The people at Bethesda Softworks and Obsidian Entertainment aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Four months after announcing Fallout: New Vegas, the latest game in the Fallout series, Bethesda has started talking about the copy protection it's going to use.
According to a fan interview with Bethesda Senior Producer Jason Bergman, New Vegas will use Valve Software's Steamworks scheme—not just for digital rights management, but for other functionality, as well:
Fallout: New Vegas uses Steamworks for achievements and other features (such as friends lists, cloud storage of user preferences and so on). Use of Steam will be mandatory at retail. So what does that mean? We’ve implemented Steamworks in as light and unobtrusive a way as possible. 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. Not only that, but once the game has activated on Steam, you can throw out the game DVD entirely and just download the game over Steam. 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.
Bergman adds that, after reviewing different copy protection schemes, Obsidian concluded that Steam provided the "best, least intrusive experience" on the PC. Last we heard, New Vegas was on track to ship for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 this fall. (Thanks to Shacknews for the tip.)