The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Dark Messiah coming to Steam

Public beta requires Steam account :: May 25th, 2006 :: New products :: 20 Responses (Feed)

Ubisoft‘s first-person fantasy combat title Dark Messiah of Might & Magic has had its Steam distribution all but confirmed, with registration for its upcoming public beta requiring an account.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic screenshot
Dark Messiah is Ubisoft’s first experiment with the purchased Might and Magic franchise. [Full Image]

Powered by Source, speculation over whether Ubisoft would release Dark Messiah through Steam had been quashed for most of the game’s development cycle by the company-wide use of the StarForce copy protection system. While there are no known incompatibilities between Steam and StarForce protection (mainly because nobody has ever tried combining the two), distributing a copy of the game that did not require a CD for StarForce to validate would make its tight and largely unbroken security useless, with Steam’s current DRM scheme offering little protection for single-player games from anything but casual piracy.

However, with Ubisoft’s decision to cease protecting their games with StarForce Steam is an attractive option again, and it seems highly likely that Ubisoft have decided to seize upon it.

Will this develop into a wider relationship between Ubi and Valve, following on from Atari? The publisher already makes good use of other distribution services, primarily Direct2Drive, so it may well turn out that way.


20 Responses to this post:

  1. Andy Simpson Says:

    It could be they’re using Steam only as a convienient means for doing a beta test, but not intending to use it for full retail distribution.

  2. Tom Edwards Says:

    Yeah, I was careful with my language on that one. It’s unlikely though. Why shouldn’t they use Steam?

  3. Andy Simpson Says:

    Maybe they’re afraid of a retail backlash? I mean, to guys like us digital distribution is a no-brainer. Bigger margins, fewer risks. Just maybe it’ll be too much of a break from the status quo. I guess we’ll see.

  4. boglito Says:

    Pretty exciting news. Distributing the game on steam would definately make sense. Valve’s own experience with online distribution (more sales in retail than on steam) should indicate that steam wont hurt retail, but will increase profit.

    One possiblity is that steam will only be used for the beta. Steam is 100% perfect for betatesting, so that would make sense too, although there is no reason (that I can think of) not to also distribute the whole game.

    Oh, and you might want to change the text to the image included with the article. Dark Messiah is Ubisoft’s _second_ experiment with the purchased Might and Magic franchise. Heroes V is the first experiment, and it is pretty good actually.

    .bog.

  5. Tom Edwards Says:

    Catchable fatal error: Object of class WP_Comment could not be converted to string in /home/varsity/steamreview.org/wp-content/plugins/quoter/quoter.php on line 464