Open The Floodgates: Steam To Sell Non-Gaming Software

By Nathan Grayson on August 8th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

I think there’s an old adage that goes something like “You can’t spell ‘Valve’ without ‘Impending domination of all aspects of human society.’” To be honest, I never really understood it before today (I can be a bit thick sometimes, you know), but it’s starting to make some semblance of sense. After a sterling few months in which Linux support, Steam Greenlight, Source Filmmaker, Teaching With Portals, and Valve’s very own economist all debuted, the all-consuming PC behemoth is now embarking on a journey into the mysterious realm of non-gaming software.

The first titles will begin trickling in on September 5. Here’s the official word, written in the English language – which Valve will probably soon own, because why not:

“The Software titles coming to Steam range from creativity to productivity. Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you.”

“More Software titles will be added in an ongoing fashion following the September 5th launch, and developers will be welcome to submit Software titles via Steam Greenlight.”

For now, Valve’s staying mum on specific pieces of software, but I’ve sent out an email asking for more details. If anything new comes up, you’ll be the first to know, RPS readers – but only because you’ve been so good today. And forever.

And much as Steam’s continued expansion without a single credible competitor (especially now that it’s attempting to take class-actions off the table) gives me a slight case of the economic willies, I have to say this sounds completely brilliant. It puts everything in one place, and Steam’s convenience features are icing on an already tantalizing cake.

It’s also interesting in the wake of Gabe Newell’s declaration that Windows 8 will be a “catastrophe,” seeing as much of its closed nature stems from a proprietary App Store. Steam’s non-gaming software, meanwhile, could essentially function as a slightly more open variation on that theme – although it remains to be seen exactly how it’ll all work. Steam’s not entirely open either, admittedly, but this is still a step in the right direction, I think.

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235 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    So everyone’s hoping for 75% off Photoshop in the Summer Sale then?

    But hell, why not. Steam makes PC gaming convenient; if they can manage that, all power to them.

    (for a given value of convenient)

    • Premium User Badge

      James G says:

      I realise you were joking but we might see those kinds of reductions for strictly consumer software (PSE maybe). However I suspect the professional stuff will keep its prices.

      • hap says:

        Wasn’t there an interview a few months back where Gabe said he wanted Adobe to give Photoshop away for free and take a cut of the profits from the artwork created, ala TF2 hats?

        I seem to remember something about that.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Please no. No. No. No. No. NOOOOOOO!

          Just try and be happy with every other person in the world wanting part of your wages. I’d not want toolmakers to also take royalties for every use of their tool. :-/

    • Premium User Badge

      Tinus says:

      A strategy Adobe should definitely experiment with.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Perhaps. But at least now we know why steam guys are SOOOOOoooooo very much against Windows 8 with it’s own software market – now it’s their direct competition.

        • apa says:

          This.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          You can’t “compete” with the store that all of your customers immediately have access to as soon as they press the Power button on their PC.

          • BG-0 says:

            Yes you can. Not everyone has to use Win8. Not everyone has to use Steam. For me, Steam will be the thing running the instant I power up my computer, along with Windows 7. At least until Win8 is made sensible, if never, that’s okay. I will wait for the next Win OS or just go main Linux and use 7 for some things if the next one’s 8-style and 7 support is ceased to make 8 sell more.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      low low prices for software I will instantly buy…and then not only never install in the first place, but won’t even be able to understand how to use if I ever do try.

      • Tacroy says:

        Sounds like what happened when I bought X3

        • iniudan says:

          I admit the learning curve for X series is pretty harsh before you know wtf you are doing beyond flying around and dog fighting, but well worth it once you went through it, been one of the few space simulator left.

        • Reapy says:

          I loled because that is exactly what happened to me too. Will prob happen with the next one too ;)

        • Lemming says:

          Ha! Same here, mate. Never touched it since!

        • Koozer says:

          I am throwing my space hat in with these other fine gentlemen.

        • kael13 says:

          Taking up residence here. I found it less intuitive than EVE Online.

    • d3vilsadvocate says:

      I’d rather buy movies on steam. The only place I can get digital movies in Switzerland is on piratebay and the sucky ITunes Store.

      But I guess the movie industry is too retarded for such a move. Too sad, really.

      • Spengbab says:

        Actually, a digital distribution platform for movies would be one of the best things ever. Well, after digital distribution platforms for games of course. And I’m not talking about that US Netflix/Hulu garbage.

        Then again, Joe McAverage Guy still has no idea how computers work, let alone downloading movies and transferring them to a device capable of playback.

        Oh how I dream of a package I can install on my Synology NAS that lets me legally track and download movies. It could even have a library function, kind of like a media library. But for the old men in the movie industry this is too foreign a concept. Shit makes me mad, yo.

        • ChainsawCharlie says:

          @Spengbab What’s wrong with Netflix?

          • orb says:

            What’s wrong with Netflix? How about the fact it’s only available in a handful of countries where English is the primary language? There are about 200 countries in Europe without it still.

      • Dzamir says:

        iTunes sells movie in Switzerland

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      I’ve never understood why Adobe doesn’t want to bother with a more affordable and powerful personal edition. I would buy the latest Photoshop in a heartbeat if it cost $50 with a “for personal/non-commercial use only” stipulation.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Adobe already does that with Photoshop Elements. It’s $80 USD, and it covers everything most non-pro users would ever actually use in the full-size editions.

