Steam to Offer Non-Gaming Software?


Steam could be set to offer more than just games to its users, if a screenshot of the Android application is anything to go by.

Displaying a variety of other "genres" beyond traditional games, the image shows: Accounting, Animation and Modelling, Audio Production, Design and Illustration, Education, Photo Editing, Software Training and Utilities. According to user comments at The Verge, currently none of the categories have anything in them, but it seems likely that at some point they will, suggesting that on Android at least, Valve is looking to expand the functionality of Steam.

The real question though is why? Photo editing, accounting, these are things that can be done with free and commercial software already. What does Valve stand to gain from making it possible to do these things through Steam? The best guess would be that it could make money, maybe partnering with established developers in these areas and either charging a few pence per usage, or some sort of subscription fee. Valve could also be looking to do a Steam Premium account system that costs a certain amount each month, and grants access to extra features.

Somewhere somehow, Valve will make a bit of cash from this. But maybe it won't be from consumers, it could instead be from the developers themselves. Perhaps those companies will end up paying Valve to use Steam as their distribution and promotional tool.

Whatever the delivery method in the end, Valve is pushing Steam forward. Whether it's because the company is just getting round to it now, or because EA's Origin put the scare in it a bit, who knows, but it's a good thing.