GDC 2010: Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

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GDC 2010: Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

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Valve co-founder Gabe Newell thinks that overly restrictive DRM ultimately devalues a product.

Speaking last night at the Game Developers' Choice awards, where he was honored as the recipient of a Pioneer Award, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell expressed opposition to restrictive Digital Rights Management - which is a bit of a hot-button issue at the moment.

"One thing that you hear [Valve] talk a lot about is entertainment as a service," said Newell. "It's an attitude that says 'what have I done for my customers today?'"

"It informs all the decisions we make, and once you get into that mindset it helps you avoid things like some of the Digital Rights Management problems that actually make your entertainment products worth less by wrapping those negatives around them."

Newell's comments were greeted by cheers from industry luminaries and developers alike, perhaps indicating that the people who actually make the games are as unhappy with DRM as the people who play them.

Of course, while Newell's statement was probably heartfelt and genuine, it isn't like the man hasn't ever put DRM in his products - Steam is, after all, a type of DRM (albeit a much less restrictive one than others). I think "If you have DRM, just make it as painless as possible" is an axiom most of us can get behind, isn't it? And to be fair, Steam does have other benefits.

I think that's what rankles me the most about the whole Ubisoft fiasco. The ironic part is that without the absurd "you must be connected 100% of the time to play" stipulation, the Ubisoft service could have actually been successful at reducing piracy by providing incentives instead of punishment.

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to download and install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!" If Ubisoft had just stuck with that, wouldn't it have encouraged people to buy their games for the goodies? Instead, everybody just gets punished.

(Develop Online)

Permalink

Yeah, I think Newell should think about what he says before bashing a competitor's product.

Even if it does suck hard.

John Funk:
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell thinks that overly restrictive DRM ultimately devalues a product.

In other breaking news, grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, I hurt people.

Just another reason I love that big walking Timbit.

I'm not really too against the whole setup of Assassin's Creed 2's DRM since it's exactly the same as Guild Wars. The problem with that is that, obviously, Guild Wars is a multiplayer and requires that to make sure people don't hack (also, the servers crashed due to overuse). But overall, I felt that the DRM for Spore was much more irritating.

Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Wow, I never thought Gabe would be the one to say this. Just when you're like "Damnit Gabe wheres the L4D2 DLC?" or "Damnit Gabe wheres the HL2: Episode 3?" he comes out with stuff like this. Damn you Gabe, why can't you just let people hate on you? You always gotta be the bastard with a heart of gold.

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Offline mode works fine for me, I don't know what's wrong with you

John Funk:
Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!"

Permalink

I disagree with any type of install restrictions to begin with. I don't think consumers should have to register or be part of the service in order to use their product; so I don't see that as an incentive.

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!" If Ubisoft had just stuck with that, wouldn't it have encouraged people to buy their games for the goodies?

You can do that without DRM, and there are things on the web that let you store files on a cloud service anyway - there's one to do with a box but the name escapes me.

Hardly an incentive.

Anyway, although Steam is a form of DRM it is pretty unrestrictive (bar a one-time activation) and exceptionally well thought out: constant updates, a great great GREAT store, a good community (a f*cking big one at that), etc. etc.

Oh, and it works (as in, it doesn't stop you from playing the games after that single activation). That's something that GfWL might want to take note of - because it fucks me over every single time.

Eukaryote:

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Offline mode works fine for me, I don't know what's wrong with you

Yes but the problem he is having that you have to be connected to go in offline mode.

destroyer2k:

Eukaryote:

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Offline mode works fine for me, I don't know what's wrong with you

Yes but the problem he is having that you have to be connected to go in offline mode.

... If I am without a connection and I start up steam, it just starts in offline mode. There must be something wrong with your installation or something since it works fine for me.

