Steam sounds like a reasonable idea gone bad.
My main concern is that by registering my game to me via a steam account I am making it impossible for anyone else to use the game online in anyway shape or form. In single player mode I'm fairly certain that ppl will be able to install and play right off the bat. But in say 6 months when newer video cards come out and you need a patch to play the single player game, in order to play the game you'll need a valid steam account with this game attached in order to patch and play it?
I can understand a copyright protection built into the multiplayer component as it does not impact my gaming experience very much. (CD key is verified when connecting to multiplayer game) But this solution seems more like a way to prevent ppl from playing the game who did not purchase it from a retail source at a price of $50. IE no more selling used games on ebay for others to enjoy.
As for this helping against piracy, I really think you guys are underestimating the determination of a 7th grader who has nothing to do but hack your software. There will be patches out and they'll be available everywhere that crack this software and make it playable for those ppl.
All I really think this software will do is annoy users and make it less desireable to buy used copies of the game. Possibly keeping cheaters more under control as well.