Each of your bought games is using a licensed product key of that game(that's why it sometimes happens that they run out of keys during a sale and need to get more from the developer / distributor). So I'd bet if Steam ever goes down, you would get the list of all your license keys and could use them during a normal install of said game.
Awesome memmory you have there! :D
But I still have that standpoint.
Steam's DRM is completely different from all other DRM's. The way Steam works by controlling distributing games is not restricting. It is rather enabling. If my disc blows up, cratches or by any other means renders it unreadable then I can still download my game and play it.
I don't need the disc. I don't need the CD key. There are not evil rootkits. It is not restricting me at all.
In fact it is enabling me to download and play my games everywhere. I can download it so much (if I wanted to) that Valve's bandwith costs make them lose their profit from me buying once and play everywhere.; It can even make them lose money (and they probably already did, lol :p).
They have, and tested it, an exit trategy. Valve's DRM doesn't make me play the game less, or not at all. It lets me play games more. Even when they are bankrupt!
Now onto the Digital Restriction Management that is everywhere else: I am highly against that! And so unless Primal Carnage goes Steam and doesn't implement its own copy protection whatsoever I will not buy it. I will not even think about buying it for a second!
It's either no copy protection at all and laying the protection in Valve's hand or a massive no go!
And that is why we are all against DRM in the first place, because it restricts. Steam's DRM enables by decrypting games that do not have any copy protection themselves. The only reason these games are not playable on their own is because they are encrypted. They do not require Steam at all. And FWIW; you can download them all decrypted and you do not need a crack for them.
I bought all my Valve games for a reason and only downloaded Half-Life 2 because I didn't know about the backup features and the official unlock forevah patch that Valve tested inhouse.
But overall, I agree. I myself have the Orange Box (Half-Life 2 series, Portal, TF2) and Steam isn't too obtrusive. Although it still isn't completely ideal in me always needing to use Steam to be able to play a game. I also doubt I'll truly buy another game from there (I bought Orange Box and the like before I had properly educated myself on the dangers and pitfalls of DRM).
Steam allows you to play games offline if you set it to remember you account.
Also: Steam is just a distribution system that downloads, lists and updates your game. It just also has a function to decrypt files. Source games are just partialy encrypted by Valve.
Backing up the games just does Ctrl-c + Ctrl+v your game folder to another place. You don't need Steam itself to play decrypted Source games. Illegal downloads have proven this... The 'crack' you then need is just a decrypted exe file, nothing more...
PS: Steam can also launch any exe file for any game you have...
You still need that initial "phone home" connection though. Being able to back up your games in physical form is a good thing though.
I didn't buy their DRM-sh*t for Windows and wont buy it on Linux!
(Yes, I would immediately buy DRM-free HL2 or L4D2)
Out of all the DRM for games out there Valves is one of the least intrusive and works really well.
I really hope they do come to linux. I would rebuy all my source games if they did