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Valve Claims New Steamworks Update "Makes DRM Obsolete"

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the until-it's-cracked dept.

PC Games (Games) 731

Lulfas writes "Steam is implementing a new anti-piracy solution that, according to them, removes all DRM. Called Computer Executable Generation (CEG), this system creates a unique copy of the game when it is purchased through Steam, essentially using a 100% unique keygen system. It will be installable on any system, but only playable by one person at a time (hooked into the correct Steam account, of course). Will this be enough to satisfy anti-DRM players while at the same time giving the publishing companies what they require?"

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Steam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27317747)

You don't buy games, you rent them. No more servers = game won't start.

I'm not buying ANYTHING from them, not to mention the fact that it's for Windows only.

Re:Steam (5, Informative)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317843)

Thank you, Mr. Uninformed Ranter. It has been said, again and again that if Steam's servers are taken offline, access controls will be removed.

Re:Steam (5, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317991)

Who has said this? Steam?

Next up: "When CD sales go back up, we promise to quit suing people, RIAA"

Re:Steam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318049)

Yeah, because Steam has the same reputation for corporate asshattery as the RIAA.

Dumbass.

Re:Steam (3, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318449)

No, not the same reputation, but it doesn't mean they're not asshats.

The first thing that springs to mind is the artificial price control - they're happy to sell their games in Russia or Thailand at a heavily discounted rate but they use Steam to block the use of those games in any other market. They're using technical measures to take advantage of the global market with none of the potential costs, at the expense of the consumer. They have also effectively destroyed the second-hand market for their games. You want a copy, you're going to have to pay exactly what they ask, basically taking market forces out of the equation.

Re:Steam (5, Insightful)

Binty (1411197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318705)

That doesn't take market forces out of the equation. Supply is being controlled by the producer (as it always is), and demand is controlled by the consumer. If the price is too high, don't buy. If people don't buy, they go out of business. Market forces!

Re:Steam (5, Insightful)

Kamots (321174) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318075)

And when Steam places an access-control removal patch under 3rd party escrow to be released upon loss of the servers due to whatever reason, or to be released upon a significant change in terms of access (such as going to a pay-per-month for Steam access scheme), then I would believe them.

Until then?

It's simply feel-good words with nothing to back them.

Re:Steam (5, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318371)

On that particular topic, your opinion is just as valid as the opinion of those of us who choose to take them at their word. You have no evidence other than your gut feeling that they would renege, we have no evidence other than our gut feeling that the'll honor the promise.

But, on the other hand, there are a number of people who act as if we are required to take their opinion as if it were the Gospel Truth. Please don't make the mistake that just because it seems so clear to you, it seems anything less than insulting pessimisim to us.

Re:Steam (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318665)

You can play most of the games now without a Steam connection.

You simply have to download it and run it once then from there on out you can play offline, and/or directly via the game's executable.

This works for all but 1 of the >100 games I have via Steam.

Re:Steam (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318297)

Thank you, Mr. Uninformed Ranter. It has been said, again and again that if Steam's servers are taken offline, access controls will be removed.

How do you know they are telling the Truth?

Re:Steam (4, Insightful)

mrsmiggs (1013037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318399)

Unless this is stated in a license or terms of service of some sort then you can't really rely on the claim. Valve might not last forever; they might get bought by some negligent company, become negligent, or one day just turn off all the servers without notice because they went bust. How do you get you the install files for your old game? If I've got the boxed copy, it's still mine and I can still play it, sell it or whatever I want.

Valve's solution here is still DRM and it's still unacceptable.

Re:Steam (2, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318535)

I would like proof that value has secured permission to remove copy protection from all games from all companies they sell games for in the event they are forced to shut down steam. (Or choose to shut down steam).

It's not just values games on steam you know.

Re:Steam (3, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317847)

I know, don't feed the trolls, but Steam works well through Wine.

Re:Steam (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27317933)

You seemed to not have read either the summary or article. Basically I'm calling you a fucking idiot.

Re:Steam (2, Informative)

Kamots (321174) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318225)

http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/SteamWorksBrochure2009.pdf [steampowered.com]

"Instead, CEG works in tandem with Steam authentication, enabling content access based on user accounts"

In other words, it still requires the server to be there.

Re:Steam (0, Flamebait)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318093)

I'm not buying ANYTHING from them, not to mention the fact that it's for Windows only.

You say that like there's games out there that run on anything other then windows.

Re:Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318435)

there not any real number but there are a few, usually the independent games like the PA or the Strong Bad games.

