Yes. you heard it right. Even if you are playing a single player campaign or a 1vs1 skirmish against the computer. You need to first launch Steam and log in to Steam for the game to even launch. And this is not just for initial activation, but for subsequent plays. So when I tried to run the game without logging into Steam, nothing happens at all. The game doesn’t even launch. I log into Steam and the game loads.
It’s quite obvious what these guys are trying to do – they are trying to fight piracy. But they end up alienating the users. I have played RTS since the first Dune 2, and I have never had to go online to fight against the computer. In fact, I have never played a PC game that requires me to do this, unless it is an MMOG like World Of Warcraft.
I understand that piracy is really killing the PC business, but in an environment where console games are outselling PC games (revenues for console games are about 8x more than PC games worldwide) and beating the shit out of them, you don’t want to make you legitimate PC gamers angry.
And what about selling to the countries without much of a Net penetration? Or have they given up on these countries altogether?
Update: Some forumers are asking if this will work if Steam is running in offline mode. I will try that tonight. Another issue is whether you need to have a Windows Live account logged-in to play. Will also test that tonight. But having played this game for about 6 hours, I do like it a lot.