (CEG), which make a unique copy each games for each user--essentially rendering the game unplayable but anyone else.


    Were you drunk when you wrote this? I know what you're trying to say, but comon. My 8 year old can write with better grammar than that.
  • 14 Hide
    Xenophage , March 26, 2009 5:41 PM
    Can someone who went to 4th grade please re-write this article?
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , March 26, 2009 5:18 PM
    I went to a local GameStop to buy Left 4 Dead for my sisters birthday present. They tried to give me an opened copy, priced as brand new. I was disgusted, since last time I went to a game store their opened display boxes went for a discount (never played, but box was opened). I told them heck no I'm not paying full price for something already opened (just disk was inside... not even any inserts!) and said I'll go to another game store, to which they responded "What game store is he talking about..."
    I went across town to Game Crazy. They didn't even have the game and told me they only got copies for the preorder. This game came out middle of November and it was the middle of February. I was furious. I'd heard about steam from Toms and other people, giving it good reviews and hearing about DRM removal on most games, so I checked it out. I found left 4 dead but also other "packs" that L4D comes with. I bought the Valve Complete Pack, which comes with L4D and 20 other games (Some of which my old friend played and I figured I should check them out too) for $99, all rootkit free.
    I am VERY happy with that decision. Though I miss purchasing something physical, I have spent a bit of change buying games, especially since they have sales and deals all the time, most of the games I wouldn't have even considered (World of Goo is a gem, and at only $5 at the time) if it wasn't for Steam. Get Steam if you want access to all of your games, you will not be disappointed.
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    hurbt , March 26, 2009 5:18 PM
    Quote:
    Valve’s new method technology is called Custom Executable Generation (CEG), which make a unique copy each games for each user--essentially rendering the game unplayable but anyone else.


    Were you drunk when you wrote this? I know what you're trying to say, but comon. My 8 year old can write with better grammar than that.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , March 26, 2009 5:18 PM
    I went to a local GameStop to buy Left 4 Dead for my sisters birthday present. They tried to give me an opened copy, priced as brand new. I was disgusted, since last time I went to a game store their opened display boxes went for a discount (never played, but box was opened). I told them heck no I'm not paying full price for something already opened (just disk was inside... not even any inserts!) and said I'll go to another game store, to which they responded "What game store is he talking about..."
    I went across town to Game Crazy. They didn't even have the game and told me they only got copies for the preorder. This game came out middle of November and it was the middle of February. I was furious. I'd heard about steam from Toms and other people, giving it good reviews and hearing about DRM removal on most games, so I checked it out. I found left 4 dead but also other "packs" that L4D comes with. I bought the Valve Complete Pack, which comes with L4D and 20 other games (Some of which my old friend played and I figured I should check them out too) for $99, all rootkit free.
    I am VERY happy with that decision. Though I miss purchasing something physical, I have spent a bit of change buying games, especially since they have sales and deals all the time, most of the games I wouldn't have even considered (World of Goo is a gem, and at only $5 at the time) if it wasn't for Steam. Get Steam if you want access to all of your games, you will not be disappointed.
  • 6 Hide
    Tindytim , March 26, 2009 5:29 PM
    I love Steam more and more everyday. Although I'd be great if we saw some competition. As great as some of the prices are at the moment, if it takes a large percentage of the gaming marketshare it may become a bit more imposing.
  • 1 Hide
    mustwarnothers , March 26, 2009 5:33 PM
    Steams packaging system, ease of use, and overall solid pricing is a perfect example of when I have no problem spending my money on games.

    I think every solid game released I've retrieved from steam and paid for. Bioshock, Half Life Series, Orange Box, Burnout(s), Fallout 3 etc.
  • 3 Hide
    nikolica , March 26, 2009 5:35 PM
    Valve is unfair.They are charging for one game in USA 30$ but in Europe it's 30€.
  • 14 Hide
    Xenophage , March 26, 2009 5:41 PM
    Can someone who went to 4th grade please re-write this article?
  • 2 Hide
    Fetttson , March 26, 2009 5:52 PM
    Quote:
    Also a part of the new Steamworks is support for in-game downloadable content (DLC), allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. Added is the new matchmaking system that was shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.


    Valve's L4D matchmaking system is very buggy. They should work on fixing it before the add it to Steamworks.
  • -3 Hide
    cruiseoveride , March 26, 2009 5:58 PM
    XenophageCan someone who went to 4th grade please re-write this article?

