Steam and Games for Windows Live add more piracy protection

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In moves which may or may not lead to an outcry from the gamer population at large, both Valve and Microsoft have strengthened their DRM on their PC gaming platforms. Whether these changes will simply curb piracy, as intended, or whether they will prove a nuisance as other DRM schemes have done historically is yet to be seen.
In moves which may or may not lead to an outcry from the gamer population at large, both Valve and Microsoft have strengthened their DRM on their PC gaming platforms. Whether these changes will simply curb piracy, as intended, or whether they will prove a nuisance as other DRM schemes have done historically is yet to be seen.

Valve’s effort is called “Custom Executable Generation,” and it appears to create a unique EXE file for every user, probably related to their SteamID and thus unusable by anyone else in theory. Here’s how they explain it:

Headlining the new feature set is the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology that compliments the already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.

Microsoft has a different setup, more geared towards preventing pre-release piracy and reducing non-official online play:

Anti-piracy Solution: Zero-day piracy protection and server-side authentication help prevent game piracy before street date, and protect publishers and consumers by requiring authentication for online play

What do you guys think? DRM, threat or menace? Obviously it needs to happen, but every solution is usually two steps forward, two steps back, plus or minus one step. You feel me?

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