To answer Brad's original question, here's my two cents.
I am a huge fan of digital distribution systems, as long as they stick to game distribution (download, install, archive) and can be shut off when not performing their function. Impulse got this as close to perfect as I can imagine, to the point where I *do* leave it running because once in a while it pops up an ad that I might be interested in -- but I don't need it running to play anything.
Steam as a digital distribution system is also fine, right up until the point where I can't turn it off and still be able to play. Some of this is the steam client itself (bugged offline mode?) and some of this is developers deciding to use Steamworks protection and make my gameplay experience worse than if I had just pirated the damn software.
So, I vote with my wallet. If I want to buy a game, I do a bit of research and try to answer the following question:
Does the game's DRM require 3rd party software running or a working internet connection to play?
if yes, pass up the game. I don't like that DRM model and I won't support developers/publishers who use it. I don't like the idea of multiple 3rd party DRM clients running on my system all the time. I don't like what I hear about "offline mode". I don't want the hassle. Period.
if no, my preferred digital shopping order is:
1. gog.com. Gamer nirvana! The selection is small but high quality, prices that make my wallet fly open of its own accord, and I get a copy of the install image for All Eternity.
2. Impulse/gamestop. Very close second, fantastic shopping experience and smooth as silk distribution. Stays out of the way, but has all the functions I would expect (what's my key, auto-update is off BY DEFAULT *cough*stupidsteam*cough*, on-disk size). For Really Big Downloads I can always choose to archive so I don't have to re-download again later.
3. Steam. Good shopping experience, less control over install (does anyone know how to install a game to "X:\mygame" instead of Steam\blah\blah\blah?), a little more confusing to use for me than Impulse, no archiving function. Can I run the .exe directly without steam running? If not, forget it. "Offline mode" still seems problematic for a lot of people. I don't want to be one of those people.
So, despite being a pretty big Elder scrolls fan I have passed on Skyrim. Despite owning and loving ME1 and ME2 I have passed on ME3. I loved Diablo 1 and 2 but will not be purchasing Diablo 3.
As much as I'm hoping FE will be the spiritual successor to MOM - or failing that be a damn fun game in its own right - if it requires 3rd party software running or an internet connection to play single player, I'll pass on that too. And yes, I own EWOM. Haven't played much, but that was before Derek was brought on board.. this thread makes me want to dig it out and give it a fresh look.
Ok, that was more like a nickel.