Valve boss: "Most DRM strategies are dumb"

Will Wright's Spore ran into bother over problems with its SecuROM DRM
Will Wright's Spore ran into bother over problems with its SecuROM DRM

Mention the three letter acronym DRM (digital rights management) to any committed PC gamer and they are likely to react with a little shiver of distaste.

Few in the games industry are willing to admit (on the record, at least) that many DRM strategies end up causing more grief to the end-user than is really necessary – see, for a good example, the recent case of EA's many problems with Spore's SecuROM

There are those few valiant souls in the industry however who thankfully look at the problem from the point of view of the gamer (as opposed to looking at it from the point of view of 'how best to beat the pirates?')

Newell speaks DRM sense

Valve president GabeNewell recently told one of his customers (via the ih8evilstuff LiveJournal page):

"Left 4 Dead is developed entirely by Valve. Steam revenue for our games is not shared with third parties. Around the world we have a number of distribution partners to handle retail distribution of our games (i.e. make discs and boxes). EA is one of those partners.

"As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. 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).

"We really really discourage other developers and publishes from using the broken DRM offerings, and in general there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches."

Black Mesa Source mod in 2009

Thank the lord of computer games, somebody in a position of considerable power and influence is at least looking at DRM with a modicum of sense.

In other Valve news, the Black Mesa Source mod team has released a new mindblowing trailer which claims that BMS should be due to arrive sometime in 2009, after nearly five years of patient (unpaid, amateur) development.

If you are not familiar with Black Mesa Source, TechRadar urges you to have a look at the mod's official site as soon as your mouse finger can take your eyes there.

Adam Hartley