[Jan 29, 2008, 2:22 pm ET] - Share - Viewing Comments
Valve announces the release of Steamworks free of charge, offering developers
and publishers the game publishing tools used for Half-Life 2 and The Orange
Box. Steamworks allows for copy protection, stats tracking, auto-updates, voice
communication, and more:
January 29, 2008 - Valve, creators of
best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading
technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announce Steamworks, a complete
suite of publishing and development tools - ranging from copy protection to
social networking services to server browsing - is now available free of charge
to developers and publishers worldwide.
Steamworks, the same suite of tools used in best-selling PC titles Half-Life
2 and The Orange Box, is available for all PC games distributed via retail and
leading online platforms such as Steam. The services included in Steamworks may
be used a la carte or in any combination.
Specifically, Steamworks offers:
· Real-time stats on sales, gameplay, and product activation:
Know exactly how well your title is selling before the charts are released. Find
out how much of your game is being played. Login into your Steamworks account
pages and view up to the hour information regarding worldwide product
activations and player data.
· State of the art encryption system: Stop paying to have
your game pirated before it's released. Steamworks takes anti-piracy to a new
level with strong encryption that keeps your game locked until the moment it is
· Territory/version control: The key-based authentication
provided in Steamworks also provides territory/version controls to help curb
gray market importing and deliver territory-specific content to any given
country or region.
· Auto updating: Insures all customers are playing the latest
and greatest version of your games.
· Voice chat: Available for use both in and out of game.
· Multiplayer matchmaking: Steamworks offers you all the
multiplayer backend and matchmaking services that have been created to support
Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, the most played action games in the world.
· Social networking services: With support for achievements,
leaderboards, and avatars, Steamworks allows you to give your gamers as many
rewards as you would like, plus support for tracking the world's best
professional and amateur players of your game.
· Development tools: Steamworks allows you to administer
private betas which can be updated multiple times each day. Also includes data
collection tools for QA, play testing, and usability studies.
"Developers and publishers are spending more and more time
and money cobbling together all the tools and backend systems needed to build
and launch a successful title in today's market," said Gabe Newell, president of
Valve. "Steamworks puts all those tools and systems together in one free
package, liberating publishers and developers to concentrate on the game instead
of the plumbing."
"As more developers and publishers have embraced Steam as a
leading digital distribution channel, we've heard a growing number of inquiries
regarding the availability of the platform's services and tools," said Jason
Holtman, director business development at Valve. "Offering Steamworks is part of
our ongoing efforts to support the needs of game developers and our publishing
Steam is a leading platform for the delivery and management
of PC games and digital content. With over 13 million active accounts and more
than 250 games, plus hundreds of movie files and game demos available, Steam has
become a frequent destination for millions of gamers around the world.
For more information regarding Steamworks, please visit
To find out about more about Steamworks contact
Enter the details of the comment
you'd like to post in the boxes below and click the button at
the bottom of the form.
||Jan 29, 2008, 14:14
so, it's basically a way for devs to put their game on steam? or am i reading it wrong?
From my interpretation, I would say it's not just a way to put your game on Steam (though I'm sure it makes it very easy to do that, if you want to) but rather it exposes some of the other functionality that you see in the Orange Box but not in non-Valve offerings.
Essentially, this means that instead of opting to implement all of these features on their own, developers can instead pay Valve to use their implementation. In general, I think this is a good thing, as the Valve implementations aren't bad, and some of them (like the stats tracking info we've seen released about the Orange Box games) seem quite polished. Paying Valve for these features will free game developers to work on other things, and will also make gamers happy as it'll reduce the odds that we'll be stuck with, for example, a crappy in-game server browser or some half-assed community features (oddly, I think of Relic Online when I say this, possibly as the result of too much CoH play).
In reference to the forced authentication issue, I would imagine that the game developer has some control over how much of Valve's authentication they use. I could easily see it being a simple turn-key solution for generating/validating CD keys that doesn't require constant online presence. That might not be true, of course, but given the press release's mention of "distributed via retail or online platforms" I'd say they're pretty much forced to offer at least some flexibility there.
Also note that they stated that the features can be purchased a la carte, so it's not a given that every game which pays for the service will have possibly undesirable features like auto-updating.