Steam, the games download service and online retail store used by millions of gamers worldwide may be digging in, bracing for the oncoming storm. The content distribution king for gamers has recently rolled out multiple major updates , you could quickly get the impression something is going on?
The only thing more certain than Apple selling millions of iPhone 5’s next week is that every Steam employee has October 26 penciled in their diaries, D day for all online game and application download services. W8 day is probably a more apt title than d-day, in any case the impending doom for Steam that is Windows 8 and Microsoft’s new AppStore draws nearer.
The Steam Box Rumours Return.
While not officially announced, the wheels of the rumour mill are spinning for a second time with the news of Steam producing its own gaming hardware. The basis for the buzz this time at least was more substantial than warm air, a series of vacancies on Valves website had been brought to the public’s attention via the wonders of an internet driven world.
According to the advertisements only industrial designers with more than six years experience need apply, 2D/3D CAD software experience is handy and of course you must be able to run on Steam power.
Many questions remain unanswered though, as is the case with the greatest rumours. There has been no confirmation from Valve, no world on hardware nor operating systems.
To run the majority of Steam’s games and app’s it will need to be a Windows box, Intel or AMD CPU with Windows. Not the ideal situation if your main competitor is including the alternative for free on your box, think internet wars and Netscape. Would Steam dare to create an Android or Linux gaming machine?
Getting a jump on Microsoft’s AppStore built in to Windows 8, Steam will make applications available through their Cloud based software store. Bringing with it all of the advantages of Cloud based software libraries; no disk or USB installs, never lose the key or licence, find new unexpected gems, DRM nightmare free gaming and now applications.
Developers can submit their applications through the GreenLight system, allowing anyone with a good idea to get into the software development game.
The app service went live on September 5th, with creativity and productivity covered only time will tell what we will see in the future, the combination GreenLight and AppStore is something very new.
Bringing game and app development back to its grass roots, back to the people, GreenLight allows developers to submit their apps for community consideration and approval. In an interesting twist putting the Steam community to work processing unclassified new content turns out to be fun.
After a new game or application is submitted, if there is enough community interest Steam will publish the title to the app store, ca-ching let the coins roll in.
“The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games. 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,” said Mark Richardson at Valve.
There were a number of issues early on; it seems people were jamming the system with every crazy idea that popped into their heads. To combat this Steam introduced a $100 fee (charity payment), ensuring applicants were serious with actual apps to sell.
Steam has a place for almost all software, almost. Adult and offensive software it seems just won’t do. Making headlines this week were the first series of take-downs from the GreenLight app approval system. Sexually explicit and completely over the top offensive apps were targeted and removed.
Getting social on Steam is getting easier, the Steam Community update has introduced a new slick interface updates to compliment the new game hubs that bring together content, community input and interaction to every piece of software on steam.
“Highlighting and enabling the best user-created screenshots, videos, and Workshop items for games across Steam while making it easier for the community to discuss their favorite games”, explained Valve.
EA’s boss was quoted this week saying “There is no feud”, aiming to dispel rumours that EA and Valve are having troubles. EA’s continual refusal to sell its games through Steam as well as the competition between Steam an EA’s DRM farm, Origin seem to be the basis of the perceived issues.
Both Steam and Origin will need to watch over their shoulders for the Windows 8 AppStore that is expected to quickly take over the online delivery of software to Windows 8 PC’s. Even with many years of head start Steam is facing an immense challenge, is the answer to create your own box and lock out Microsoft?
Steam has made its preparations, and looks to be in quite a good position. The recent spate of updates have been far more than a coat of paint on an old face, it goes far deeper. Putting in place the foundations for a community that’s actively involved in the process.
With a cross-platform abilities including Mac, PC , Linux and Console, Steam has advantages. Also with a foot in the Android gaming door with Steam to be installed on the Ouya Android console and mobile apps abundant, if anyone can thrive in the oncoming storm Steam can.
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