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.