        I can’t see Adobe selling even that version through Steam, or their other entry-level versions like Premiere Elements. They have their own activation/update system, and they want to get their hooks in you directly, for selling upgrades.

        • Sir-Lucius says:

          Not to mention Adobe now has the Creative Cloud plans for the whole CS suite, so even if your average user does come across something they can’t do in the Elements they can get access to the Pro version for relatively cheap, at least when compared to the cost of the full version.

      • Premium User Badge

        liquidsoap89 says:

        It’s not just Adobe unfortunately. The whole entertainment industry (software wise) is like this. I know a license for 3D software can still cost you hundreds of dollars, even if it’s not going to be making stuff you sell.

    • lordcooper says:

      That’d result in me actually paying for my copy.

    • MrPo0py says:

      I’d take 75% of gaming related software like Fraps, for example. Or, if Valve were really super-duper awesome, they’d develop a Fraps like app that runs in Steam.

      • Adekan says:

        I would absolutely buy a Steam Integrated version of Fraps, that just runs with the in-game interface much like the screenshot utility.

        • trjp says:

          Fraps has been overpriced and underspecced for a while now – ideally Valve will throw-us a video recording tool inside Steam (I’m amazed they’ve not done this already tbh) and that’s the end of that! :)

          • MrPo0py says:

            Exactly the reason I’ve been holding off from buying Fraps all this time. Surely Valve will get round to including a video recording feature sooner or later. The screenshot utility is good but it’s getting a bit primitive looking in the age of Youtube.

        • MrPo0py says:

          Exactly what I was thinking. Shift+Tab in game and up pops the steam in-game interface. Configure your resolution settings and various other bits and bobs. Hit record and Shift+Tab back to your game. Seems like a freakin no-brainer to me.

        • JustJustin says:

          MSI Afterburner offers an excellent, free alternative to FRAPS.

    • Lemming says:

      Actually, I think copies of Adobe Flash Pro are more likely, because of the whole Adobe air thing and some of those games appearing on the Steam store.

  2. Daniel Klein says:

    Now they just need to start selling music and films and I’ll go 100% legit.

    • czc says:

      Yes, sell music and series and movies and let South Africa buy. We are restricted from buying from every major online digital store.

      • caddyB says:

        Same here in Turkey as well. It’s not my fault that iTunes doesn’t sell to me, and if you aren’t on Bandcamp, Cdbaby etc; there’s no way I can throw money at you.

        I just hope you get cuts from Last.fm.

    • SirKicksalot says:

      The EU really needs a movie streaming service. I don’t care who provides it, I’m ready to subscribe to it.

      • povu says:

        They first need to implement a volume slider on Steam for that.

      • Meusli says:

        You do not have Netflix in Europe?

        • Puckoidiot says:

          Only in the UK. There’s whispers of it coming to Norway and Sweden (where I live, so woo!) in the winter, but right now we’re struck out.

          • Lemming says:

            I wouldn’t be in such a rush though, it came to the UK too early if anything. They really should have more things on them by now, but they are way behind Lovefilm with content – even if their service is better.

      • Premium User Badge

        Carra says:

        This. Since steam started my illegal game downloads went down to zero. For movies & series however, there’s no alternative. Two seasons after the pilot of Game of Thrones, there’s still not even news that they will even show it on our TV.

        The only problem I can think of is those damn Frenchies and Germans who want their movies dubbed and the rest of Europe which want subtitles. That can’t be a serious problem however, seeing how it all gets dubbed & subbed eventually.

        • Zern says:

          As a german, I just wanted to remark that I hate those dubbed versions. The translation of Game of Thrones was really horrible for instance. They even translated the names, so ‘John Snow’ became ‘John Schnee’.

    • Caenorhabditis says:

      My music is splendidly covered with Spotify, but movies would be great, especially with a subscription possibility. Now that I come to think of it, Steam should totally have that as well!

      • Vorphalack says:

        I wouldn’t buy into Steam music either, but only because I still buy CDs over digital, and probably always will unless CDs die out. There’s something about owning a big pile of stuff with art books and lyrics that feels more satisfying than owning digital stuff.

        • Adekan says:

          Lugging 3 large cardboard boxes full of CDs, Cassettes and VHS tapes with me last time I moved convinced me to no longer buy physical copies of anything. Good riddance to physical media.

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorManiac says:

        Good God! A subscription based service on Steam, which included Games, Music, TV and Movies. I’d be in heaven.

        I know in the back of my mind its all only transitory (in that Steam will not last forever, or it may change hands and fail to uphold it quality), but the level of convenience would finally match that of the Pirates.

        Imagine that; paid-for service that is as good as pirating. No longer do law-abiding consumers have to feel like they’re getting a second rate service.

        Phew! Rant over…

    • RickyButler says:

      I was at Valve HQ back in May for one of them tour thingers they like to give, and on one wall was a lot of images of a new Steam…just lost the word, or, more accurately, acronym–god damn it, I’ll just say new Steam ‘layout’–of a new Steam layout showing music, movies and games side by side.

      I remember distinctly seeing Plants v. Zombies next to some movies I can’t recall, and another image with Michael Jackson’s album Bad at the forefront.

      SO IT IS COMING. MARK MY WORDS. *fist shake and cetera*

      • Caenorhabditis says:

        I think you were looking for GUI. But if that’s true, that would be great.

