Steam is what you want it to be. It can be just an activator for some, a games store for others with a built in library, a way to ditch disks for ever or for some much more. Steam is a version of DRM - but it isn't as intrusive as others, such as Starforce ect. When you buy a Steam game or activate the game with a CD key, it gets tied to your Steam account and remains tied permanently. Can I go offline? Yes, although for the activation, you will need an Internet connection. (although if you can't even afford internet, you shouldn't be playing PC games where the cost of upkeep/entry is higher than a console) How will they integrate it into Civ 5? It can range from nothing to community integration (eg. Achievements or hosting a game) to full on Steam Cloud support. What is Steam Cloud? It's a service to store save games (LOCALLY AND ON THE CLOUD) and keyboard mappings ect so that you can effortlessly continue your game on different computers. Why do I support Steam? Valve are the gods of the FPS world and everything that they do is perfect or reaches a high level of fit and finish . Everyone who I know loves Steam - because of the great store offers (TF2 for £2.50, how could you go wrong?!) I leave Steam going as it just becomes a habit and it's only a integrated store and game browser/launcher anyway. Why did they go for Steam? CD Keys are a a easy target to hackers/pirates as keygens are on the Internet within days/week after the game launches. Usually a pi** poor DRM system is used to back this up which installs god knows what on your computer (lol Starforce). Steam is seen as attractive because it removes the CD Key out of the equation. What about mods? Those who are lucky/successful usually end up on Steam. See Gary's Mod (GMod) as an example. Hopefully there will be sites like this for the majority of mods. Finally... Why the hell not? I mean Steam is solving the problems of the PC gaming sector - removing the need for more intrusive DRM (hated by all), allowing modders/indie devs to get a chance and much more. You'll fall in love with it. Trust me.