I'm glad you asked. Steam is suddenly good because:
0. While their original user management was horrible (and I mean "I lost access to games I'd paid for," horrible), they actually took the criticism to heart and have made their system easy and relatively painless to use. In a world full of terrible user management, it's refreshing to see it done right.
1. They've moved from being "that DRM that your game comes with" to being "that company that stops publishers from doing something stupid about DRM"
2. They actively push publishers to make their games multi-platform for a single purchase (some publishers don't play ball, of course)
3. They actively push publishers to support Linux.
4. Games purchased with a Steam key continue to work with future systems purchases (future OSes is a separate problem that involves Publishers, of course)
5. The ability (but not requirement) to let friends know when and what you're playing, automatically.
6. Steam gives publishers a common platform for sharing saved games across systems.
7. Steam works equally as a stand-alone client for managing your game library and as a Web-based app, so you can access your games list, buy additional DLC or even trigger an install on another machine from any modern Web browser!
Basically, what it comes down to is this: DRM, in general, kind of sucks, but hackish, one-off DRM implemented by companies that don't know what they're doing is orders of magnitude worse, and Steam gives you a great deal of power and control in return for requiring you to sign up for an account and admit to installing a game. If you can cope with that much, Steam is a huge win.
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