Creator of Half-Life and Counter-Strike Valve has unveiled Steamworks, a brand new update for its Steam digital distribution platform which is free to developers and publishers.
Functions of Steamworks include real-time stats and sales data which promises to tell publishers and developers "how well your title is selling before the charts are released".
Steamworks also includes voice chat, multiplayer matchmaking services used in the likes of Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, and social networking services.
Development tools built into Steamworks allows developers to run private betas and collects data for QA, playtesting and usability research.
Other elements include piracy-preventing encryption, territory and version controls to curb grey importing, and automatic patch updates.
The suite of tools is available for all PC games distributed "via retail and leading online platforms such as [Valve’s own] Steam".
"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," commented 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."
Valve says Steam is the leading digital distribution platform for PC games, with 13 million active accounts and over 250 games available and demos and movie files available as well.
Jason Holtman, director business development at Valve, commented: "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.
"Offering Steamworks is part of our ongoing efforts to support the needs of game developers and our publishing partners."