Re:Steam (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318475)

If you have Tux Racer, you don't need any other games.

Given Steam's track record (3, Interesting)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317759)

I don't think this will work. Hell they banned my account because they saw 4 different IP's logging in to the account (one from ohio, one from mississippi, one from germany, and one from PA)...of course they didn't take into account that I'm Active duty military...fuck steam

Re:Given Steam's track record (0)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318191)

Since they don't use DRM anymore it doesn't (or shouldn't matter) where you log in, because without Digital Rights Management you will be able to play your game on any computer, with any Internet connection you want. There are no Internet Servers involved needed to support DRM because DRM is not used. Steam gets rid of DRM. Ignorance is Strength. Freedom is Slavery.

Re:Given Steam's track record (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318511)

Wait, it's not DRM... because it's Steam... but without Steam... it won't run. Or without your specific keycode, login, etc PLUS a Steam installation, it won't run.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. DRM by any other name is still just a big STEAMing turd.

Re:Given Steam's track record (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318521)

Unless you are referring to the slavery of being addicted to games now that we can freely play them, I don't think your Orwellian quote makes sense.

Re:Given Steam's track record (4, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318307)

"This won't work because, by definition, it fixes the problem they had before." ???

Re:Given Steam's track record (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318509)

they didn't take into account that I'm Active duty military...fuck steam

Why don't you go kill some babies about it?

Maybe (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317767)

If the solution does not jack up the price of the program and the industry buys into it instead of getting bent out of shape over it.

Re:Maybe (2, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317845)

And if when Steam goes out of business you can still play the game.

Re:Maybe (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318473)

Well according to the article there's no DRM involved so I assuming you can still play the game.

Uh oh. (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317793)

Wonder if this is gonna fuck things up for the folks who run Steam through WINE... I think we're about to have a pissed off Linux community if so.

Re:Uh oh. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317987)

If it does then it's a bug in wine. It'll be fixed and then wine will be better.

Re:Uh oh. (5, Funny)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318315)

I think we're about to have a pissed off Linux community if so.

When, exactly, is the linux community NOT pissed off about something?

Re:Uh oh. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318607)

Oh no! The linux steam gamers are mad! all seven of them!

The three mac gamers will be snickering though

Huh? (5, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317813)

In what sense is this not DRM?

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317841)

The marketing sense.

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317879)

because it does not restrict what you do with your copy, just how many copies can be played on Steam.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

DdJ (10790) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318033)

because it does not restrict what you do with your copy, just how many copies can be played on Steam.

Just in case it's not clear: restricting how many copies can be played on Steam is restricting what you can do with your copy.

Now, I agree that it's a reasonable restriction, sure. But please don't pretend that it's not a restriction.

Re:Huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318169)

It's only a restriction if you're a cheapskate thief. In other words, it's not actually a restriction by any sensible definition. You're surrounded by "restrictions" everywhere, but I don't hear you whining about how you're not allowed to kill people and run over schoolchildren and blah blah blah. Just shut up.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318243)

I assume this means that if you're planning an evening playing a boardgame with three friends, you buy four boardgames? Otherwise, three of you would be cheapskate thieves, wouldn't they.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

corky842 (728932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318401)

You can only play, say, Left 4 Dead with your three friends if they each have a copy of the game (unless you are a cheapskate thief).

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318649)

Or, they could all share one keyboard. :-)

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

Kjellander (163404) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318471)

It's only a restriction if you're a cheapskate thief. In other words, it's not actually a restriction by any sensible definition. You're surrounded by "restrictions" everywhere, but I don't hear you whining about how you're not allowed to kill people and run over schoolchildren and blah blah blah. Just shut up.

Have you ever tried playing one steam game you own on one computer and at the same time play another steam game you own on another computer. You would think that would be possible since you bought both games legally but no, that won't work at all.

So yes, it does restrict you in ways buying non DRMed games in a brick-and-mortar store does.

Re:Huh? (2, Interesting)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318573)

That's what I do. I keep my steam in offline mode, and play my timewasters like defense grid and peggle. At the same time aonther computer in the hose is online doing LFD. I am guessing this new thing will do away with being able to do that, and there will no longer be an offline mode.

Re:Huh? (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317997)

In the same sense that Premier is not Diebold.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318081)

Only the title of the press release mentions the term "DRM".

The text of the press release makes no such claim... what we have here is a press release that has been retitled by someone in marketing/PR for grabbig people's attention and for SEO.

I bet if you discussed this with some of the actual engineers/designers at Steam, they'd agree it is DRM.

