How Steam Became the Most/Only Acceptable DRM

ETAO Podcast, Episode 05.

 
When last we left the saga of SteamOS, Lucio and I were envisioning a future owned and operated by Valve, and for the most part, we were comfortable with that idea to a degree that made us, well, uncomfortable.

So this time around, we dig deep into the topic of DRM. We both hate DRM, yet we both kind of love Steam. Does that mean we love DRM? The horror. Now we are become Death, destroyer of fair use.

Steam does a lot right. Maybe that’s worth giving up some freedom, especially with greater evils roaming the world of videogame publishing. (We’re looking at you, pre-orders and season passes and overabundant cash-in DLC). Is a world where every book is on Kindle really that different from a world where every game is on Steam? (It probably is, yeah).

We also discuss the ambiguity and complexity of voting with our wallets—who or what are we voting for, exactly?—and we ask whether it’s simply too late to put DRM on music. (It probably is, yeah).

———

Fact-checking ahoy:

• All of the Mass Effects and Dragon Ages were developed, or at least released, after Electronic Arts acquired BioWare.

• Valve released Half-Life on November 19, 1998.

“0.9% of the Global Population Have Steam Accounts”.

• At time of posting, the Xbox 360 version of Angry Birds Star Wars is forty freakin’ dollars. Fruit Ninja Kinnect costs $10, but has jillions of piecemeal DLCs.

———

“All The People Say” by Carpe Demon.
“Brazil” by Xavier Cugat.

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