What Is Valve Doing With Steam?

Valve has announced some big picture ideas for Steam recently. By now I’m sure most of you have jumped on the Steam bandwagon. It’s convenience and deals make it truly a gamer’s paradise. It became Mac compatible years ago and now modding is easier than ever with Steam’s help. What more could we want?

But now Valve wants to usher in more features to continue making Steam a one stop shop for all things gaming. On September 5th Steam will release the Greenlight. This will allow the gaming community to try out small developer’s games and vote on whether they want it available on Steam or not. As a small developer I think this is going to be an awesome feature. Not only will it promote more indie development, but it will promote more indie game playing. Plus, it adds more power to the masses, allowing gamers to choose what kinds of games are going to be made.

Adding Greenlight is a feature that makes sense to me. It’s a model that will make Steam even more successful. It adds another layer of community to Steam and ties in directly with what many Steam fans want. But Valve also plans to add another feature. They plan on adding apps.

Mark Richardson, a representative of Valve, stated that the 40 million Steam users have started to request something more from Steam. That we want more software available, more than just games.

Personally, I don’t need apps available on Steam. I don’t really use applications. And while other people might, I don’t think Steam is going to do very well competing with Apple’s app store. Steam has become popular because it’s a one stop shop for everything gaming. It doesn’t need the addition of applications to become a more successful piece of software. It’s already the most successful program of its kind. And while you might not think it hurts to try, I think it will.

Apple’s app store works so well because anyone can upload a game or application to the store. You don’t need your software to be rated or approved, and you don’t need any money to start uploading apps. Steam, on the other hand, requires all of its games to go through a lengthy approval process. That’s why Steam has a higher quality in its products than Apple’s app store does.

When Steam introduces their version of an app store is it going to easy for users to upload their own creations? If so, the overall quality of Steam is going to be severely lowered. Or are apps going to have to be approved by Valve? Then Steam’s app library is going to be severely limited. Maybe Valve will adopt a Greenlight like approval system. Who knows?

The app store is also successful because it gives users the ability to use their applications on portable devices like iPhones and iPads. Valve has yet to create a portable device, and I doubt they plan on making one anytime soon.  Personally, I’d rather be playing feature length games and using the internet if I have my computer out instead of relying on apps and short flash games.

Valve is defiantly taking Steam in a new direction. Who knows how well both the Greenlight and new app store is going to work out for Steam. Regardless, it’s going to be interesting to see how Valve’s new direction for Steam works out.