    • Linfosoma says:

      I came here to say the same thing basically.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    I think Valve is overreaching. Steam is a decent client for gamers, but I wouldn’t use it for all my software.

    As others have pointed out on other sites, they would need to let multiple users use the same account simultaneously and completely reorganize the library (although it needs that badly anyways).

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Steam in its current form is an absolute fucking mess — disorganized, glitch-prone, a distinct lack of useful features, very little customization. The whole client needs a serious overhaul before they should even consider branching into productivity software, apps, music and movies.

      As usual though, Gabe’s eyes are bigger than his mouth.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Why?

      For starters despite what people claim, Steam’s offline mode works fine. I log my kids computers in, get the game they want, then switch to offline, and it runs just fine.

      No reason that wouldn’t work with apps.

      Then there’s the more sinister side. Finally enforcing the “one purchase, one user” crap that’s been lusted after by many devs for so long. (Despite not needing to buy multiple copies of the same movie to watch it with friends… When you’re considering a plan more evil than the MPAA have ever done, maybe it’s time for a rethink…)

      • Kaira- says:

        For starters despite what people claim, Steam’s offline mode works fine

        Except of course when it doesn’t.

        • ShowMeTheMonkey says:

          I am a guy who has used Steam offline for one and a half months with no problems at all AMA!

          Seriously. It works fine. I’ve been using it as I haven’t had internet until yesterday.

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            “It works for me” != “it always works for everyone”

            Steam went down in Germany a few weeks ago. If you hadn’t switched to offline mode before that happened, you were shit out of luck. Fun.

            Steam’s offline mode is unreasonably fragile. If anything goes slightly wrong, it won’t let you start offline.

          • alundra says:

            Nope, I was one to defend Steam’s offline up to a while ago, then one day, as it day for a brief moment a few years when I was just starting using it, it refused to go offline, so it’s actually fun.

            You needed to login into steam before going offline, prolly it detected a required update or whatever, the problem was, I had no internet at the moment. I got left with this really funny message that said retry or go offline, whenever I selected offline the program would shut down.

            I guess that that moment offline meant offline for the program itself…ah the wonderful joy of having limited access to all but the few which don’t require Steam.

            TLDR version.

            Steam offline mode works, some times, and for some people.

          • mondomau says:

            No, it doesn’t. It works fine as long as it hasn’t recently decided it needs to update. If it does, you’re fucked. Even disconnecting/disabling the LAN port (which is the solution to most people’s issues with offline mode) won’t do shit. It’s still fucking insane to me that you cannot go offline without going online first, regardless of your reasons for doing so.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Steam’s offline mode works fine for me too, but it’s not an uncommon scenario where two members of the family are using two separate programs you bought that both require internet access at the same time. Say, a kid playing Puzzle Pirates and an adult playing Dota. This scenario would happen more frequently as more types of software got added to Steam, and it would be a pain in the ass/counter-productive for Valve to make every family member have their own account.

      • mwoody says:

        No, it really, really doesn’t. This gets brought up every time it’s mentioned, and you make the same mistake everyone does: you tested it while online.

        Take a computer that just purchased a brand new game, and has never been offline. Now pull the cable out of the back of the computer. Bam, no games. Steam requires you to be online to go offline, which helps not one little bit for unexpected downtime.

        • Reapy says:

          Got turbo fucked out of dow2 like this. Cable went down a few days, go to store and buy the cd, requires steam activation before I could play, fing ballistic.

          Anyway I’m only using steam when I have no choice or it’s a great sale price, I have 2 boys and as they get old enough to game I foresee a huge amount of problems with the one steam account thing. You can alternate but what if they want to have their own friends and profile, I sure as shit am not buying 3 copies of a game.

          For an app? I hate turning on the steam client, I don’t want to wait to turn an app on to fire up steam, I like them lightweight and fast to start. Not a good thing unless they change steam up in some way.

        • RDG says:

          Protip: Use your (smart)phone’s internet connection to put Steam in offline mode. Either through wired tethering or personal hotspot or whatever. Barely costs any data.

          • apocraphyn says:

            Not everyone has a smartphone, RDG. Moreover, this shouldn’t need to be the case. Steam’s Offline Mode is inherently flawed, no matter how adamantly their loyal fans may defend it.

          • mondomau says:

            That’s assuming your network allows data-tethering in the first place. Mine doesn’t, and they wanted £8.54 a month for the privilege. Plus, that didn’t even include any extra data – it still came out of my normal allowance.
            In the end, i managed to piggy-back some free wireless through my phone long enough for steam to update itself and then re-booted in offline. A lot of people won’t be that lucky.

            Also, Protip: Using ‘Protip’ then basing your advice on the assumption that everyone has something like a tethered smartphone makes you sound like a clueless, condescending jackass.

          • smokingkipper says:

            @ mondomau. Chill the hell out man. I thought his suggestion was great. Many (many) people can take advantage of data-tethering and he was right to bring it to the table.

            Cheers RDG!

      • varangian says:

        >Steam’s offline mode works fine. I log my kids computers in, get the game they want, then switch to offline, and it runs just fine.

        Which neatly sums up why Steam’s offline mode is actually pants and not at all fine. Offline mode shouldn’t just be something you need to set up by prior arrangement but something that works when you go offline unexpectedly. If your ISP bombs out or, as has happened several times that I can remember, Steam itself is down then you should still be able to play your single-player games. What actually happens, if I remember it correctly, is that Steam on your PC says it can’t connect and asks if you want to go offline. Then you click ‘Yes’ and Steam says it can’t connect (duh!) and exits. So dumb, it’s not rocket science to get this working properly. The EA/Origin steamalike gets this right, if you launch a game without a connection it tells you it can’t connect to the servers then fires up the game with the online elements grayed out.

