Valve steams into non-gaming software distribution biz

The games developer and cross-platform distribution firm is set to offer all kinds of software from early September, in a dramatic departure from its roots
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Valve, the games company that is behind the Steam download platform, is set to open the distribution system up to non-gaming software.

In a brief statement on Wednesday, Valve said it that "the first set of software titles [is] heading to Steam, marking a major expansion to the platform most commonly known as a leading destination for PC and Mac games".

"The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games," Valve business development representative Mark Richardson said in a statement. "They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests."

The non-gaming side of Steam will open for business on 5 September, Valve indicated, saying the titles would "range from creativity to productivity".

The company also noted that the titles would use Steamworks features with which gamers are already familiar, such as automatic updates and the ability to save data to a Steam Cloud space. Developers can submit titles through the Steam Greenlight system.

Valve has been increasingly singing the praises of its cross-platform approach of late. Company chief Gabe Newell hit the headlines a week ago when he said Windows 8 was shaping up to be a "catastrophe" for the PC ecosystem, and made it clear that Linux was an increasingly viable alternative, at least for Valve.

This week's developments confirm what seemed likely last month, when Valve put out a Steam app for Android that mysteriously included 'genre' categories that went somewhat beyond gaming, such as accounting, audio production, photo-editing and design.

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