Steamworks, a online based service started last year, has now added a system Vavle says will make other forms of DRM obsolete. Called Customer Executable Generation, or CEG for short, uses Steam’s existing account verification but adds another layer of security. Using CEG each game executable contains a unique ID that is connected to your Steam account to prevent the sharing of games. Now you might be thinking, is this going to interfere with me playing games on multiple computers? No. As long as you are logged in to the same account you purchased the game with it will still operate normally. This feature is being added to stop people from hacking games that use Steam for DRM such as Saints Row 2 or FEAR 2. Hackers can edit game files to bypass Steam verification and CEG adds a extra step of security. Who knows if this will stay secure though,because everything companies come up with is eventually cracked.
John McCaskey, a Valve employee said:
“From an end-user perspective it’s not different. From a technical and anti-piracy perspective it’s a big step forward.”
And he is exactly right. DRM shouldn’t be obtrusive to the user and CEG is exactly what companies should be striving for. It doesn’t have activation limits, keys you can lose or some game-specific activation server that could be gone one day.
On top of CEG, Steamworks has also added DLC and Matchmaking support for developers. Similar to the marketplace DLC can now be added to games through the store or in-game and matchmaking code is now available and has been used in Left 4 Dead.
Custom Executable Generation creates a unique build of your game for each user, making it difficult for any one user to share the game with any other user. Each individual copy of a CEG-protected game is only playable by the Steam account authorized to access it. CEG is transparent, and does not impose limits on users. It lets users access their content from any hardware, and allows unlimited hardware configuration changes without the content becoming unplayable. In fact, no changes are made to a user’s computer for CEG to work. Instead, CEG works in tandem with Steam authentication, enabling content access based on user accounts, not arbitrary hardware-based “rights-management” restrictions.
Suite of Services Expands With Customer Executable Generation (CEG), Support for DLC, Matchmaking, and More
March 24, 2009 – Valve today announced a new set of advanced features delivered in Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that are available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.
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.
The new features also include support for in-game downloadable content (DLC) and matchmaking. The in-game DLC support allows developers to deliver new content as they choose (paid or free) from inside the game itself, allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. The Steamworks matchmaking now includes the robust lobby system shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.
“Delivering this extension of services on Steamworks first anniversary, demonstrates our commitment to continually develop the platform to better serve the community working with these tools,” said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. “As we roll out these features, we continue to look for new ways make PC games easier to create and better for customers to experience.”
Steamworks was launched in early 2008 and has already shipped in products distributed at retail and electronically with major PC releases such as Empire: Total War, Dawn of War II, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, and Football Manager 2009.
The Steamworks services are offered free of charge to developers and publishers around the world. In addition to the services added in this spring’s extension, Steamworks offers support for Steam Achievements, Steam Community, Auto Updating, Statistics, Steam Cloud and more.
Steamworks is fully integrated with the Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC games that has grown to reach 20 million accounts throughout the world, up from 15 million accounts just one year ago. Steam now offers over 500 applications to gamers in every country of the world.
For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com.