        • Premium User Badge

          Llewyn says:

          It’s more complicated than that though – the behaviour that doesn’t work for you has consistently worked perfectly for me over the last 3 years. My ADSL connection was always flaky – to the extent that, as someone who works from home, I eventually had a second line installed and set up failover routing between the two – yet I’ve never experienced either the Steam client or a Steamworks game failing to launch because I had no connection, regardless of whether the client was already running.

          There are clearly issues with Steam’s offline mode but they’re not as fundamental as people like to make out. A solution will only come – assuming Valve even have the will to fix it – from Steam users identifying the factors that cause it to work for some people and not for others.

    • Chufty says:

      The man is right, Steam is a poor piece of software. People excuse it because it provides the vast majority of their entertainment, but it’s actually rubbish.

      If some other piece of software, perhaps a rival games distribution platform from some behemoth two-letter-acronymed publisher, were to insist that you install all 200+ of your games totalling goodness-knows-how-many terabytes of data to the SAME HARD DRIVE, there would be an outcry.

      Now you want all my other programs as well as all my games crammed into the one partition? No ta.

      • soldant says:

        Exactly. Steam’s interface is getting worse and worse; when it first came out the green but plain interface wasn’t pretty, but it was at least highly functional. Now they’re trying to get fancy and it looks like a mess. Plus it infuriates me that Steam dictates where everything gets installed. Origin allows me to install a game to a specific directly, why not Steam? I know there are third party solutions to do this (for some games, i.e. not Valve games) but it should be supported out of the box!

        • Premium User Badge

          Aninhumer says:

          Other things Valve should fix with Steam:
          Make all aspects of the interface multitasking, verifying game files should not lock up the entire interface.
          Let me add game codes in a browser. After seeing various bundles offering “click here to redeem” links for Desura, Steam’s system of adding one at a time and waiting 30s for each one seems ridiculously clunky.
          If a game is single player, don’t pause my downloads while I’m playing. It would be even better if it could detect when I’m using online features and only pause then, but that probably requires steamworks to work well.

      • InternetBatman says:

        The thing is, I don’t think it’s a poor piece of software. I think some parts of it need reworking, but it successfully fulfills a ton of functions all at once and makes my life easier. Offline mode and file system problems aside (never had a problem with either, but I’m just one person), it’s designed for gaming. It works best for gaming.

        Why would I want a Steam overlay for productivity software? Why would I want friends knowing how much time I spent using powerpoint or when I was using it? I have my own filesystem for content, and it all works perfectly on vlc.

        Even the interface works fine for gaming (although the browser is almost unforgivably slow), but do you really want to access everything through it? Or worse, use Steam for half your programs and another screen for the other half? This is why I don’t think this is a good fit for steam right now.

        These are the changes they need to make in my eyes to work as a system for all files:
        Gui (including saying if people are idle in the IM)
        Library – at the very least add tags and remember the way it was left, and add the ability to remove games from visible library (categories is fairly insufficient for this), you would also need separate libraries for different types of files, with separate organization systems
        Choose where you put programs
        Speed up the browser
        Unclutter the store
        Turn off the community stuff for some programs

  4. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    Up next: Steam OS.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That was one of my first thoughts too, but I really don’t think they have the staff to release and maintain a good OS that would work on multiple hardware builds. They could probably make a decent console though.

      • Fumarole says:

        Not only was that my first thought as well, it was what I was going to post verbatim.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        They could just recommend and officially support Ubuntu. Close enough.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Ubuntu has its own integrated store.

          • tuluse says:

            Not sure what your point is. Could easily have Steam and Ubuntu Store both on any system.

          • InternetBatman says:

            If this is a response to MS having an integrated store / seeking a more closed Windows environment, Ubuntu wouldn’t be much better, would it?

          • zino says:

            It would be better because Canonical (Ubuntu mothership) has competition in form of all other dists. The day Canonical goes anti-competitive on Valve they can switch distro with relative (compared to Window) ease.

      • Xocrates says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they made their own Linux distro though.

      • varangian says:

        If they based an OS around Linux they wouldn’t have to maintain much of it themselves, they’d be like, say, Red Hat, doing some development in the areas core to their business then integrating that with updates to the kernel and other bits of the OS that other people have developed. Such is the joy of the Open Source model. If they did go that route it would ginger up other people as well. So people like Nvidia and AMD (particularly the former if you remember the recent ‘Fuck you Nvidia’ from Linus) who have been slow getting drivers out would suddenly find it much more worthwhile to get behind LInux.

    • Mirqy says:

      nah, they’re competing with apple and, especially, google, not microsoft.

    • Vagrant says:

      More likely (not to discredit the real possibility of your idea, especially since they’re related):
      Steam TV Media Box.

  5. Shantara says:

    Cannot wait to see Steam achievements in productivity software.

  6. Desmolas says:

    Steam OS. Coming 2013.

    • OJSlaughter says:

      I would totally use that.

    • jonfitt says:

      After graphics drivers and a decent browser it’s the first thing I install on a new PC.

      • czc says:

        So it’s confirmed, steam antivirus will put a valve on infections.

