At the Game Developers Choice Awards last week, Valve’s Gabe Newell chimed in with his thoughts on DRM, and more specifically, Ubisoft’s unpopular new approach. Newell received this year’s Pioneer Award in part for his work on the Steam content delivery service, which itself is protected with DRM.
Steam’s DRM is less intrusive than the latest Ubisoft scheme, which requires that gamers have an active Internet connection even when playing Assasin’s Creed II‘s single-player campaign. Newell contends Valve’s "what have I done for my customers today?" attitude helps the company avoid some of the negatives associated with DRM. Steam games can be played in offline mode without an Internet connection, and over the years Valve has added numerous useful features to the service itself.
Newell’s comments were apparently cheered by an audience of game developers and other industry figures, suggesting that those responsible for creating games are also frustrated by overly restrictive DRM. And it’s not like Ubisoft’s approach has worked. A crack for Assassin’s Creed II is already out in the wild, and Ubisoft’s authentication servers have been attacked more than once, preventing some legitimate users from playing the game.