Re:Huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318165)

In the sense that the submitter fails at English.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318321)

In what sense is this not DRM?

In the sense that it does not appear to apply technological inhibitions against otherwise lawful behavior.

DRM's meaning has become overloaded to the point where it usually refers to technological restrictions which -exceed- the legal restrictions on a copy's use.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318447)

From the description provided, it sounds more like a watermark than DRM. Basically if I know who had each copy, and one copy is running rampant, I know who to sue for putting something up on P2P services.

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318571)

In the sense that there is less restrictive than before (still DRM).

From the wording in the summary it sounds like each game is limited to one person at a time rather than each account being limited to one person at a time.

So my dad could be playing Doom 2 while I play CS:S from the same account.

Yes it is DRM, but it is the least restrictive and most reasonable we'll get from the majority of publishers.

Your point is valid and as one other pointed out it is just marketing, however it is an improvement.

missing words to end title... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317833)

...for now.

Valve Claims New Steamworks Update "Makes DRM Obsolete"...for now.

Le sigh.

What happens when Steam fails? (-1, Flamebait)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317835)

This is just another form of DRM, and the servers will eventually be shut down, bricking anything depending on them.

So no, this doesn't satisfy the problems with DRM, and I'm sure it will be cracked anyway.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (3, Informative)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318265)


Awesome. You get modded insightful for your, ahem, less than fully educated post.

First off, steam can be run in offline mode. You don't need servers to play your fusking game. You can play offline, LAN, do whatever you want.

Second, Gabe himself said that if steam were ever to go down, he would remove any and all restrictions from playing your game, without the steam servers.

Become educated instead of braying along with the masses. Its cool.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318409)

What he said is not legally binding. There's nothing backing it up. It's just hot air until then.

Running steam in offline mode is also not the same. A perpetually usable backup you can make yourself and never, ever have to use Steam in any way ever again? Impossible. So no, it doesn't count.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318417)

Second, Gabe himself said that if steam were ever to go down, he would remove any and all restrictions from playing your game, without the steam servers.

Pardon me if I don't believe the promises of a man who isn't fully in control of what may happen in the future. He may intend to do that, but that doesn't mean it will, in fact, be done.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (2, Interesting)

skoda (211470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318497)

Gabe's pledge is a beautiful thing, until Gabe leaves / is removed from Valve and his pledge exits with him.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (3, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318609)

Valve isn't a publicly traded company, so he can't forcefully be removed from office unless they're bought out (unless there's some part of business law I'm terribly missing). Now if EA bought them, I'd have a lot more concern..

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318615)

First off, steam can be run in offline mode. You don't need servers to play your fusking game. You can play offline, LAN, do whatever you want.

Last time I tried, HL2 ep. 2 wouldn't load in offline-mode because... it needed internet access. Valve couldn't just disable achievements in offline mode? Apparently not.

Re:What happens when Steam fails? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318477)

This is not technically the normal DRM ... Since you do not have the key and the lock as you normally have in DRM (which is why it is pointless) you just have the key ... the lock is back at Steam

To answer the article, "Probably Not" (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317857)

People Hate DRM not because of how it works, but what it does. If this new system makes moving the game to an new computer a pain, it will still piss people off.
-Taylor

Re:To answer the article, "Probably Not" (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318111)

Not tied to a computer, just a Steam Account. You can log in from any computer.

However, as was stated before, doing that too often will appear like a compromised account.

Re:To answer the article, "Probably Not" (2, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318227)

This sounds more like a way of tracking, similar (But probably much more secure) to how iTunes embeds your account info into songs you purchase. Basically, if they need to, they can track it down, or tell other servers to not let you play online, but that is a bit different than something that first assumes you are guilty, until you prove your not. A completely different way of looking at the problem, akin to saying "maybe we should capture and jail the burglers, rather than force everyone to hire an armed guard for their house"

Re:To answer the article, "Probably Not" (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318261)

Since the one real benefit of Steam is that all your games are attached to your login, not your computer, I don't think that will be a real issue.

I loan people my Steam id so they can try out games. It'd be nice if they (games) were transferable, but they're certainly portable between machines.

Looks like they didn't learn from GPG (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317859)

So now I can have two games that constantly refuse to run because they insist i'm still logged in after their own updater does it's job.

I have a little more faith in valve than I do GPG not to screw this up but it still sounds pretty heavy handed.

My only problem... (1)

skam240 (789197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317867)

My only problem with this is that it would seem that they would have to require an active internet connection for playing the game. What if I want to play a game on my laptop while traveling or what if my internet connection is down at home?

