The $10 tier for Slower Than Light is “a downloadable DRM-free copy of Slower Than Light.” This has quite reasonably raised a number of questions about how DRM-free STL will be, both in Kickstarter-edition form, as well as the final sales configuration.
The plan for STL’s distribution is inspired by the way Arcen Games handles their games. At the very most, STL will use a license key that converts the demo version of the game to a full version. I am old enough to remember a time when I bought games off the shelf at an Electronics Boutique or a Babbages, drove home, installed it, and never had to connect to the internet once, let alone be always-on. I believe that that model is critical; I would much rather have a pirate playing my game than have a paying customer unable to.
Now, one of my goals with STL, if it funds, is to seek distribution via Steam. The way Steam works is to bind applications to a user account, and many people consider it a form of DRM in and of itself. Under these criteria, STL will be carrying DRM when purchased off Steam. It is my intention to begin selling STL outside of Steam’s purview as well, for users who, for whatever reason, choose not to use their service, and that version will be in the same configuration as the one Kickstarter backers receive.
In related news, there will likely be a Greenlight campaign launching when the Kickstarter tops $20,000 or 1,000 backers, whichever comes first.