Yes, Steam is a type of DRM. But you know what? It provides me with a good incentive to use it (as Funk said). I get a BIG store where I can buy many computer games, and not just the big titles either. I also get access to the HUGE community, where I can chat with my friends, invite them to games, and I get the overlay so I can chat while in-game. Plus, once I buy a game from steam, I can install it on as many computers as I like, with no limits to how many times I can do it, and some games do support Steam Clouds. Steam is the PC equivalent to LIVE and PSN, but only better
/end Valve/PC fanboy tirade.

Lord_Panzer:

John Funk:
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell thinks that overly restrictive DRM ultimately devalues a product.

In other breaking news, grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, I hurt people.

That's actually my ringtone O.o

OT: SEE? It's a bad, awful, pointless idea. Everybody save Ubisoft seems to agree on this.

dagens24:

John Funk:
Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!"

Permalink

I disagree with any type of install restrictions to begin with. I don't think consumers should have to register or be part of the service in order to use their product; so I don't see that as an incentive.

Downloading and installing their game from their servers for free as many times as you want isn't an incentive?

Woodsey:
"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!" If Ubisoft had just stuck with that, wouldn't it have encouraged people to buy their games for the goodies?

You can do that without DRM, and there are things on the web that let you store files on a cloud service anyway - there's one to do with a box but the name escapes me.

Hardly an incentive.

Oh please, you're nitpicking. If it were seamless to do and you didn't have to do third-party services, mess around with files, saving them in certain places, etc - but just could go "save to cloud" in-game?

How is that NOT an incentive?

Well the new Ubisoft system did prevent Piracy until now.

As far as I know Silent Hunter 5 can't be played... supposedly the Campaign Missions can't be completed or something and Assassin's Creed 2 isn't even out yet... so yeah.

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Yeah, thats always been stupid.

Anyway, hes just making an obvious statement. Of course opressive DRM will do that...thats why its called oppresive

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Hell I just leave my Steam in online mode when I disconnect from the internet. Doesn't make a difference and I can still play everything. That might help you since offline mode has given me some problems in the past...

destroyer2k:

Eukaryote:

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Offline mode works fine for me, I don't know what's wrong with you

Yes but the problem he is having that you have to be connected to go in offline mode.

At college they have the Steam servers blocked so you can't connect to it, but offline mode works fine... Dunno what problems you're having...

John Funk:

dagens24:

John Funk:
Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!"

Permalink

I disagree with any type of install restrictions to begin with. I don't think consumers should have to register or be part of the service in order to use their product; so I don't see that as an incentive.

Downloading and installing their game from their servers for free as many times as you want isn't an incentive?

Woodsey:
"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!" If Ubisoft had just stuck with that, wouldn't it have encouraged people to buy their games for the goodies?

You can do that without DRM, and there are things on the web that let you store files on a cloud service anyway - there's one to do with a box but the name escapes me.

Hardly an incentive.

Oh please, you're nitpicking. If it were seamless to do and you didn't have to do third-party services, mess around with files, saving them in certain places, etc - but just could go "save to cloud" in-game?

How is that NOT an incentive?

Not an incentive as in:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

Its certainly not enough to force people into a 100% connection situation. I also doubt that anyone gaming on a PC would have any trouble finding out where a save file goes. And if you can't be arsed with third-party software, why not email the save in an attachment? Or use a memory stick?

Steam has the only incentives, and Valve has plans for cloud-gaming for that anyway; and for those without a 'net connection that's still not an incentive, just an added bonus for those with one.

oppp7:
But overall, I felt that the DRM for Spore was much more irritating.

I posit that you do not fully understand how that would have worked - it wanted to connect to the internet each time you ran the application (as does Ubisofts), but it only had to check to see if you "were still not a pirate". If you weren't connected to the net when you tried to start the game, it would still let you in. The system would lock you out of after say... 10 days without performing that check, but you could still start the game without being online, and if your net connection failed while playing it nothing would happen.

