Two giants of the PC and indie scene have joined forces in a move that will give Unreal Engine 3 users access to the Steamworks suite of services.
And in a joint statement, Epic Games and Valve both announced that Unreal Engine 3 users will be able to use Steamworks tools completely free of charge for both digital download and boxed versions of their games.
Steamworks is Valve’s suite of tools that allows developers to make their projects accessible for distribution via the world-leading PC portal Steam. The tools allow studios to build a number of Steam-specific features, from auto-updating, to social networking, to matchmaking, anti-cheat technology, key authentication and copy protection.
The technology has always been offered at no cost to developers, but the free integration into UE3 increases the chance that the tech will be adopted by more Unreal users.
The move is seen as a quid pro quo for both parties – Valve will be offering UE3 developers further incentives to release games on Steam, and Epic will add another useful tool to its highly popular engine.
The addition will also continue to distinguish UE3 from its free alternative, Unreal Development Kit, which will not be featuring the Steamworks integration.
Valve co-founder was delighted to announce the deal.
"It's an honor to have Steamworks included in the technology offered to all Unreal Engine 3 licensees,” he said.
“It's hard to think of a larger, better targeted group of developers who could derive more benefit from the Steamworks services."
Epic president Mark Rein said the deal was, ultimately, a no-brainer.
"Valve has created a world-wide phenomenon with Steam and we're excited to be able to have the Steamworks suite of services available to Unreal Engine 3 licensees so they can take full advantage of all that.”