I'm someone who has become a very big fan of steam. Steam can take a big chunk of the credit for the resurgence of the PC as a gaming platform when everyone was predicting its imminent death, and for that alone it is awesome. In particular, it's played a huge part in the rise of the indie game market, which is now enormous and amazing (and where all the creativity and innovation is happening). And you could argue that both of these are just because it's a digital distribution platform which also happens to be the most successful, but I really think it's more to do with the fact that it does all the other things it does as part of a single package (especially for the indies). Their sales are also ludicrously good. As a service, it's a pretty good games marketplace, and it makes things easy with the downloading, patching and aggregation. And it does achievements and profiles too, which mean bugger all to me on their own, except it means that there's no more reason for publishers to try and shove Games For Windows Live on a game (plenty of publishers have gone from GFWL to steamworks alone now and nobody seems to be doing steam+gfwl anymore). No matter how much you hate steam, I think we can all agree it's nowhere near as bad as GFWL. For indie games and most mainstream AAA games, I reckon it's a net positive. But they haven't really found a way for it to play nicely with mods, so yeah I'm less enamoured of it for mod-heavy games (I've learnt not to buy Paradox games on steam). Civ V's implementation of mods works comparitively nicely with steam, except for the auto-patching thing. So yeah, not a perfect fit, but not terrible. But really, publishers are always going to demand DRM, and Steam is not only pretty much the least intrusive form of DRM, but also provides a useful service to boot. It's because it's such an all-in-one service of shop, game management system, community thing and light DRM that it makes it easier for developers/publishers to make it easier for the consumer. It would be nice if it had a viable competitor though.