With Ubisoft's DRM 'solution', if you can't get online you can't play. If you get disconnected, you can't play. It's way more restrictive and every bit as annoying as the Spore system - the only possible positive feature is cloud-based game saves, but those are not worth shackling yourself to a system that requires a constant net connection for a single player game.

That's Funny:
Yeah, I think Newell should think about what he says before bashing a competitor's product.

Even if it does suck hard.

I don't follow.

John Funk:

dagens24:

John Funk:
Gabe Newell Bashes DRM

"Hey guys, if you buy and register your game with us, you get to install it as many times on as many computers as you want, and you have the option of storing your games in our cloud so you can pick up where you left off no matter the machine!"

Permalink

I disagree with any type of install restrictions to begin with. I don't think consumers should have to register or be part of the service in order to use their product; so I don't see that as an incentive.

Downloading and installing their game from their servers for free as many times as you want isn't an incentive?

Sorry, I should have been more clear. Having to register and download a service so I can download and install my game off of their servers; fair. Having to register and use some sort of service so I can install the disk copy I just bought from the store; unfair. I believe that if I buy a game off the shelf I should be able to play it as is and uninstall/reinstall as many times as I want without hassle. Having to download something, or contact someone, or even be connected to the net at all, is unfair in my opinion; it's as if I haven't even bought the software, I'm just renting it with their permission. I remember when Half-Life 2 first came out and I rushed home to install it and I couldn't play because my net was all messed up at the time and it required a connection to steam; it sucked.

Woodsey:

Not an incentive as in:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

Its certainly not enough to force people into a 100% connection situation. I also doubt that anyone gaming on a PC would have any trouble finding out where a save file goes. And if you can't be arsed with third-party software, why not email the save in an attachment? Or use a memory stick?

Steam has the only incentives, and Valve has plans for cloud-gaming for that anyway; and for those without a 'net connection that's still not an incentive, just an added bonus for those with one.

...dude, will you actually read what I said? I said, if Ubisoft had just had those features but *not* the 100% connection, it would have been an incentive. We're talking about a hypothetical situation in which there was none of the "DRM," just incentives to register the game and download it even if you lose the DVDs or whatever.

I think he should shut his mouth. Fanboys shouldn't be allowed to talk about anything that isn't theirs.

John Funk:

Woodsey:

Not an incentive as in:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

Its certainly not enough to force people into a 100% connection situation. I also doubt that anyone gaming on a PC would have any trouble finding out where a save file goes. And if you can't be arsed with third-party software, why not email the save in an attachment? Or use a memory stick?

Steam has the only incentives, and Valve has plans for cloud-gaming for that anyway; and for those without a 'net connection that's still not an incentive, just an added bonus for those with one.

...dude, will you actually read what I said? I said, if Ubisoft had just had those features but *not* the 100% connection, it would have been an incentive. We're talking about a hypothetical situation in which there was none of the "DRM," just incentives to register the game and download it even if you lose the DVDs or whatever.

Isn't that called Steam...?

Woodsey:

John Funk:

Woodsey:

Not an incentive as in:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

Its certainly not enough to force people into a 100% connection situation. I also doubt that anyone gaming on a PC would have any trouble finding out where a save file goes. And if you can't be arsed with third-party software, why not email the save in an attachment? Or use a memory stick?

Steam has the only incentives, and Valve has plans for cloud-gaming for that anyway; and for those without a 'net connection that's still not an incentive, just an added bonus for those with one.

...dude, will you actually read what I said? I said, if Ubisoft had just had those features but *not* the 100% connection, it would have been an incentive. We're talking about a hypothetical situation in which there was none of the "DRM," just incentives to register the game and download it even if you lose the DVDs or whatever.

Isn't that called Steam...?

Sigh. We're getting nowhere fast.

John Funk:

Woodsey:

John Funk:

Woodsey:

Not an incentive as in:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

Its certainly not enough to force people into a 100% connection situation. I also doubt that anyone gaming on a PC would have any trouble finding out where a save file goes. And if you can't be arsed with third-party software, why not email the save in an attachment? Or use a memory stick?

