Steam is updating

With an update to the Steamworks SDK in March 2009, Valve added its "Custom Executable Generation" (CEG) approach into the Steamworks SDK that removed the need for these other measures.

Initially, Valve was required to be the publisher for these titles since they had sole access to the Steam's database and engine, but with the introduction of the Steamworks software development kit (SDK) in May 2008, anyone could potentially become a publisher to Steam, outside of Valve's involvement to curate titles on the service.

Prior to 2009, most games released on Steam had traditional anti-piracy measures, including the assignment and distribution of product keys and support for digital rights management software tools such as Secu ROM or non-malicious rootkits.

Once the software is downloaded and installed, the user must then authenticate through Steam to de-encrypt the executable files to play the game.

Normally this is done while connected to the Internet following the user's credential validation, but once they have logged into Steam once, a user can instruct Steam to launch in a special offline mode to be able to play their games without a network connection.

Developers are not limited to Steam's CEG and may include other forms of DRM and other authentication services than Steam; for example, some titles from publisher Ubisoft require the use of their UPlay gaming service, In September 2008, Valve added support for Steam Cloud, a service that can automatically store saved game and related custom files on Valve's servers; users can access this data from any machine running the Steam client.

In May 2012, the service added the ability for users to manage their game libraries from remote clients, including computers and mobile devices; users can instruct Steam to download and install games they own through this service if their Steam client is currently active and running.

Once the game is bought, a software license is permanently attached to the user's Steam account, allowing him or her to download the software on any compatible device.

Game licenses can be given to other accounts under certain conditions.

For games that incorporate Steamworks, users can buy redemption codes from other vendors and redeem these in the Steam client to add the title to their libraries.

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