Unlike recent blockbusters from Electronic Arts and Take Two, Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 3 will have no install limits and will use a simple Oblivion-style disc check for copy protection.

Bethesda’s Pete Hines told Shacknews that piracy is a “huge problem,” but that the company also considers it a priority to ensure it doesn’t ruin the experience for people who buy legitimate copies. “We’re pretty mild about how we do it, and we try to do it in a way that prevents folks from exploiting and distributing our games that we worked very hard on, and that we feel we have a right to try and sell and not have distributed for free without our okay,” he said. “It’s very important for us not to ruin the experience for the person who did buy a copy, so we try to be very careful.”

That means no SecuROM, and no limit on the number of times the game can be installed. “We do the mildest form possible. I actually don’t know if I even want to get into what it is that we exactly do, but we try to be really non-invasive when it comes to that stuff,” he said. “And it is a pain in the ass – it is a pain in the ass that we have to do it at all in the first place. But when you spend tens of millions of dollars, we don’t think it’s right to just put something out there and let everybody do whatever they want and pass it around.”

Hines pointed to Steam as a possible “good solution” for combating piracy, saying that while the system was flawed when it first came out, it has since developed into a smooth-running and widely accepted method of copy protection. Bethesda is considering multiple digital distribution options, he said, but maintained that the company is committed to not hassling its customers. “We always talk about it in our games, about wanting to avoid the negative,” he said. “We want to remove anything that is a hindrance or an annoyance to the player, we’re trying to just get to the game and have fun. The interface, or whatever it is… Or the DRM, and making sure that we’re trying to protect something that we spent a lot of money developing, but not prohibiting somebody who bought a legitimate copy from getting into the game and having fun right away.”

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