Steam has the only incentives, and Valve has plans for cloud-gaming for that anyway; and for those without a 'net connection that's still not an incentive, just an added bonus for those with one.

...dude, will you actually read what I said? I said, if Ubisoft had just had those features but *not* the 100% connection, it would have been an incentive. We're talking about a hypothetical situation in which there was none of the "DRM," just incentives to register the game and download it even if you lose the DVDs or whatever.

Isn't that called Steam...?

Sigh. We're getting nowhere fast.

xD

Sorry, but a one-time registration with those incentives is just Steam to me.

Long week.

Seeing as Digital Distribution,and therefore STEAM, is the enemy, I say pah

And repeat it three or for time spitting

destroyer2k:

Eukaryote:

SextusMaximus:
Gabe Newell, the one who gives me an offline mode that requires the internet? yeah. Shut up Gabe.

Offline mode works fine for me, I don't know what's wrong with you

Yes but the problem he is having that you have to be connected to go in offline mode.

Not in my experience you don't. I guess you'll have to have been connected once per machine to retrieve your games and information for your local client to know you're entitled to play what's on your machine. But after that, whenever Steam fails to login it says "Try again or offline mode?", and I just click offline mode and that's that.

That said, these statements are a bit rich coming from Gabe.

Indeed, it really, really could've been a good service, but Ubisoft have buggered it up.

BUT there's still hope, they could still salvage it!

Dexter111:
Well the new Ubisoft system did prevent Piracy until now.

As far as I know Silent Hunter 5 can't be played... supposedly the Campaign Missions can't be completed or something and Assassin's Creed 2 isn't even out yet... so yeah.

It's not really DRM if everyone's version of the game stops working.

Donnyp:
I think he should shut his mouth. Fanboys shouldn't be allowed to talk about anything that isn't theirs.

In which case nobody on this site should be allowed to talk about anything at any time, ever. Unless they created it.

And while that would finally shut up a lot of idiots, it wouldn't be very fair.

I don't see what the big deal is, apparently it's ok for all of us to go "BOO UBISOFT'S DRM SUCKS" but when someone in the industry does it apparently they aren't credible? Am I in Bizarro World? Yes, Steam is a form of DRM, but it isn't one that keeps me from installing a game multiple times, doesn't require me to be online at all times (offline mode does work, people), and overall it is generally unobtrusive. So again, what is the deal.

Woodsey:

- Pre-DRM I could install anything, anywhere, any time.
- How many people (other than journo's) game on more than one machine? Not many I'm betting, because how many people can afford to have two gaming PCs capable of running, say, AC2 on decent settings?

How many gamers here have friends and family members? I'm constantly heading over to a friend's house and every year I stay at my Uncle's where I log onto log into my Steam account to show them a game they've never played.

I only had to read the title header and the first sentence to agree with it.

Ex.:

Ruse is a great RTS game that I love and would buy in a heartbeat....however it's got Ubisoft's new DRM that requires you to be connected to their servers 24/7 when playing the game otherwise you cannot play it. That I do not mind for the multiplayer part, but for singleplayer campaign or skirmishes against the AI, I find that utterly ridiculous. It's a great game and many in the open beta have said the same thing: "would have bought if it wasn't by Ubisoft with the dreaded DRM".

John Funk:
Instead, everybody just gets punished.

Not everybody. Only legitimate customers (how ironic is that?). There have been cracked versions around since a week BEFORE release.

Steam is still DRM no matter how you cut it. The chains rest lightly on you but they are still chains.

The point of DRM has never been to stop piracy because you would think that at about 10 years of abject failure they would have given up by now. The point of DRM is to kill the second hand market which costs publishers much more money than piracy ever could. And Steam, along with other digital download services, kills the 2nd hand market.

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