Sorry I couldn't reply earlier, Raven737, I was in classes all day.
1. The software license:
With most games, you install the initial product, then patch manually. With steam, you install and patches are delivered. Either way, 1) If any company wanted to put evil software on your computer, they could just as easily do it with the initial release. You trust valve when installing a game, why don't you trust them when installing a patch?
Many games currently autoupdate when you run them (just like Steam). This is no different. If you are going to worry about any such system being hijacked, I suggest you stop patching any games (or playing them online for that matter).
3. DRM client:
Email validation means even offline LAN parties/events will not be hindered whatsoever. As for not wanting validation software on your computer... well, sorry to say, but this is most likely the future. If piracy wasn't such a huge revenue sink, maybe it wouldn't be necessary.
Finally, if valve does tank, they can just provide a final patch disabling validation, but it's really a moot point. If you want to play a game that uses the WON network, and WON goes down, well, you are SOL. Almost all games use a centralized hub for internet games. If Blizzard goes out of business (and no one buys em) then Battle.net will go down, and you won't be able to play Blizzard games. What is the likelyhood that this will happen? Probably about the same as Valve tanking.
A few more responces:
I don't buy software that "phones home" behind my back. I also don't think it is asking too much to demand full control over all software updates so that when something breaks I have a good idea of what has changed recently.
1) Steam informs you of updates (you can even cancel them...), so you'll know what changed recently.
2) Again, welcome to the future. Presently the internet is a lawless, dangerous place. Kiddy hackers can attack users with impunity, worm writers can cause billions in damage and blatent theft is widespread. It may take time, but eventually, the internet will become a civilized place, where there is just as much stigma placed on stealing a $50 game as copying it.
"HL2 online multiplayer requires a monthly subscription fee of $XX.00 to play".
If you are going to make an argument, provide at least some factual or logical evidence to back it. If Valve wanted to cash in, why didn't they make Steam HL1 subscription?