    • MrKay says:

      Yeah, kinda what I’m thinking.
      Tbh, it bothers me slightly that Steam is doing what should actually be a build-in-feature of an OS. It’s so convenient and helpful in many ways, that it almost feels stupid to have an external application handle it.
      Anyways, I’m all for it. Will be interesting to see who they can get on board.

      • Caenorhabditis says:

        While you’re right, I’m glad to be shopping at Valve instead of Microsoft and Apple.

      • Mad Hamish says:

        If an OS did what Steam does. Hmmm….I’m pretty sure that’s what Gabe Newell was complaining about Windows 8 doing.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Indeed. It’s almost like he doesn’t want competition.

          • Snakejuice says:

            Ofcource he does not want to compete with Microsoft, who would? Microsoft will have a HUGE and UNFAIR advantage by having their store come included in the OS so the majority will use that instead of anything else no matter the quality of their service. Sad but true. :(

            Nothing strange about Mastercard being pissed over VISA wanting to put VISA-cc-chips in all newborn babies.

        • soldant says:

          Thank you for injecting a bit of rational thinking into the discussion. Valve creating an OS with Steam as a built in store is effectively doing what Microsoft are doing and what Valve don’t like them doing. Steam is a walled garden just like WinRT/”Metro” (or whatever they call it next) is, with the exception that Steam isn’t quite the same in terms of also being an interface etc. But the general complaint (MS including a store that they own and operate) would effectively be the same as Steam OS.

  7. Moraven says:

    So Steam went reverse circle and added on the Stardock Central part.

    Problem I could see is if you require Steam to run any of your software, that will be a game breaker. I am fine with games needing it.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    slightly more open variation on that theme

    In what way?

    This is absolutely terrible news. “App stores” are vendor control writ large. They are not your friend.

    • Brun says:

      They are bad news, but EVERYONE has already embarked on an unstoppable march in that direction. If App Stores are the future, I’d rather use the one in the hands of Valve than those of Apple or Microsoft.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The march is only unstoppable in that people keep going along with it.

        A future in which your choices are “Linux” or “someone’s walled garden” is a depressing one indeed.

        • Brun says:

          It’s unstoppable because the people who actually know better are too few to make any difference. The vast majority either welcome or are indifferent to this change.

          The walls of Valve’s garden are the lowest, and they have typically been the most benevolent of gatekeepers. Compared to Apple or MS, I’d take Valve in a heartbeat.

          • Archonsod says:

            Yeah. Microsoft started out as heroes by sticking it to IBM. Look how well that turned out.

          • Premium User Badge

            MajorManiac says:

            As with all popular services. Convenience is more important than freedom.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          Aha! I see what you’ve done there.
          Step 1: Decree that closed platforms are bad
          Step 2: Announce the soon-to-arrive LionsPhil App Store!

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Your trust in Valve is…touching.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Honestly I’d like to see posts deleted for using ellipses. It makes your comment sound like you think you’re so clever, but actually because you’re using a tired old meme that everyone uses you just look pretentious and…unimaginative. Top tip: read your posts out loud including grammar and punctuation, if you sound like an idiot then you’ll sound like one to your readers.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            You’re getting way too much meaning from a post that was meant to be entirely facetious.

            Seriously, instead of typing a meaningless anger-fueled response, I would have preferred you just block me and be done with it.

            …Asshole.

          • Khatzen says:

            Wait… you find this offensive?

            Yet a hate fueled post at someone who uses a form of grammar is fine?

          • CrookedLittleVein says:

            Rough day, was it?

          • Koozer says:

            A form of grammar is…a meme now?

    • tuluse says:

      You can use Steam on Windows, MacOS, and soon Linux.

      Try buying a game on iOS and trying to use it on Windows.

  9. MasterDex says:

    I can see it now.

    Achievement Unlocked – Shoop Da Woop: Used paint tool in Photoshop.

    Great idea on Valve’s part, kidding aside. In a few more years, we may see Valve be able to put out a survivable OS..probably.

  10. Moni says:

    I hope the first non-game software on Steam is Steam.

    Think about it, it makes sense. Think about it really, really hard.

  11. faillord_adam says:

    Maybe a Steam Phone, like the Kindle Fire has the Amazon App Store…

  12. Premium User Badge

    Morlock says:

    I really want offline mode to work reliably. As long as this is not a given, I don’t want Steam for any important software.

    • Haxavier says:

      Well, the reason why Offline Mode doesn’t work for a lot of people is because 1) they don’t save their account credentials on their computer and MORE IMPORTANTLY 2) steam offline mode will refuse to run if there are partially downloaded games. 2) is a step a lot of people tend to miss. Not saying that you may have missed that, but you have to keep the place completely tidy; I myself haven’t gotten offline to work on my PC for a very long time now, but it works great now that I keep the library as neat as possible.

      Though it appears that Steam takes no issue with offline partially-updated games on Windows XP. But on Vista/Win7, you gotta finish updating or delete them, otherwise Steam throws a hissy fit.

      • Palindrome says:

        It sometimes simply refuses to work at all, even if you follow their FAQ to the letter. For what ever reason it simply didn’t work for about 10 days a couple of months ago and then it spontaneously fixed itself. Offline mode is simply unreliable and that is far and away my biggest problem with steam.

