Valve Software's online distribution service, Steam, has received a number of updates and enhancements today, including the addition of more third party software available for purchase.
According to Valve, the updates are "part of a larger set of features (collectively known as Steam 3) which will be introduced over the course of the coming months. Today's release allows Steam to offer a larger and more varied collection of games to our customers, and introduces a-la-carte purchases."
The latest update, which appears to be the first of many, includes a redesigned, less cluttered interface, and the inclusion of additional third party titles such as Lionhead artist Mark Healey's Rag Doll Kung Fu. A separate shop function for third party titles has also been introduced.
The company recently announced its intention to develop the Steam service for third party software, in addition to its own titles such as Half Life, and the numerous Source engine titles. Flying Labs' MMOG Pirates of The Burning Sea will be distributed exclusively through Steam, as well as Ritual's Source engine episodic gaming series, SiN.
Valve is also releasing the Half Life 2 expansion pack, Lost Coast, in the next few weeks. As part of the ongoing updates and enhancements to the Steam service, the company has temporarily suspended the Friends functionality, and will be releasing a more comprehensive and user friendly system shortly.