Valve's digital content distribution service Steam will no longer be used exclusively for the company's own titles, as the first two releases from third party developers are announced.
Rag Doll Kung Fu, a pet project by Lionhead artist Mark Healey will be available through Steam from October 12th. The game features innovations in physics and character control, and will be available exclusively through the Steam service for just USD 12.95 (EURO 10).
Commenting on the announcement, Healey stated: "Rag Doll was originally just an idea for me and some friends to have some fun making an old style Kung Fu movie. It's amazing to think that a tongue in cheek film project has now evolved into a full game being distributed via Steam."
The second title to utilise the Steam service for distribution will be Flying Lab Software's forthcoming MMO, Pirates of the Burning Seas. The company signed up to Valve's service in 2004, and will also be using the system to handle purchasing, subscriptions, logins, progressive content downloads, and upgrades, as well as facilitating the game's beta test.
According to Valve, the Steam service "offers developers and publishers a direct distribution channel to over 5.5 million customers." The company plans to make much broader use of the service, with the announcement that Ritual Entertainment's SiN Episodes will be distributed in serial form from winter 2005 forming just a small part of the future plans for Steam.
As well as the recent distribution deal with Electronic Arts, Valve intends to continue digital distribution of its own products, including Half Life adaptations and Mods created using the company's own Source engine.