Valve announced today that, starting September 5, Steam will start selling commercial software products, in addition to its traditional gaming network. They did not name any specific programs that will be available, but said that the new products will “range from creativity to productivity.”
This represents a large move by the game distributing giant. The integration of commercial offerings may provide room for expansion for the company, but also leaves some questions (and some great ideas).
For instance, what software will be available, and more specifically, which companies will find it worthwhile to let Steam promote them. It seems unlikely that Microsoft, for instance, would turn to Steam to sell copies of Office, but smaller companies may see this as a way to promote relatively unknown products, similar to many App stores. After all, Steam already, by some estimates, accounts for 70% of digital game distribution, making it a system with which many are already familiar.
On the other hand, the possibility of Steam Workshop integration could make user-created macros and plug-ins provides a great opportunity to take full advantages of all these programs have to offer. The ease of access and dedicated community means that computer savvy gamers stand to benefit from more complete product integration.
Now, where is Half Life 3?