      • tungstenHead says:

        Offline mode also will not work if your Internet is just being really shitty at the moment. Like it has upstream but no downstream or any circumstances that cause massive bandwidth constriction. Steam will get hung up at Connecting. You can’t even kill the program without going into the Task Manager because the Cancel button on the login screen is simply always greyed out! Unplugging your network cable and completely ending your Internet connection will allow it to realize that there’s no connection and that it should offer offline mode, but it’s something that Steam should be able to deal with on its own. After a minute of failing to connect it should get the idea that something is wrong and at least offer up the Cancel button.

        Steam is, sometimes, remarkably shoddy for how important it is for gamers and if Valve want it to be important for productivity software then their work is cut out for them.

      • Brun says:

        It was my understanding that part of the problem comes from using a router or a wireless connection. Apparently, if you use a router or wireless, Steam will interpret its connection to the router (or WAP) as the “whole connection,” so to speak. It will not check for internet access – it will see a valid ethernet or WiFi connection and treat your computer as “connected.”

        • NathanH says:

          Even if I unplug my cord and shut off my wireless, it doesn’t always help. If Steam has tried to start and failed to connect once, then there’s a decent chance that no matter what I try it continually goes wrong.

          They need to have some sort of “something has gone wrong, start in offline mode” thing that you can run instead of running the normal exe.

  13. Kaira- says:

    Jolly good, I’ve always wished that I can’t decide where to install my applications and keep them locked behind Steam’s systems.

    Wait, no, the opposite.

  14. nasenbluten says:

    Hmmm this is why Gabe doesn’t like Windows 8?

  15. MythArcana says:

    Ahhh, our Daily Gleam News. Can’t go one day without it.

  16. jikavak says:

    Gabe Newell hats.

  17. Paul says:

    I for one cannot wait for future where I get my groceries on steam.

    • DyingTickles says:

      *crosses fingers* Oooh, I hope it auto updates the contents of my fridge and pantry!

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorManiac says:

        But will we need a separate Fridge for each member of the house?

        • Khatzen says:

          Ofcourse, and if the Fridge fails to connect to the Steam service you have a possibility of starving to death.

          Or not, because Offline Mode sometimes works.

  18. SkittleDiddler says:

    Soon, perhaps very soon, Steam will become Too Big to Fail.

    Gabe & Co. need to concentrate on making Steam more technically reliable before I’ll trust them with anything other than video games.

    • gwathdring says:

      For a company with such unusual ethos and internal practices, it is depressing to see such typical over-ambition externally. I wonder how long they’ll manage to keep up with themselves.

  19. Tei says:

    I don’t like to mix games and not games. It made Impulse terrible. Its like a droplet of poison in bottle of wine. Do not want.

  20. gwathdring says:

    … well this sort of makes the anti-Windows 8 thing seem even less in good faith than it already did.

  21. Stevens63 says:

    So how long before Steam monopolizes the entire software industry?

  22. Hoaxfish says:

    Games are probably the area that really needs a big thing like Steam, since the other options are usually horrible DRM, or dying unnoticed.

    A lot of non-gaming software already has a number of big “self-publishing” direct download things. Adobe has all their products available online (without you having to sign in each time), Microsoft has its thing (and will clearly use Win8 Marketplace anyway). Apple has its app.mac store. Autodesk has its thing. Not to mention a whole swath of “trial” versions of software available.

    Basically, I think this “new market” has already catered to itself… so at best Steam will be there for “game” peripheral software (stuff like Gamemaker, maybe some low cost indie 3D software, etc)

  23. JoeGuy says:

    Wait will we have to add our Boss’ to our Steam friends list so she/he can see we really are working, maybe from home or not playing games on our sick day?

    Always thought it was inevitable to supply lots of different digital content on steam. A Hulu like service could easily be possible on a separate section for example.

  24. aliksy says:

    Thinking about it, since I don’t really buy any non gaming software, I don’t really care much.

    If they start selling music I like for cheap, that would be good. But all the productivity software I use is free and/or open source, so…

    • alundra says:

      Amazon already sells music, for cheap, 100%, problem is, US only, but it’s a huge precedent Valve can’t even touch.

      • aliksy says:

        $1 a track or $10 an album is not cheap in the same way that Steam’s video games are cheap. If amazon did 75% off sales I’d buy more albums from them.

        • Vinraith says:

          100 $5 MP3 albums updated every month, a couple of dozen $2.99 albums updated every week, and a random smattering of pop up sales at random times: Amazon’s sales are pretty solid from where I’m sitting.

  25. Brun says:

    Personally I think Valve would be better served by offering content like movies and music, rather than productivity/creativity software. Other gaming platforms (i.e. Xbox 360) are being used increasingly for media streaming, etc. and it would be better for Valve to try to match pace there. There’s certainly more room for that in the PC arena.

  26. FrankGrimesy says:

    I just don’t get it.

    It has a closed api against which you must (unknown, so expect the worst) bind.
    It is a closed eco system.
    Valve takes a cut from your sales.
    Valve decides who can join.

    Outside of trust issues with MS, what does this system have, that is less bad then the windows app store?

    Note, that there are enough good things, that can come from a good application store, but I really don’t see where a Valve store is any better then one from Microsoft

    • Brun says:

      Outside of trust issues with MS

      You’re vastly underestimating the importance of this point.

      • FrankGrimesy says:

        Just wait a couple of years, companies seem to get fat, lazy and evil.

