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.

    tbh steam is the best way to go if you want DRM every one likes it and any one that plays PC games has an account so it doesn't matter!

    also i like steam it makes it easier when your reinstalling your OS (if you save the files for the games)
  • wolfseeker2828
    I started using Steam a few months ago, and I've found it's one of the best ways to distribute software! Because it has a social aspect, and very non-intrusive DRM, plus allows multiple installs on different computers, I find myself hoping ALL games eventually make their way onto Steam.
  • dameon51
    I love Steam. I hate having to disk swap to reinstall my games when I reinstall windows. Steam is good for developers and good for users.
  • Trueno07
    Now this is how DRM should be done. Thank god Bethestda is doing this, I really hope they set the trend by doing this.

    I mean really, how can you go wrong by going with steam? You can't, that's how.
  • megamanx00
    While I am no fan of DRM, Steam is certainly better than what Ubisoft is pulling.
  • mackinator
    there is one way to go wrong, creating a monopoly on distribution of games.
    however, even that wouldnt be a bad thing as long as steam keeps being the good service it is.
  • I think the reason why Steam is so successful is because of its unobtrusive nature and I think this stems from the fact that it was created by a game development company instead of a distribution company. Thanks Valve.
  • bourgeoisdude
    After using steam for over a year, I'd have to agree that it is some of the least obtrusive DRM there is. I've had to move my games to a new PC after initially installing it, then had to reinstall once because I moved from Windows 7 RC1 to the real thing. It was relatively painless, although I admit it takes a long time to download about 20 GB worth of games.
    Steam is awesome, solves many problems and is no hassle. It's my only source for buying games.

    1. Backup issues since games are all available in my Steam account
    2. Don't need to enter any Keys
    3. Provides me info on new games
    4. Automatically updates my games
    5. Might just save the PC gaming industry from Pirates/theives
    6. Provides free demos of most games (try before you buy)
    7. Provides SDK for game developers so copy protection is obfuscated within the game code itself

    It's a pirates worse nightmare, and they seem to be the ones who don't like it (gee, big surprise), but do we paying customers give a rats ass about pirates, nope, and neither does steam nor the gaming companies -- they finally have a solution that ensures they get paid for consumer usage.

  • hootis8