Valve's Gabe Newell: most DRM strategies are just dumb

By on December 3, 2008, 9:19 AM
Responding to a letter from a fan, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell left no doubt about his company's stance on DRM, claiming such strategies “are just dumb.” The fan letter expressed concern about Valve’s publishing partnership with Electronic Arts, which has recently faced outrage from consumers over its use of secuROM DRM in a number of games.

Valve’s partnership with EA didn't restrain Newell from commenting on some of its anti-piracy ideas, though, mirroring what appears to be a common sentiment among gamers: “The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't).”

He added that Valve really discourages other developers and publishers from using the broken DRM offerings and in fact claims there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches – even though DRM seems to only be getting more ubiquitous, with Rockstar being the latest to employ SecuROM in the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 4.

User Comments: 2

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sixit said:
Mr. Newell is either lying or applying Orwellian double-speak. And more than once in as many paragraphs.First, a recent update to the Steam engine is forcing me to accept a change to the Terms & Conditions in order for me to play the game for which I rightfully paid. If I do not agree, and I don't, to the changes, I am unable to play my game even in offline mode. Furthermore, I cannot complete a game and sell or give to another party. That's a violation of my consumer rights.It gets better: What if, in ten years or so, I decide I want to play my game again? What happens when Valve decides to stop supporting a game and arbitrarily decides that it has reached its end of life? Do you think they'll offer a stand-alone ISO without DRM to their customers? Unlikely. That means that with every game Valve and Steam are distributing, you will always have to worry about whether I'll be able to play my game or if I won't be able to play my game.I suppose Mr. Newell meant to say, "To hell with managing digital rights, just steal them outright!"If Mr. Newell wishes to offer a full refund of my game, I'll be happy to return the physical media to him in a pre-paid (by Valve) envelope and cease any further interaction with this slimy, draconian company. And yeah, I'm || this close to investigating how to proceed with a lawsuit over these practices.Robert Reese~
tengeta said:
this really is a joke... steam is nice and all but really it is just a proprietary form of drm that valve uses to control its games use over the internet.hell, thats interactive drm. they made the future already.of course, he did say "most drm strategies are dumb" so he may feel valve's is perfectly fine.
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