Following the release of Steamworks recently, Valve's marketing director Doug Lombardi, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, has explained the reasoning behind offering the tools to developers for free - and that's in order to drive more users to the Steam platform.
"What's in it for us?" he said. "That's the big question that everybody's asking, it seems awfully altruisticâ¦but there is no secret plan.
"If you're using Steamworks only in your retail product and you don't even distribute on Steam - people want to use the copy-protection stuff - the customer needs to sign up with Steam to unlock it.
"And then once they're in the game you can take over and all the skinning of the server browser and all that can be specific to your game, but that customer has made a Steam account - so somewhere down the line we can sell them the id Super Pack, or Portal 5, or whatever it is that comes down the line.
"That's what's in it for us - getting more people on Steam who can check it out, and broadening that group of players."
Lombardi also revealed that being able to support independent developers via the Steam platform was one of his personal pleasures - Introversion's Darwinia was one title that benefited from such exposure.
"Don't get me wrong - I love the sales that we got off Call of Duty, but there's nothing altruistic about it - it's pure business, baby, and God bless the guys from Infinity Ward, they made a fantastic game," he said.
"But being able to help those guys from the UK bust out on to a worldwide stage, win all these awards - from a personal sense that's much more rewarding."
The full interview with Doug Lombardi is available on GamesIndustry.biz now.