Nice public relations save, Brad Wardell.
In the past, you've been able to bolster your sales by appealing to disgrunted gamers. You have done so by "taking their side" and criticizing DRM--this in turn makes them supportive of you and thus more likely to buy your games. I should know, that was a significant factor behind my purchase of SoaSE: Collector's Edition.
Recently though, you performed a complete 180 on us--disregarding several months of precedent and your incomplete/invalid SoaSE EULA, you suddenly decided to stop distributing stand-alone patches and force all of your customers (the ones that want updates--as a note, your customers have already paid for the updates with the full expectation of being able to receive them without any strings or programs attached) on your online store/DRM program, Impulse. This is an obvious case of customer "lock-in", which I've talked about before.
And now, you criticize merely copy protection--no longer DRM. As before, nice save. Still, that is a superficial public relations gesture, at best. To illustrate this, consider your latest tightrope act--putting DRM on the CD's are bad, but it's perfectly fine to use DRM via Impulse, which you're trying to link everything to. That's a pretty hard tightrope to walk--ultimately, you must accept that information is freely distributable on the Internet (both the disk and patches) and that you should make money on the quality of your games/actions as a developer, or that you should clamp down on all forms of media distribution, milk all the potential revenue possible, and baby-feed the customers that haven't deserted by now.
You see, people don't like copy protection because they like to really "have" what they bought. That's why people like to buy real cars, real houses, etc. People like real patches too. Anything else is just a scheme that keeps people hooked on your business model--there are many articles discussing the direct correlation between increased customer lock-in, increased profit, and increased customer maltreatment.
(somebody may bring up that many people rent apartments--that is an issue related to finance, not preference)
The fact that you still try to pretend that you're on the customers' side in this whole DRM conflict (anti-DRM/whatever in word), but in reality you continue to implement more forms of DRM through your software (pro-DRM/whatever in deed) indicates two things--your hypocrisy and your customer baiting.
Reminding you that you can still do the right thing,
p.s. Regarding the whole x-box argument, read it for what it is--propaganda, just like Brad's exploitation of customer anger against copy-protection. There are plenty of PC games that are "finished" when they are released without the need for a customer leash. For instance, Blizzard games, World in Conflict, Dawn of War, etc. In fact, piracy is actually helpful to customers--it lets them try out the full game (often minus multiplayer), see which ones are good, and if they like the game enough (especially if they want to play multiplayer), they'll happily buy the game. No tricks; both the company and the customer are happy.
Here's a good article on customer "lock-in", specifically regarding software industries. Article on Customer Lock-in, by Bruce Schneier