Feeds

back to article Valve opens Steam store to non-gaming software

Games maker Valve has announced that it will begin offering non-game software through its popular Steam online content delivery platform, expanding the role of the service from a gaming destination to a general-purpose app store for desktop computers. "The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Deep discounts on decent products? Now.. that would be lovely.

7
1
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Well at least they might make some money out of this instead of wasting resources porting stuff to Linux that no one but a tiny herd of nerds will ever use...

2
51
Anonymous Coward

"Well at least they might make some money out of this instead of wasting resources porting stuff to Linux that no one but a tiny herd of nerds will ever use..."

Hey! I'm part of that tiny herd! Stop trying to force me to have to pay for an OS upgrade because DX11 isn't compatible with the previous version of Windows. Why Windows XP can't run DX11 is beyond me, the only logical reason I can see is either bad design or just plain forcing people to upgrade. OpenGL runs on pretty much everything from phones to Linux, Windows & MacOS desktops.

The sooner games come to Linux, the sooner I can remove Windows from my home life - hopefully before Windows 8 and DX12 become required for the latest games.

14
1
Silver badge

@Richto

"Well at least they might make some money out of this instead of wasting resources porting stuff to Linux that no one but a tiny herd of nerds will ever use..."

Are you the new BIG DUMB GUY? You showed up about a month ago and almost every post you make is a put down of Linux. They're not even supported or show any great knowledge of Linux. You're such an obvious troll just trying to stoke up anger and create rifts between users of different operating systems. I mean are you hoping that someone will think you're a MS employee or something and storm Redmond? You read like an eight year old in your slavish and ill-informed bias.

And I'm a well-noted Windows-fan in these parts! But you know, an actual one who respects the amount of work that goes into any modern OS, not an idiot troll trying to stir up factionalism. Just sit down and shut up.

32
2
Anonymous Coward

instead of wasting resources ...

Back under your bridge, troll.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: @Richto

"a put down of Linux."

A very ill-informed put down of Linux I suggest.

Never seen so many down-votes in such a short time.

7
0

The main reason I still have a Windows dual boot is for gaming, if Steam really does bring some great titles to Linux it will save me the investment in whatever version of Windows comes after 8

4
0
Happy

Seconded

The only reason i still use windows is games, tried dual booting but cant get used to it, i used to run a virtualbox Ubuntu desktop to sit on top or secondary screen but to much swapping about i just plumped for windows, if steam pulls this off, it may just be the break point needed. Now if EA do the same with Origin, then the writing will be on the wall for windows gaming.

1
0
Headmaster

re: "tiny herd"

That "tiny herd" comprises four-hundred million existing users, with one million new users per day, and growing. That's double the rate of Windows license sales, FYI.

Hey, fair's fair, that's just as much "Linux" as any other Linux distribution.

Personally I don't think the platform should matter to software developers. They should use open standards, cross architecture/platform buildsystems, and consequently target most demographics, including most of the long tail, without prejudice. And just to be clear, in case there's any doubt, Linux is now firmly placed at the fat-end of that long tail, primarily thanks to Android.

That way everyone's happy, every consumer gets to use the software, no matter what architecture/platform they're using, and software vendors make more sales by having a larger customer base.

That was the whole point of Java, for example, although frankly I'd rather run native code, for all the usual reasons.

As someone who's operated a cross-architecture buildsystem for 10+ years, I don't understand why more software vendors don't use this approach as a matter of best practice. Other than the initial investment, which is no different than the commitment required for any other development infrastructure, the additional overhead in minimal, especially when things like unit testing can be automated to such a high degree.

Platform exclusivity seems like an irrational bias, especially for anyone whose primary goal is business. Granted, much of that bias might very well be in the form of "incentives" offered by the platform vendor to exclude competitors, but that sort of practice should be outlawed as anticompetitive. Given a fair and level playing field, there should be no justifiable reason for any software vendor to exclude or even favour any common architecture/platform.

Kudos to Valve for understanding this simple truth.

3
1

"tiny herd of nerds"

He's right though, isn't he? Comapred to Windows, Linux accounts for a tiny amount of users out there. Yes, loads of you will say "I only use Linux, M$ Windoze sux" but posters on here are hardly representitive of your average user, are they?

According to my extensive research (i.e. looking on Wikipedia, so it must be right), Linux accounts for 1.53% of PC (including Macs, btw) users out there, which I would call "tiny", compared to Windows 80-ish percent share.

*dons flameproof underwear*

1
5
Silver badge

Re: "tiny herd of nerds"

That 1.5% is people who have voted to use Linux, mostly installed it themselves and maybe incurred the extra cost of Windows to do it.