        Once there was IBM, which ruled the market.
        The upshots from MS came and reclaimed the market for a younger more open generation. The dark ages of disruptive business practices followed suit.
        After a few years Apple raised the bar with competitive cool devices. Now they are suing vendors who build cheaper gadgets.

        You can write this for every large corporation, so why should you, in any way, give them the benefit of doubt?
        These are corporations which only work for one thing, and only one thing, profit.

        Of course on the other hand, competition drives the market.

        • HothMonster says:

          The thing that makes you inherently evil is when you become a publicly traded company. The people running the company are beholden to stockholders and have a fiduciary duty to make them money. Not squeezing every penny out of your customers leaves you liable because every year you have to be trying to increase profits, forever.

          As long as Valve stays private they can afford to be nice to their customers and still make a few hundred people ridiculously wealthy, and a few thousand comfortable while staying in the black. If they ever go public though I’ll be very afraid.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Arguably the main difference between Steam and the Win8 Marketplace is that Steam isn’t built straight into the OS with a number of moves to “nudge” users to buy from it (what MS does with Win9 will really determine if it is simply “another store” or “THE store”).

    • Fazer says:

      With Steam Greenlight in place, the people will decide who will join, not Valve.

      • Premium User Badge

        slerbal says:

        Does that not just mean they can add Greenlight as a reason/excuse *not* to have games/software? Speaking as someone who has dealt with Steam on the business level “opaque” and “arbitrary”. They are lovely people, but their business communication can be shockingly poor.

  27. dustin says:

    Twist: Half-Life 3 is an open-source, gaming-optimized distro of Linux.

    • iniudan says:

      That trouble with that distro is that sound setting will be stuck on permanent mute and the clock follow Valve time (which could be a good thing in certain way, but really bad for everything else =p).

  28. Premium User Badge

    Continuity says:

    All hail Valve!!!

  29. acturuszcj says:

    Valve Office Mods anyone?

  30. volcano_fl says:

    So Photoshop gets hats and DLCs now?

  31. VoEC says:

    I don’t really care for this, as I only use Open Source / Freeware Software and I guess this will be only for commercial stuff? Or maybe not.
    Either way I’m not interested in any of the Steamworks or Cloud features.

    I just hope that programs won’t get too prominent in Steam as I only want to use it as a gaming platform.
    (Well, except for the Source SDK of course)

    EDIT: Also not in any way interested in Windows App Stores or Apple Store or any other of these market places. If this is relevant.

  32. Creeping Death says:

    I just hope there is an option for users to view/remove all non game related software from the Steam store. Either have it on a seperate tab at the top, or something like the “view dlc” tick box that is currently in the store feed.

    Got no problem with Steam expanding to offering this type of thing, I’m just not personally interested in it.

  33. Dinger says:

    so, well, kinda like Stardock was, then?
    Anyway, makes perfect sense. If Microsoft wants to compete with Valve’s ludic dominance in the digital download space, Valve really has no choice but to build a moat around their games.
    The only way MS can win this is by pulling a SH and revealing that they never had plans for an app marketplace afterall.

    • Brun says:

      The other way MS can win it is by saying that they are going to take a cut of all in-app purchases on Win8. That basically kills Steam’s competitiveness completely. It opens them up to antitrust litigation, but Apple hasn’t been sued (successfully) so far, so they might just do it if too many people use Steam instead of the Windows store.

      • HothMonster says:

        Steam would just have the client push you to the browser for purchases.

  34. Navagon says:

    “Steam’s not entirely open ”

    Sorry, but this just reeks of pandering to the Steam fanboys. Steam is about as closed as you can get. The fact that everything is tied to your account and cannot be used without logging in spells that out as plain as can be.

    If that policy is continued with their software then I think it will be a disaster. They’re looking at a somewhat different market (with a certain amount of overlap, admittedly). Different market. Different expectations. Who is going to want to have to log into Steam every time they load Photoshop for instance? That would just be craziness.

    • Kaira- says:

      Yeah, saying “Steam’s not entirely open” is almost as close to truth as saying “iOS is not entirely open”. It’s wrong on pretty much all the levels you can imagine. They’re as closed as they come.

    • SuffixTreeMonkey says:

      I agree.

      The vision of 75% app discounts is an enticing one, but I think the current way (paying through Paypal or directly through the internet -> getting an Installer -> Installing) is both good enough and allows the developer to get 90% or more of the price I pay.

      With Steam? You get instant 30% cut, and what? Does the process get that easier? I don’t think so.

      Remember when you hated EA, Internet? They at least package the boxes for the developer and throw in an ad campaign. Well, Steam does not do even that, and yet they ask for 30+ percent. And it turns down a lot of non-major people. Is it really fair?

      In the music industry, everybody hates the publishers and yet in the gaming industry we often praise them to high heavens. Isn’t it high time we see Valve not as some god who made cheap games, but a company that’s trying to maximize profit by cutting 30% of other people’s products, offering very little in return?

      • Eukatheude says:

        Except music publishers take way more than 30% and, more importantly, demand *creative control* over bands.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        How dare Valve want to make money from providing a service people want, eh?

        30% is a pretty small slice compared to the vast majority of other digital content delivery services.

    • HothMonster says:

      “The fact that everything is tied to your account and cannot be used without logging in spells that out as plain as can be.”

      Only games that use steamworks as DRM, there are plenty of games that can be launched from the exe and its the devs option.