Why would it (3, Interesting)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318109)

...require an active, always-on internet connection? Steam can be run in "offline mode" on a computer that is not connected to the internet. I do that all the time.

Of course, you still need to hook your computer up the internet to download the games in the first place, or when the program randomly decides that it wants to do so (which seems to be about once a month or so for me). I'm not sure what triggers it- a certain time period with no connection, sunspots, gnomes... In any case, I just plug in the ethernet cable, log in, log back out, unplug the cable, and start the game.

Re:Why would it (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318489)

In any case, I just plug in the ethernet cable, log in, log back out, unplug the cable, and start the game.

Which is useless when you're several kilometres/miles away from an ethernet cable that you have the right to use.

Re:My only problem... (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318171)

Agreed. This is personally a HUGE deal to me, and sorta makes owning a game pointless if I can't use it without being connected to the net. there are plenty of times the net goes down, or I'm on a laptop with a wireless connection that some how drops, or I'm in an airport or on a plane or wherever without access and I want to play.

Re:My only problem... (2, Informative)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318503)

For the 5 billionth time on slashdot alone: (let alone the rest of the 'net) Steam does not require an internet connection in order to play a game. You can play in offline mode and games that don't require an internet connection will work just fine.

Meh (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317875)

I'm pretty much done with Steam regardless. The shiny has worn off & I like my game boxes sitting on the bookshelf.

Re:Meh (2, Funny)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318255)

You should try a console system. All of the games include a game disk, box, and an instruction book.

Consoles have app stores now (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318547)

You should try a console system. All of the games include a game disk, box, and an instruction book.

What did I do wrong? My copies of Dr. Mario Online Rx and Tetris Party from Wii Shop Channel came with only an electronic manual.

This is genius (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317899)

This could apply to many things, actually. It doesn't have to be just games.

This isn't technically DRM, but it does what DRM has aimed to do while being amazingly clever.

how is that not DRM? (5, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317901)

That may be a saner DRM, but it's still DRM.

If you're going to sell a service, then sell a service. Don't sell software and try to control it like a service.

More questions (5, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317907)

Can I sell it?
If Steam goes down, can I still play?

Re:More questions (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318585)

Can I sell it?

Technically you're not suppose to resell most software, period. Consider an online game like World of Warcraft. You can't resell it legally, the new "owner" would need to purchase their own key for online play even if you gave them your box + disc.

When you buy software you're buying a license to use it, that's it. It's not a physical product that you can use however you want. I'm not saying this is a good thing, it's just the way it is.

If Steam goes down, can I still play?

Yes, Steam supports offline play.

Offline Mode? (1)

Jhyrryl (208418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27317955)

Presumably you need to be online each time you play in order to validate, otherwise it's just as hackable as any other local content. So that would mean that you could not play those games while offline, as Steam currently allows. That makes this mechanism more restrictive for the user from what I can tell.

Fact is (3, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318015)

if you "buy" a game from Steam, they own your game and not you. You are the one who has to request access to play the game(or to play in offline mode) and a ban can screw up your "purchased" game library.

If you want to have some games, do NOT go to Steam.

Why Steam always drove me crazy. (5, Interesting)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318089)

I bought the game, I own the media. I should NOT have to connect to the internet, download a client, download whatever updates it deems are necessary. Maybe there's some cheesy exploit I like in the FPS I'm playing alone? You got my money - leave me alone!

It was really frustrating when I was between broadband watching Steam try to download huge updates so I could play the game I bought specifically so I'd have the media and wouldn't need to download anything. Naive me, assuming you can actually play a game you own the discs to.

PS - how is this not DRM?

- The files are encrypted with a 'unique' key
- Steam acts as the DRM license server
- Any attempt to play the game without access to Steam the new DRM license server will fail
- You access or validate the game by a user/login combo
- If Steam ever goes away, has server/capacity issues (which they have, when new games are released) you are shit out of luck to play the game you PAID for

The _only_ current difference I can see is that you can 'transfer' it between PCs and play it. Guess what - you could do that with DRM as well, albeit laboriously and somewhat error prone. Most services even allow you several "free" additional downloads that give you another license.

It's so similar to DRM that this is just a lame publicity stunt.

Re:Why Steam always drove me crazy. (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318403)

I personally hate physical media. I think physical media is a scam on an epic scale. So I'm willing to log in to avoid that hassle. Sure, Steam could go down and kill my game. But my kid could frisbee the disks across the room and kill the game.