Compared with go into shop, get essentially no choice and use ( and in many cases ) curse WIndows. As someone else said we wouldn't put up with 1 or 2 models of car, esp. if we had to buy the petrol and tyres from the manufacturer as well.

1
0
Go

Re: "tiny herd of nerds"

1.53% is fairly small, but that's missing the point.

Windows 8 is likely to be loathed almost universally when it's released. What Valve are doing by bringing Steam and its associated applications to Linux is giving a lot of people a viable alternative.

When Windows 8 hits (the fan), Steam is going to make desktop Linux look a lot more attractive, and I'll be expecting that 1.53% figure to rise.

3
0
Bronze badge
Linux

Re: @Richto

"Never seen so many down-votes in such a short time."

Well said.

Most Linux users are pretty smart when it comes to computing and are not afraid to correct others who show either an ignorance of the the subject or, as in this case, a sad attempt to troll the forum. As many others including SCO have found to their cost you do not attack Linux with impunity.

At the risk of being accused of feeding a troll I too gave Richto a thumbs down, just to register my displeasure.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "tiny herd of nerds"

"Comapred to Windows".. .better install a spell-checker as well as doing some research!

0
0
Holmes

Re: "He's right though, isn't he?"

Only in the self-fulfilling prophesy sense, and not even then, given that "the desktop" only accounts for a tiny fraction of the whole computing market, by distribution (i.e. number of potential software customers).

To put this into perspective, according to IHS, about 315 million PCs shipped in 2011. Over that same time period, Microsoft shipped about 220 million Windows licenses ((525M / 27) * 12). By comparison, ARM shipped 7.85 billion - yes Billion - chips in 2011 ... none of which run Windows (about 3.5% run "Phone 7").

Just think about that for a minute. That's an awful lot of potential customers who aren't Windows users.

Anyone who isn't in that market is toast. Who cares about "the desktop"? Customers are customers. There's also a very good chance those ARM systems might eventually become "the desktop" in the not-too distant future, given the way technology and the market is moving. Not that such labels should matter to businesses, or consumers for that matter. All that matters is the demographic. That's where the people (and the money) are, and right now that demographic is clearly in Linux's favour.

That's only likely to increase exponentially over the coming years, especially with support from companies like Valve on the one hand, and the impending disaster that is Windows 8 on the other.

2
1
Vic
Silver badge

Re: @Richto

> You read like an eight year old in your slavish and ill-informed bias.

It's August. School Holidays...

Vic.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "He's right though, isn't he?"

I don't know, there's not much of a demand for Apps to buy on your ARM based fridge, let alone the OSs to go on the fridges.

Apples/Oranges and all that. How many of those ARM ships are consumer based devices? How many of those consumer based devices have OSs that have purchasable apps? Or how many of those ARM chips CAN MS/Apple/Google tap into to open up a market?

0
0
Headmaster

Re: "ARM based fridge"

Actually an increasing proportion of those chips are going into "smart" devices that run Android, and thus have access to the Android Market Google Play Store.

The fact is that, one way or another, Linux is now such a ubiquitous technology that any company that ignores it is basically toast. Even if you're not talking direct (software) sales, there's a vast opportunity there for licensing deals between software vendors and "smart" (i.e. ARM) device manufacturers. There's a whole range of ecosystems there that Microsoft can't hope to touch, primarily because of its interminably closed, and thus wholly inflexible, platforms.

As for the consumer side, well 400 million users, and 1 million more every day, is certainly a perfectly viable market, don't you think? And apparently Valve thinks the Linux "desktop" is pretty viable too, otherwise they wouldn't waste their time and money supporting it, would they? Clearly they know something (numbers) that we don't, and they're certainly in the right position to know those numbers.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

OK

If Gaben supports Linux I see no reason not to give him my money.

10
0
Silver badge

This is getting interesting. First console rumours, then Linux, then the OpenGL news and now apps too. There's some serious ambition over at Valve HQ, no? Frankly I'm gobsmacked that the Android app doesn't offer mobile games yet. Seems like an obvious move to me, and you could even get cross-platform gameplay going (if mobile gamers were suicidal).

Here's a thought I had the other day, though. Every time these discussions come up, someone asks where HL3 is. I can almost guarantee someone will on this page. So what if Valve really was planning a console or similar device, and the launch title was HL3? That would grab some attention, no? And if it ran Linux, games could be almost seamlessly ported between the "console" and the Linux PC, plus the PS3 is OpenGL. That would encourage Linux/OpenGL development and maybe even threaten Microsoft.