  35. fish99 says:

    Hopefully some day they’ll be rich enough to hire a programmer who can rustle up an install location dialogue box for each game.

    • dirtrobot says:

      In the future, where I’m from, this comment would be grounds for incarceration in one of Valve’s many rehabilitation camps.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hopefully some day people will stop caring about implementation details that they shouldn’t be fiddling with.

      (For example, most Linux systems, since we’ve got people going “Steam OS, Steam OS!”? The package manager won’t give you a choice. dpkg doesn’t. yum doesn’t. emerge doesn’t. That’s just not how Linux organizes things. The files of a program are controlled by the system [on your behalf] if you want everything to work. [It's how Windows wants to work, too, but people won't let go of DOS.])

      Choosing which partition would be useful, though. (Which is what you’ll get on OS X for Installer-packaged software.)

      • fish99 says:

        You know if Steam had a priority system built in where it automatically put your most played games on your faster drives and automatically spanned drives when a drive was nearly full, then I might agree with you, but as Steam is now you have to care about where your games are installed, because Steam isn’t smart enough to do it for you. In the days of small fast SSD drives, having no per-game install location option just isn’t good enough.

        Also taking away control from the experienced end user is not a good thing. There should always be ‘advanced options’ for the people who want it, you know the way installers used to work before Steam.

        • LionsPhil says:

          No, there shouldn’t, and again I point to the Linux world here where there effectively aren’t.

          Yes, for choosing which partition, I agree*; but beyond that if you ever have a reason to care (no matter how much you want to stroke yourself as a “power user”) the system has failed you.

          *Although the real win there is to just get over the mixed SSD/HDD hump into pure one-big-SSD territory. Give it a few more years.

  36. Solidstate89 says:

    Hypocrisy at it’s finest!

  37. Skabooga says:

    So, now I have a perfectly legitimate excuse to have Steam installed on my work computer? MUWHAHAHAH!!

  38. bokadam says:

    Beginning of the end. If you try to everything, you end up doing nothing.

  39. Beelzebud says:

    You know what they really need to add to Steam before they do this? A sane option to install things on whatever partition you want to, without manually having to create symbolic links. Right now this is the thing about Steam that annoys me more than anything.

  40. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    In the 90s, you had to have your own website.
    In the 00s, you had to have your own “app”.
    In the 10s, you have to have your own app store.

  41. Ateius says:

    I’m expecting Steam: the OS at this rate.

  42. Stepout says:

    I hope it’s a huge success that nets them all the money in the world as I would very much like to see them pull off having all of their games run under Linux. I can’t remember the last time I bought non-game software though.

  43. SiHy_ says:

    Can’t help but feel Valve are stretching themselves too thin. Many companies have gone ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ too quickly and folded as a result. Since I have invested a lot of money into my Steam account this makes me nervous as I don’t actually “own” any of those games and could lose them all if Valve implodes. It’s dangerous times, my friends. Dangerous times.

    • iniudan says:

      Thus why I buy on GOG (if only they could offer game compatible with Linux) and Humble Bundle (now that you can have an actual account it make a more centralized download available) when possible.

    • Premium User Badge

      slerbal says:

      I don’t know where you are based, but if you are in the EU then technically you *do* now own copies of the games (regardless of their EULAs and ToSs) and Steam will be required to let you sell the copies on.

      • fish99 says:

        Except that Valve won’t implement that until someone sues them.

    • HothMonster says:

      They are sittings on billions and offering more software other people make doesn’t really cost them much.

  44. Fazer says:

    Let the non-games begin!

    • Dr I am a Doctor says:

      I’m pretty sure Tale of Tales already have their games on Steam.

      Somehow.

      While Unepic rots on Desura.

      why

  45. TheManfromAntarctica says:

    At this point, especially given what’s Gaben’s background, I wouldn’t be surprised if Valve will announce the launch of their own Steam OS in the next few months. Who knew what would happen while procrastinating the making of Half-Life 3?

  46. Premium User Badge

    emertonom says:

    On the one hand, yes, it’s yet another closed ecosystem. On the other hand, if they can set it up so that it also handles free software, and provides an easy way to install it which doesn’t permit all the “do you not also not want to not install the foo toolbar? okay/cancel” shenanigans which have become the depressing standard for such software, that’ll be sufficient reason to get everyone I know to use it. Think of all the tech support calls it would prevent! It’s more or less the same with the MS shop–I’m pretty okay with getting the unskilled masses into using a closed ecosystem for this stuff. I use Android and root my phone and install a custom ROM, but I tried to convince my mom that an iPhone was right for her. Same idea.

    • Baf says:

      Re free software: Steam already handles free-to-play software. That’s a far cry from “free” in the Richard Stallman sense, but it does mean that they’re already set up to install titles without payment. And the extra links by which they currently provide game documentation could be repurposed to provide source code, when necessary.

  47. Arglebargle says:

    I suspect part of this move is to give them proper legal standing for when the inevitable suits vs Windows 8 hit.

  48. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    When’s Steam going to change its name to Skynet?

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      In 2028 Steam sends the GabeBot back to the 29th of August 1997, his mission to rename Steam to Skynet, and thus change the course of history.

  49. Alexrd says:

    As if Steam monopolizing the PC market is a good thing… I can’t believe people praise such controlling DRM scheme…

    • HothMonster says:

      Steamworks drm is an option when putting your game on steam.

  50. chivs688 says:

    Steam OS coming soon? ;)