I'm willing to believe (at this point) that Steam is a robust enough distribution channel that it's at least slightly more disaster resistant than my house.

Re:Why Steam always drove me crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318519)

My kid could frisbee the disc too, which is why I make my fair use backup copy and store the original in a safe location.

Re:Why Steam always drove me crazy. (1)

forgottenusername (1495209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318611)

I just make a backup copy of the media, and store the original in the case which ends up in a box full of games.

I say that like I actually don't have a bunch of scratched up unplayable media :-)

With the proliferation of broadband (and as long as I have it!) I've been downloading games more often.

Though, it's nice to be able to hitup a local close game store and get up and running in an hour or so, rather than downloading large games which takes several hours..

I say that like you don't have to then download hours of patches for every game you purchase lately.

Sigggh

Re:Why Steam always drove me crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318681)

You don't use steam do you? You don't have to connect to the internet to play, but if you do you get to use the chat features and play online games.

when the server is down (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318113)

Steam servers go down frequently, in my experience. This means I won't be able to use the software I purchased.

We are talking about entertainment software, so nobody's gonna die. But it is damn frustrating when you buy a game and can't play it because Steam's activation server is offline for hours at a time.

Removing DRM, Adding DRM (2, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318129)

So... it removes the need for current DRM schemes like "CD-in-drive", "CD-key", and "X number of installs".

But it fortifies the DRM scheme that Steam already employs, the "one game copy per server account" by allowing Valve to determine exactly which copy belongs to which account. This doesn't give anything new to the user, but makes it really easy for Valve to look at a illegal copy distributed on the internet and say "Oh, this belongs to MrX. Banned."

So it doesn't really obsolete DRM... just other versions that users generally hate. The reason this is news is that it might be a compelling enough reason for bigger developers to use SteamWorks, since it gives them the same power they think they get in other DRM schemes.

I'm normally a Valve/Steam fanboi... (4, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318145)

But this is pure marketing BS. They are making DRM obsolete by... using DRM! Plus, this is exactly the same scheme of DRM that is already in use: Encrypt a program and then only decrypt it when provided a valid key. Then provide the key, thus completely negating the point of encrypting the program. After all, Steam has to unpack the executable to run it, and at that point all a black hatter has to do is come up with a way to snatch the decrypted version during that.

This is SecureROM 2.0. The only difference is instead of a 'unique, unduplicateable, ID per CD' it's now a 'unique, unduplicateable, ID per account'.

On the other hand, since I am a Steam fanboi, I hope this particular marking BS manages to convince more publishers to go this route rather than the SecureROM/CD route. Being able to redownload a game whenever I want to install it, wherever I want to install it, is far better than "opps, your machine crashed twice so now your CD is worthless because you only had two installs allowed".

Compliments (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318195)

I couldn't help noticing Steam's press release contained the line: "Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks."

It warms the heart to know that a big company like Steam still takes the time and effort to make sure their old software feels good about itself!

Smart Move (4, Insightful)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318221)

As soon as the rabid "It's still DRM" crowd either
a) Get's over their kneejerk reaction
b) Get's ignored since they don't buy games anyway
c) Get's distracted by the next Sony DRM debacle

people will realize that this is exactly what the industry needs. MMO's don't have (much) of a piracy problem, but game developers that want to just sell software need help. DRM has failed not because the concept is flawed, it's not, but because the implementations have been silly. The idea that you can create a procedure and have it work without change forever is simply a waste of money. I can already think of several methods of lying to this kind of system, but Steam makes things harder just by combining a form of file check along with a log on to a remote server. To "lie" you will have to convince Steam that are a registered user, have permission to run the game you want to pirate, and your file(s) matches the CRC or other check they do. Once someone figures that out, or even _gasp_ before, they can add another check (or set of checks) to make things more difficult.

Many imperfect walls > 1 (supposedly) perfect one

Re:Smart Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318587)

WoW and many other MMOs (Ragnarok, Lineage; almost any of them) are hugely pirated as well as people reverse-engineer and put up their own servers, often making the game more fun in the process with their mods.

MMO Piracy? (1)

Zathain Sicarius (1398033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318683)

What about private servers? A lot of people download MMO clients and play on homebrew servers for a whole bunch of different MMOs. Not only do they have people stealing the actual game, they're not getting a monthly subscription from 'em. Granted, the client has to deal with laggy and somewhat sparse worlds, but you get my point.
MMO's have just as much as a problem with piracy. ...But the rest of what you said was good. :P

What happens if Steam goes out of business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318233)

How is this different from those music company DRM systems where you can't play your music if they go out business? If Steam goes out of business, can I still play the game I bought?