Probably wishful thinking, but holy hell would that be cool.

12
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

I don't think it is wishful thinking at all.

This latest play into non-game apps seems to hint that they are interesting in moving into cross-platform app delivery with their game catalogue being the groundswell that could make it a reality.

Considering how many people already have steam installed, I don't see why this isn't an ideal time to get into this area.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

The Play Store terms of service prohibit you from providing app store-like functionality, so if Valve did want to distribution games/apps through the Android client, they could not distribute it via the Play Store.

"4.5 Non-Compete. You may not use the Market to distribute or make available any Product whose primary purpose is to facilitate the distribution of software applications and games for use on Android devices outside of the Market. "

http://www.android.com/us/developer-distribution-agreement.html

1
0
Bronze badge

Consoles?

If they do Linux For Steam (or vice versa) then they will not need a console. They will be able to turn a lot of PCs and some devices into a Steam compatible system. If you own the distribution, don't worry about owning the bricks and mortar. :)

0
0
Thumb Up

Brilliant idea

The app store model is a great way for small developers with good, quite simple products but no advertising budget and no physical presence in shops to get exposure to a wide audience. And one-click ordering followed by a rapid installation makes products more likely to be bought as impulse buys. Valve have a reputation already and a real chance to set themselves up as a 'software publishing' middleman (easy profits!) with this. Especially in competition with Microsoft. And I suspect they won't set the annoyingly limiting sandboxing requirements which have driven some very committed OS X developers out of the Mac app store.

One question for me is whether Steam will shed its 'industrial' look. It's appropriate for games where you tramp through metal corridors, but not so much for other software...

4
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Brilliant idea

"One question for me is whether Steam will shed its 'industrial' look. It's appropriate for games where you tramp through metal corridors, but not so much for other software..."

Perhaps a nice choice of skins (and maybe a designer package). It would be nice to see an enterprise management tool in there as well to allow centrally managed Steam deployed apps.

Good look to Steam - though I'm surprised it took so long.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Brilliant idea

Steam can do skins. It's done skins in the past, and when you first install it you get a short glimpse of the original military green skin. I imagine there'll be an official corporate one.

0
0
Go

Thank god

No more hunting around online re-sellers, who seem to work entirely based upon commission (and therefore the list price on the actual vendor website is ridiculous so as not to incur the reseller-wrath.

Quite interested to see if they take this further than just x for y.

App world seems to love randomly versioning the software, to throw you into an abyss of upgrade-path wrath. Could maybe now have the option of having the latest version for x years? Lifetime subscription? Best-of-breed bundles of apps? Spend $50 a year on Steam and get free AV updates.

I do like that last one a lot - All windows people need it, the actual cost would be microscopic, keeps Steam sticky (especially before the others all start copying them), vendor gets to brag how it's the largest AV out there, guaranteed income, users aren't going to be the people that cost the AV company anything (think your Gran phoning them to ask if she's got a virus, because she saw a rude picture somewhere) etc.

0
0
Holmes

Connected to the possible movement to Linux?

Should they roll their own Linux (or associate with an existing vendor), then there are going to be an awful lot of people switching.

An awful lot of people who haven't really used Linux.

An awful lot of people who are going to be eternally looking for that thingie they used to have in windows that did whassit and has now vanished.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: Connected to the possible movement to Linux?

I run both, and in honesty I can't think of a single thing I have/need in Windows that isn't replicated in Linux. It might be called something different, but it's there. (Though I do already use a lot of OSS on both systems.) Going back the other way is when I find that I'm missing things.

Where the hell's the PDF reader? Why are the widgets so shit? Do you seriously refer to this as a command line terminal? What do you mean the only built-in archiving is zip? And why is it so slow? And do I seriously have to download and update every single piece of software individually? Are you drunk?

11
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Connected to the possible movement to Linux?

> I can't think of a single thing I have/need in Windows that isn't replicated in Linux

Visio and more complicated Excel bits.

Which is why MS haven't ported it.

Please slap the person at the back who said "Sharepoint."

6
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Connected to the possible movement to Linux?

> Visio

There's something called "Dia". It comes pre-installed with most Linux distros.

0
0

Suddenly, the comments Newell made about Windows 8 and closed systems just made total sense. This is what Valve are worried about.

Thrilled to see Steam natively on Linux, but this plan surely means Valve see a commercial future right where they are.

7
0

Not necessarily

Dont forget that valve will still be able to offer windows and mac games as well, but if the better experience is to be had on Linux than windows then I can see more people using Linux by default.

