Valve Software has just announced that starting September 5th, its Steam digital store will begin selling non-game software. The games maker did not specify which companies have so far signed up for Steam software distribution and only indicated that the products would include creativity and productivity apps. Presumably, these would include existing PC programs and possibly Mac OS X apps as well. Valve did announce that several of the apps will also take advantage of Steamworks and Steam Cloud functionality for automatic updating and saving files.
Though Steam has been extremely successful as a digital games store, it already offers software that's not strictly games, such as map editors and the recently released Source Filmmaker program. Users can also already purchase movies and digital books on Steam. Speculation that Steam would branch into selling non-game programs started last month with the Steam Android app listing a wide range of software categories including Photo Editing, Audio Production, and even Accounting. Steam as a general purpose software distribution platform would put it in direct competition with Microsoft's upcoming Windows Store in Windows 8 and the Mac App Store in OS X.
The full press release is below.
Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the first set of Software titles are heading to Steam, marking a major expansion to the platform most commonly known as a leading destination for PC and Mac games.
The Software titles coming to Steam range from creativity to productivity. Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you.
More Software titles will be added in an ongoing fashion following the September 5th launch, and developers will be welcome to submit Software titles via Steam Greenlight.
"The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games," said Mark Richardson at Valve. "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."