I have a feeling the answer is no.

of course it will work... (1)

papabob (1211684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318281)

at least until some clever pirates think about the fact that the code should be unencrypted in memory and you only need two steam account to compare where the 'unique ID' is...

Those DRM warriors should start thinking that the guys who break their systems aren't teenagers with too much spare time. They do what they do for money (possibly for more money than the developers get) and while valve have to make a system that works for everyone, pirates only have to find ONE flaw to get the game cracked.

Metamorphic code (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318641)

at least until some clever pirates think about the fact that the code should be unencrypted in memory

Not necessarily. A binary can be made unique through metamorphic [wikipedia.org] transformations that change the SHA-256 of the code but not its sense. For example, replace (x ^= x) with (x = 0), or (x += 5) with (x -= (-5)), or switch what registers hold what variables, etc. Then the keygen can include this SHA-256 value as an argument.

l4d (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318339)

matchmaking is the same we've seen in the PC version of Left 4 Dead

Does that refer to the pathetically broken L4D process whereby one clicks:

  1. Play versus
  2. Play online
  3. Find game in progress
  4. Error: games is full [OK]

Then one repeats five or six times until one finally gets matched with a game that isn't full?

That is one of the worst systems I've ever used.

Re:l4d (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318629)

I'd have to agree. I love Left 4 Dead but the crappy servers and the lousy matchmaking have ruined the game for me. I've quit playing it until they really and truly fix this crap. Playing on private group servers is an option sometimes but they're frequently full on a weekend night. Getting half way through a game just to run into a server crash or joining a server only to find it's running all-talk or some other lame setting really drives you insane. I've spent as long as 30 minutes trying to get a server that doesn't lag and has the standard configuration. Anything else based on the same system is going to be just as bad.

Re:l4d (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318651)

I still can't figure out why they didn't add the (at most) 5 lines of code it would have taken to tell it to re-do the exact same search on an error like that.

"error--game is full"

Well then find me another one! WTF?

Oxymoron of the day (3, Insightful)

patternmatch (951637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318425)

Oxymoron of the day: "unique copy"

Modify the binaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318499)

So what stops hackers from tracing the binaries to find out where it checks in to Steam, and replacing a whole lot of code with NOPs?

Maybe.... Ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318525)

Well, obviously it's a step forward but not enough, it's still an evolution of the annoying restrictive use of owned software/game.

Even if this sounds better than actual DRM, I will NOT buy anything that gives me restrictions in any way.

Um... Crack it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318561)

Long before the servers are gone, someone will have sniffed the key, decrypted it, and created a dummy server that replies to the games when they call for the key, and provides the key for them...

Hell YES! - Unless the auth servers go offline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27318595)

I've got a sony walkman, it has drm. It's now a pain in the arse to use because sony took the auth service offline without giving a complete fix to that act.

Another point of failure to worry about - but compared to crap like STARFORCE much more acceptable.

Steam leaves me cold. (3, Insightful)

Agrivane (150553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318605)

I check games carefully before purchasing them now and avoid all those that require the use of the Steam service. This comes after purchasing a few games that became unusable after a few weeks (or less than a day) with errors about invalid serial numbers. Perhaps region coding incompatible with my Geographically Canadian IP, perhaps the misfortune of matching with one of the warez distributions or key-gens. But all unresolvable without me delivering images of the retail receipt and manual / number card to Steam. As there is no reason to save the receipt for software purchase as opened packages are non-returnable, this was impossible.

Individually cryptographically signed executables is absolutely DRM. It, like every other copy-protection scheme, will only be relevant for online play, or if single player games require a handshake with some server system before use. (Which would limit their lifespan.) The best way to discourage piracy is to lower prices. You may not reduce the number of unlicensed copies around the world, but you will assuredly increase the number of customers you have.

NO! (2, Interesting)

Skylinux (942824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27318669)

It will be installable on any system, but only playable by one person at a time (hooked into the correct Steam account, of course). Will this be enough to satisfy anti-DRM players while at the same time giving the publishing companies what they require?"

They might as well keep DRM, the new system is pretty much the same thing.

I am still a slave to STEAM.
1) If I don't have STEAM on my other computer I can not play it.
2) If I am not connected to the Internet with my other computer I can not play it.
3) If Valve goes belly up I can no longer play my games

Not going to happen, keep your games and your online validation / DRM shit. I will only purchase games without it or none at all.

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