    +1

    CEG sounds stupid. Sounds like a fancy word for binary patching. Hackers have been doing this for decades to crack games.
  • 2 Hide
    thedipper , March 26, 2009 6:18 PM
    They're PRETENDING it'll stop piracy, that does not mean it's anywhere near true.

    Once it's live, we'll see.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , March 26, 2009 6:27 PM
    andfgsd... Though I miss purchasing something physical, I have spent a bit of change buying games, especially since they have sales and deals all the time, most of the games I wouldn't have even considered (World of Goo is a gem, and at only $5 at the time) if it wasn't for Steam. Get Steam if you want access to all of your games, you will not be disappointed.


    Ditto these remarks. I bought the Orange Box game set in a physical store, which required me to install the Steam client to play. I have bought a total of 2 games physically since then, and everything else on Steam. Loved Sam & Max, World of Goo, etc... and I purchased these only because of Steam's weekend discounts. Its just a much better content distribution system, plus it allows you to make physical backups in case you need to format your harddrive but don't want to re-download a few GB of games.

    Now, if Steam ever shuts down its authentication servers and I end up with worthless copies of 20+ games, that will definately upset me.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , March 26, 2009 6:30 PM
    I agree, we have to see it live to make sure it works as intended. If the game you download from steam is completely unique to the user account, then it would be interesting how someone would pirate it without getting the original source.
  • 0 Hide
    Efrayim , March 26, 2009 6:35 PM
    Steam is awesome! I use them for all my gaming needs mostly. They have a very good system and they have a very good selection of games to choose from and some of the games you cant find anymore.
  • -3 Hide
    megamanx00 , March 26, 2009 7:22 PM
    Whelp, it's better than DRM at least. I'd rather be without Steam and DRM, but such is the state of the world.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 26, 2009 7:23 PM
    uhm, why do you need to tell valve its a cafe?

    just buy the game however many times for the number of computers you have... and then just run the games exclusively on that account... I don't see what the issue is...

    seriously you may buy the game more but you don't have tons of subscriptions and stuff... I seriously don't see why you couldn't do that
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 26, 2009 7:27 PM
    wow stupid non edit function... by the game so many times for a NEW accoutn and then have a different account on each computer...
  • 0 Hide
    inglburt , March 26, 2009 7:31 PM
    Like it or not, Steam and other companies like it are probably the way of the future. I have used Steam and Direct2drive a few times. I only have 2 issues with them so far. First of all, I still like the comfort of having the disk in my hot little hand and not relying on servers and services beyond my control. And second, there have been more than a couple instances where a game is 20 bucks at a brick and mortar store, and 30 or 40 online. Even with the overhead of the servers and such, don't you think they could get away with selling the software online for 5 or maybe in 10 bucks cheaper?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 26, 2009 7:33 PM
    Calling DRM obsolete? I think they should have declared it the "best DRM" or "rendering all other DRM obsolete". Due to the fact that this is DRM. Poor choice of words.

    Anyway, it's the classic "trusted client" problem. Sure, only I can decrypt my copy but at some point, it's still run as machine code on my CPU. Someone will reverse engineer this. The only way to stop it would be a trusted ("treacherous") computing platform (hardware+os) where a cryptoprocessor prevents me from debugging application code.

    Good try Valve, get back to writing games.
  • -4 Hide
    LuxZg , March 26, 2009 7:33 PM
    Well, I was more and more into Steam for last year or so. They seem good, and certainly better than local retail stores which keep outrageous prices on their own (European prices :/  )

    But while Steam still sounds better than local stores, I don't like this per-country pricing. Why should I pay same download 30€ if I'm not in US? And more over, this is just IP based, so if I fly to US, buy 10 games, I can play them in Europe without problems (??)

    What I want to say is - this suc*s. Internet should be a "free medium".. and it's quite opposite, having such an obvious discrimination..

    I'll keep looking at Steam, but I'm waiting them to revert prices for everyone to same. Than I'll MAYBE start using it.

    Too bad, as it seems as a real nice service...
  • 0 Hide
    compulsionnra , March 26, 2009 7:42 PM
    Assuming valve doesn't go under, steam is pretty much the only way to make sure your games are not pirated. I like the steam concept, the only problem is that occasionally steam fails to install or has terrible install problems.
  • -1 Hide
    LuxZg , March 26, 2009 7:43 PM
    Oh, and as weird as it may seem - I know of D2D, but I hardly know why noone ever talks about them, and it's always just Steam Steam Steam..

    does anyone know if there is anything _WRONG_ with D2D vs Steam? Or retail?

    As they do offer me FAIR prices compared to Steam.. even when I select my own country.

    Tnx to anyone that explains this one to me :) 
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