The Steam Review

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Matchmaking (doesn’t) arrive with RACE

Steam's services (don't) expand :: November 13th, 2006 :: New products, Steam updates :: 18 Responses


In our first release regarding RACE on Steam we mentioned the “retail copies of RACE sold for the PC in the EMEA territories will include Steam functionality for auto-updating, matchmaking, and anti-piracy encryption.” That sentence should have read, “retail copies of RACE sold for the PC in the EMEA territories will include Steam functionality for auto-updating, installation and anti-piracy.”

Original post follows:

RACE screenshot
RACE has been developed with Steam in mind.

With the rush of back-catalogue titles appearing on Steam lately, it’s been easy to forget just how cool it is when a third-party game uses the platform for something other than distribution. SimBin‘s upcoming RACE is the first title in a long time to really use Steam–in fact so keen are the developers that, for the first time since Half-Life 2, they are releasing a retail-led game with Steam as a requirement for boxed copies.

But the best is yet to come:

SimBin and Valve today announced an agreement to deliver RACE – The Official WTCC Game to consumers around the world via Steam. In addition, all retail copies of RACE sold for the PC in the EMEA territories will include Steam functionality for auto-updating, matchmaking, and anti-piracy encryption.

“Delivering RACE via Steam means over 10 million gamers will have the chance to purchase the world’s first ever World Touring Car Championship game directly from their PC,” said Henrik Roos, CEO of SimBin. “Powering the retail version RACE with Steam means every player will have all the latest content available for the game and be able to enjoy the industry’s most advanced set [of] multiplayer services.”

In case you missed it, RACE will be making use of a previously-unannounced matchmaking function built into Steam. Matchmaking! I won’t lie to you: I’m already excited to see how the system functions, not to mention how it ties in with the desktop server browser and its prospects with other games. The lack of explicit mention of VAC either in the press release or on the game’s Store page is slightly concerning, but there is still time for clarification.

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from the quote above, the Steam-integrated version of the game will only be available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This does appear to be a slight spin on the fact that SimBin only appear to have negotiated any retail distribution at all for Europe, by way of Eidos, but it could still be that other parts of the world simply won’t get the Steam edition in stores. Indeed the demo, released last month, doesn’t appear to require Steam at all.

The press release is also vague on the matter of price. SimBin are independent developers, so there is potential for an online-first price structure. But as we heard from Scott Miller recently, it is increasingly retailers behind Steam’s $50 games. Perhaps another reason for the game’s limited boxed release?

18 Responses to this post:


  1. Ed Says:

    Totally off topic, but why don’t Valve offer “gift cards” and/or a way to buy a game for another account… Apple do it with iTunes and its very popular for them…

  2. Tom Edwards Says:

    They’ve wanted to ever since the early days, but for whatever reason(s) it’s never happened. Retailer pressure again, perhaps? Had the music industry not nearly collapsed, I’d expect Apple to be seeing some stiff resistance from CD shippers too.

  3. Ortzinator Says:

    Sounds awesome.

  4. SteveUK Says:

    Why does a racing game need VAC? It’s not like FPS games where you can speedhack is it?

  5. Dwarden Says:

    …for the first time since Half-Life 2,… would be nice to mention ROO retail got such req since it’s retail 🙂 or this “first” mean retail at same time as online distribution 🙂

  6. ATimson Says:

    Not just Red Orchestra, but also Sin Episodes, and Valve’s other Source engine games. More, Steam is a requirement for multiplayer with boxed copies of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

    Still nice to see, though. 🙂

    As for VAC—not knowing how VAC is structured, it’s possible that it isn’t possible without being based on the Half-Life or Source engines. Obviously, Valve doesn’t want the public to be able to know enough about how VAC works to find out if that’s true or not.

  7. Tom Edwards Says:

    I didn’t count RO because it was a) online-only and b) only achieved retail release after its success on Steam. Good call for SiN though.

    VAC works for Red Orchestra, so it can presumably be applied to any tech. It probably doesn’t matter all that much what the binaries it’s protecting are like, if you think about it.

  8. Film11 Says:

    I’m very interested as to how they mixed up their words so badly. Oh well, perhaps another day, another game!

  9. Dwarden Says:

    ATImson ha i keep forgetin SIN Episodes never appeled me 🙂 thx for kick me to right direction 🙂

  10. hahnchen Says:

    I’m not surprised at the lack of matchmaking. I just interpreted the original statement as saying the game had a server browser. Just as DEFCON had “matchmaking”.

    Matchmaking needs player profiles, something that Sin Episodes already does, but it just lacks the multiplayer component. Either they’re going to get there first, or Valve will do something themselves.

  11. Ortzinator Says:

    What makes anyone assume VAC was designed specifically for Source?

  12. Tom Edwards Says:

    Now this is interesting. It’s just like back when Steam was first introduced to FPS gamers: a handful of posters spamming the same complaints everywhere, some stupid and some reasonable, and a subset of worriers discussing their nutty misconceptions (in this case: GCF = encrypted = game not moddable) without ever actually trying to resolve them.

  13. wizpig64 Says:

    Your bought and paid for copy of RACE! is non refundable.

    Just like any other PC game bought at a store.

    It is impossible to run RACE or any other STEAM installed game with running STEAM first.

    O RLY? It’s called Digital Rights Management, quit bitching!

    If you wish to play without connecting to the internet or lack internet connectivity then STEAM uses what’s known as an “Off-line Mode.”

    I really don’t see why someone would buy (and download) a game over the internet if they didn’t have a persistent internet connection. Time to ditch the dial-up kids.

    These are the same worries everyone has with every Steam game. It’s really no big deal. Maybe when Free-weekending multiplayer games catches on, this will be less of a problem (I hope).


  14. Kapitein Iglo Says:

    Holy Moly:
    Prey will be available Thursday, November 30 on Steam for $49.95. Previous purchasers of the retail or downloaded editions of Prey can activate a copy on Steam at no cost by using their existing product key.

  15. wizpig64 Says:

    you mean triton users too? awesome!

  16. hahnchen Says:

    Now this is interesting – I know that the guy flaming on the 3D Realms forum “pcgamer23708” is the same retard who was shot down at the Ritualistic forums when Sin Eps came out.

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