Bethesda has confirmed that the PC version of id Software's upcoming shooter, Rage, will use Steamworks as its platform. The announcement was made via Twitter earlier today.
"Since folks are asking," the Tweet said, "We can confirm that Rage will use Steamworks on PC."
Launched in early January 2008, Steamworks is a development and publishing platform for PC games that gives devs access to all components of the Steam client, including digital rights management, authenication tools for peer-to-peer and server multiplayer games, voice communication, achievements, and more. Being Steamworks specific also means the PC version of Rage can be purchased from any distributor and added to a Steam account.
As the platform has evolved, it has been made more robust with the addition of elements such as Steam Cloud support, which allows game saves to be stored in the cloud and accessed on any computer with proper account credentials.
In August 2010, a placeholder page for Rage appeared on the Steam store, leading some to believe that the game would use Valve's Steamworks platform. Bethesda quickly shot the rumor down, saying the game's appearance was in indicative of any decision regarding platform. Rumblings began going in the other direction when the official Rage website was updated to include the Games for Windows logo, pointing at the possibility of Games for Windows Live, a competitor to Steamworks, would be the platform of choice for id Software.
Comments on the announcement within the Shacknews community have been positive, but the decision to launch Rage as a Steamworks game brings to mind what could have happened if history was slightly different.
In July 2008, id Software announced it had entered into a publishing agreement with EA to release Rage via its EA Partners program. During the summer of 2009, id Software was purchased by ZeniMax Media, the holding company that controls Bethesda Softworks, taking Rage with it. With recent changes to how games are patched and how new content is made available on Steam, EA has since opted to focus on offering its upcoming titles on its own digital platform, Origin.
Had ZeniMax not purchased id Software, things may have been different today.