In a bold move to further establish Steam as the de facto PC gaming service, Valve has unveiled SteamWorks, a "complete suite of publishing tools" they're releasing to the PC development community at large for free ... as in no money. What exactly comprises said suite?Valve shares SteamWorks toolset with PC development world
Real-time stats on everything from sales (seeya NPD!) to gameplay (charts are fun); encryption tied to product activation (piracy-b-gone); territory control "to help curb gray market"; auto updating to keep your games up-to-date; voice chat for the eloquent discussion of gameplay elements while playing online; matchmaking support, ala Counter-Strike and TF2; "social networking services" like achievements, avatars, etc.; and fancy development tools for things like QA and play testing.
Sure sounds like a lot, right? Devs can pick and choose at will, without giving the fine folks at Valve dollar one so, instead of reinventing the wheel, they can get down to the busy work of making fun games.
Valve Unveils Steamworks