After all it's not as though console kiddies care about. The os they run, it's the games that are important.

I just hope that the ubuntu updater doesn't get confused when updates happen without it doing anything.

Ttfn

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Not necessarily

> I just hope that the ubuntu updater doesn't get confused when updates happen without it doing anything.

I have a bad habit of issuing a sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y the moment I turn on my debian and ubuntu rigs (this being because I did not install a similar mechanism on my debian box, which runs Sid), and I can affirm that ubuntu updater doesn't get confused when that happens :P

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Head hurts...

"The creator of the Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and Portal game franchises did not reveal what non-game titles would be available on the revamped service, which launched on September 5,"

I seem to have lost a month somewhere. Where I am, September 5 is still in the future...

4
0

Re: Head hurts...

It's not where you are. It's when you are.

0
0

Re: Head hurts...

Typo or Valve Time?

0
0
Bronze badge

It would make a lot of sense if they provided free software without needing an account. (Eg open/libre office, gimp,)

It seems they already have the facilities in-game that corporates would like on the desktop.

So I could see a future move being a corporate version, that ties into active directory. (Managed by the admins. )

It would also be useful if their in-game VOIP and IM tied into other systems. EG google talk messages being available in game. (You'd choose who could contact you in the active part of games, in the lobby etc, you would be contactable. )

0
1
Bronze badge
Linux

Why bother?

"It would make a lot of sense if they provided free software without needing an account."

Unless they can get an exclusive app, which is very hard to do in the FLOSS world, they won't bother. Why? because all distros have a system, RPM , apt-get etc. that delivers applications, it's baked in in Linux and in general it's free. Both from a cost view point and with the ability, thanks to the GPL, to share freely anything with colleagues, friends and others.

2
0
Flame

I don't like them app stores very much.

If you buy something from a reteiler, and there is something wrong with it, you take it up witht he retailer.

These app stores trade internationally. When something goes awry, they wave their hands in the air and say 'we're just the distributor. Take it up witht he publisher'. Who promptly points you to the developer.

Additionally, outfits like Valve and EA refuse to trade according to the laws of the country they trade in.

Thirdly, if you do not take being brushed off lightly and kick up a stink, they cut off your account and you loose all your software. And since they trade from abroad you do not have the protection of the law in your own country.

The idea behind it is great. Unfortunately the people running these software stores are a bunch of rip-off artists. To most of us, anyway.

1
4
Thumb Down

Re: I don't like them app stores very much.

I use Steam and Origin (nee EADM nee DM), cant say as i've had all the issues you seem to have had.

Over 100 games on the Steam library and any issues have been quickly resolved.

As for buying software from a retailer - i've also never had any issues. The minimum and recommended specs are almost universally listed for software, I don't buy anything where my PC spec is closer to minimum than recommended and consequently don't have any issues.

If you meet the minimum and no more, expect problems - minimum means just that, it may just about work, in an ideal world. It will not likely be a good experience though.

Finally, the worst experience i've had for buying software, is on the high-street. Rip-off pricing and a no-refund policy

2
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: I don't like them app stores very much.

>If you buy something from a reteiler, and there is something wrong with it

Last time I bought software from a retailer, I was told that the software I wanted was only available at their flagship showroom and not at the shops they distribute to. Which is located smack in the middle of a business park that was apparently designed by a toddler and thus is plagued with traffic, route and road obstruction issues. Took a good half of my day to get what I want and then get home.

I was glad Steam came around that I don't need to go through that madness anymore.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Frankly I'm surprised it has taken so long for them to get here. How long have we said - "Steam: its itunes for games"? I'm surprised they haven't talked about a deal with Amazon about having their client used for content delivery.

I don't think we'll see the deep discounts for non-game software because games are notorious for having a short shelf-life. The long-tail kicks in quite early for games, but not so much for other items.

Where MS might get hurt is recommendations. "I see you have quite an old version of Word installed. Would you like a new version of LibreOffice?" Would you like to try Amarok? I see you have a TV tuner installed, would you like to try mythbuntu? Hey, if you do internet banking, its a good idea to run your browser from an ISO image under vmware - would you like me to install Mint? I see you have a second dell in the house. If you want, hit F12 when you next boot and you can have a play with the latest Linux system without burning a disk or touching the hard drive. Tired of being pwned? Reboot into steamOS for 15% more fps! Check-out the Steam Productivity desktop - LibreOffice, kopete, kmail, voicemail, + ddi voip for $15/month.

How about doing a bit more hardware inventory? Got HDMI connected? Hey, look at all these console-type games. If bluetooth hardware is present, collect some stats to show devs that a wii controller might be a decent input device for their games.

