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Author Topic: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?  (Read 2306 times)

Deozaan

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Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« on: March 25, 2009, 04:10:51 PM »
That's what they say:

March 24, 2009 - Valve today announced a new set of advanced features delivered in Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that are available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.

Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.

The new features also include support for in-game downloadable content (DLC) and matchmaking. The in-game DLC support allows developers to deliver new content as they choose (paid or free) from inside the game itself, allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. The Steamworks matchmaking now includes the robust lobby system shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.
Read the rest here.

Probably one of the most important thing about this (for developers) is that Steamworks services are offered free to developers and publishers, so there's really no reason why developers should use invasive DRM to "protect" their games.

Thanks Valve/Steam, for coming up with solutions!


f0dder

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 07:41:46 PM »
Well, you can still think of this as a kind of DRM, the key point being that it's unobtrusive, and doesn't require nasty drivers or similar crap. As long as I can still install my STEAM games on both my workstation and laptop (not for playing on multiple computers at once, though), I really don't mind, and I much prefer a scheme like this compared to the crap on DVD/CD games.

<3 Valve.
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Ehtyar

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 07:55:42 PM »
I can't imagine them getting through this even remotely unscathed. I imagine unwrapping this will be no more difficult than unwrapping the protection they've been using up until this point.

Ehtyar.

f0dder

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 08:11:50 PM »
I can't imagine them getting through this even remotely unscathed. I imagine unwrapping this will be no more difficult than unwrapping the protection they've been using up until this point.

Ehtyar.
Probably - but with a bit of smartness, they could do watermarking to track down leakers. That's not going to be foolproof either, but every little thing counts :)
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Ehtyar

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2009, 08:20:17 PM »
They could've used watermarking to compliment any DRM scheme they've used in the past which they never did. I really don't understand why, given all their efforts thus far have led them to a dumbed-down less-effective version of watermarking.

Ehtyar.

f0dder

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2009, 08:26:11 PM »
Well,

decrypting and rebuilding datafiles to remove watermarking will be relatively trivial - especially since it's hard to watermark all content (if it's done on the fly by the servers, you can't take advantage of p2p distribution, and if it's done locally by the steam executable, it can be overridden). What they're going to do now is building custom executables - if done properly, getting rid of the watermarks is going to be pretty tough. Not impossible to beat, but tough.
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Deozaan

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Re: Steamworks Makes DRM Obsolete?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 11:02:39 PM »
From my point of view, there's no stopping the people who are serious about breaking copy-protections, but at least this removes the excuse from developers that intrusive, rootkit-like DRMs such as SecuROM are necessary to protect their assets.

And it also gives someone like me, who dreams of getting into the Indie Game business, some good news that the Steamworks services are free for developers. And Steamworks provides more than just copy protection. It also provides matchmaking lobbies, achievements, automatic updates, etc. All in all it sounds like a nice solution to me. I think this would allow me, if I were a game developer to be honest and say that yes, my games are going to be pirated, but I also would be putting some effort into protecting my software from that.

I guess my main point is that I imagine publishers require some sort of copy protection to be placed on your software. Something like Steamworks would allow an a developer to meet the publisher's demands for DRM with little or no additional cost, even if as a developer you knew there was no way to absolutely protect your software from piracy.