Valve has announced the release of the Steamworks software development kit - a suite of publishing and development tools offering access to the game features and services available through Steam.
These features and services include product key authentication, copy protection, auto-updating, social networking, matchmaking and anti-cheat technology.
"In working with developers on the pre-release SDK, our focus has been on making it as easy as possible for them to integrate Steamworks into their games," said Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve.
"They get access to these tools and services in a proven, scalable, and simple to work with package that has already been deployed to millions of gamers worldwide."
Valve said that they are offering the features and services available in Steamworks free of charge, to be used for both electronic and boxed versions of games.
Steam, of course, is Valve's digital distribution platform. More than 15 million people have active accounts at present and there are over 300 games to choose from.