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DRM: Is Steamworks The Way to Go?

Wednesday Jason Bergman, Senior Producer at Bethesda Softworks, said that the upcoming game Fallout: New Vegas will use Valve's Steamworks for its digital rights management. While the mention of DRM sends a shiver of dread down our spines, this might actually be a good thing. Resulting intrusive software won't worm its way into the system's root; games won't be required to remain online so that players can experience the single-player campaign, and we won't be left with expensive drink coasters after using up all of our allowed installs.

"We’ve implemented Steamworks in as light and unobtrusive a way as possible," he reassured fans. "Yes, you will have to install Steam when you install Fallout: New Vegas if you don’t already have it. And yes, you will have to be online at the time of that initial install. However you can install the game on as many systems as you want (with no restrictions!), and you do not have to be online to play the game after your initial activation."

He goes on to say that once gamers have installed and activated the game on Steam via their account, the DVD can be discarded for good, as the digital version will be available immediately and indefinitely. Need to re-format the PC? Just download Steam again when Windows is replaced, and then re-install the game. There's no locked number of installs, and as Bergman stated, the game isn't locked to one specific Mac address. With all that said, it seems more environmentally-friendly to simply purchase the digital version.

Still, there are consumers who refuse to go digital. "If you don’t even have a DVD drive, you can just take the CD-Key from the box, enter it into Steam, and download it without ever using the disc at all," he added. Modders were also reassured that using Steam will have no effect of development--they will still be able to create and distribute their goods as they have in the past.

"We made the decision to use Steam after looking at all the various options out there and decided that it provided the best, least intrusive experience for PC gamers," he said. "We think you’ll agree."

Do you agree? Is this the best way to approach DRM without requiring limitations and compromising system stability? This seems like the best solution out there, and New Vegas might have a better chance on creating a community with Steam than with Microsoft's stagnant Games for Windows environment.