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The Steam logo.

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses. Steam also has community features, automated game updates, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

The original Dawn of War series – Dawn of War, Dawn of War: Winter Assault, Dawn of War: Dark Crusade and Dawn of War: Soulstorm – is available for purchase on Steam, but Dawn of War II was the first to actually require a Steam account to play the game; even boxed retail copies must be activated on Steam. This system received some critique due to Dawn of War II also requiring a separate Games for Windows – Live (GFWL) account to participate in multiplayer or gather achievements.

When Relic was developing Dawn of War II: Retribution, they decided to switch the whole online service – multiplayer matchmaking and statistics – from GFWL (used by Dawn of War II and Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising) to Steam. This change received much enthusiasm from the player base in advance and proved to improve multiplayer matchmaking and the patching process significantly.

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