Valve has used the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to announce that their digital distribution platform Steamworks will soon be equipped with a new anti-piracy mechanic.

The new Custom Executable Generation (CEG) is touted as a customer-friendly approach to anti-piracy. CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.

The new features also include support for in-game DLC and matchmaking. The in-game DLC support allows developers to deliver new content as they choose (paid or free) from inside the game itself, allowing users to make immediate purchases and experience the new content in the same game session. The Steamworks matchmaking now includes the lobby system shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.

Valve is no doubt hoping to capitalise on the spike in membership seen with the introduction of Steamworks in early 2008 - the Steamworks services are thought to be responsible for at least five million new accounts joining the Steam service, bringing the worldwide total to twenty million.