We're cross-platform. I see you have a G5 Mac which Apple no longer support. Would you like to see the latest steamOS for ppc? Perhaps you'd like to sync your documents directory with the cloud (with rsync)?

Would Sir like a full business desktop in the cloud with RDP access? Not a problem, just like buying a game of portal.

2
0
Bronze badge
Gimp

To which all of the above I would say " Fuck off, I'm trying to play a game here".

All of the above sounds suspiciously like the 'recommendations' for crap that Amazon wants to push at me because someone else bought it one time and they happen to be a reviewer for another item I bought.

Steam can show me a game based on the fact it's just been released - this is advertising.

Trying to pimp me a new joystick because it can see I'm already using a Cyborg 3d via my usb port is called SNOOPING .

0
0
Anonymous Coward

It doesn't have to be intrusive or FB-style in your face.

The store can just "feature" things you might want, as it already does. If the client knows you have a connected TV, it doesn't even need to call home to recommend console-type games. As long as its stateless (looking at history over time) and doesn't call home, I don't see an issue. For more "clever" stuff, there is already a "recommendations" section which looks as what you have already.

I was thinking more about how MS might perceive it as a threat, since neither Apple's App store, nor Google Play, nor (I suspect) MS' proposed offering are likely to be GPL compatible. Having a cross-platform software distribution system willing to move unlimited amounts of free software (or using something like BSD ports) could be a major disruption to the current market.

0
0

no thanks

I'm not surprised the same people who think iphone's walled garden is bad love Steam's walled garden.

I don't think this is a good idea. I could live with the fact some of my games were tied to a cloud service and I never really owned them but idea of having all my software tied to one account a hacker could take or Valve could close doesn't sound appealing.

I'd rather someone sold software that's not tied into someone else's platform.

1
2

Re: no thanks

The main difference between the 2 walled gardens is the choice you make to use them.

You buy an Idevice and you really need to use Itunes

you but a PC you may never use Steam, but many people are happy with there balance between DRM and convienence

1
1
Bronze badge
Headmaster

Re: no thanks

How is it a walled garden? Lots of stuff released on Steam is released else where. I have lots of Steam games that are TOTALLY OPEN. DRM free (as in I can even move the Steam files and play the game else where) etc.

Steam can be used as DRM, it can also be used only as a distribution system (and is with game Mods for example, or the DRM free games I mentioned).

2
0
Linux

@Richto

Lots of downvotes of course. You are not going to make yourself popular here!

However there is a deeper point to be made: In these WIndows/IOS/Linux/Mac/Android discussion it always seems to be assumed (by some) that there can only be one or maybe two winners and that the otherwill disappear. But Why? Most other markets are fragmented so why not computers?

Cars are a particularly good example of a large mature and very fragmented market, as is food,

So even if Linux users are in minority - so what? There's still thousands of us and sensible companies wanting to sell into the market should not say 'oh we can ignore them' because all it means is lost sales! (in this case sales of yes software but also services and hardware)

Hey I drive a sports car - I'm in a minority: Do you want my business?

3
0
Holmes

Re: Minorities

Another point to consider is that fringe markets are often that way only because of a self-fulfilling prophesy.

It goes a bit like this:

1. Vendors don't support Linux

2. Vendors see no sales from Linux users, naturally, because those vendors don't actually provide any Linux products

3. Vendors then disingenuously claim; "There's no demand for Linux"

Rinse, repeat.

What's even more disturbing is the fact that point 1. is often motivated by rather underhand "incentives" from competing OS vendors, and thus not even a true reflection of what the application/game vendor really wants, much less what the ever-suffering consumer wants (not that anyone ever bothers asking them, of course, which merely compounds the illegitimacy of the "no demand" claim). Point 2. may also result from a half-hearted Linux initiative that's undertaken purely for the benefit of PR, with no real commitment to delivering products, because (again) that vendor is being pressured by a competing OS vendor (take Dell's less-than enthusiastic forays into Linux, for example).

OTOH, I'd argue that Linux is perhaps not as much of a minority proposition as some companies think, especially once you factor Android into the equation. AFAICT the one and only thing holding back the Linux "desktop" is this bogus self-fulfilling prophesy, and those anticompetitive "incentives", as perpetrated and perpetuated by a certain well known OS vendor.

I'm guessing that, thanks to Wine, Valve has seen first-hand that there certainly is "demand for Linux", which motived them to dispense with the "no demand" myth and go ahead with the Linux client.

Other software vendors should take note.

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.