This week, Valve's Steam Cloud will become the latest addition to the company's ever-growing list of features comprising its Steam digitial distribution service.
First announced in May
, the Steam Cloud stores save games and configuration options for supported games on Valve's own servers rather than on users' hard drives, allowing those files to be accessed from any PC.
Steam already allows users to install games any number of times on any PC by signing into the service, but user-specific game data is not saved.
The release corresponds with the Left 4 Dead
demo launching this week, and Valve will also equip its own back catalogue with Steam Cloud support.
Any developer whose game is distributed via Steam has the option of using Steam Cloud, although major third-party publishers have traditionally shied away from implementing Steam features other than digital distribution itself. Last week, however, Sega announced that The Creative Assembly's upcoming Empire: Total War
will take advantage of the feature set.
Said Valve president Gabe Newell, "Steam Cloud is a natural extension of the portability Steam affords gamers and developers, and we intend to expand its feature set as it is used in Left 4 Dead
and other games coming to Steam."