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Valve Claims to Have Made DRM "Obsolete"

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • hurbt
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    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.
    Reply
  • mustwarnothers
    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.
    Reply
  • nikolica
    Valve is unfair.They are charging for one game in USA 30$ but in Europe it's 30€.
    Reply
  • Xenophage
    Can someone who went to 4th grade please re-write this article?
    Reply
  • Fetttson
    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.
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    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.
    Reply
  • thedipper
    They're PRETENDING it'll stop piracy, that does not mean it's anywhere near true.

    Once it's live, we'll see.
    Reply
  • hellwig
    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.
    Reply