Valve expands Steam to offer non-gaming software

Steam Software

Back in August we bought you word that Valve Software (the company behind classic games like Half-Life and Portal) had revealed plans to expand the scope of its online video game distribution service Steam to include “creativity and productivity” software. At the time the company planned to add this new line of programs to Steam on September 5, but due to unforeseen delays, that date came and went without any huge alterations to the Steam lineup. Today however, Valve made good on its promise, and if you were to visit Steam right now you’d find such titles as PC benchmarking software 3DMark Vantage and Gamemaker: Studio, a program that aids people in creating casual games.

While we’re always big fans of novelty, the real good news here is twofold: First, to celebrate the creation of Steam’s “Software” section, Valve is offering all of its “creativity and productivity” items at a 10-percent discount “throughout the week.” Second, the Steam iterations of these software packages feature a level of integration with Valve’s online service previously only seen in popular games. “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,” reads the official press release issued by Valve to complement this otherwise stealthy launch.

Still, this move leaves a number of questions in its wake. Most crucially, why would Valve Software, a company that has found massive success in the gaming sphere, opt to expand its operations into a wholly new section of software that has been almost entirely dominated by megacorporations like Microsoft and Adobe for the majority of the past three decades? Hoping to shed some light on the situation, we posed that query to Doug Lombardi, Valve’s director of marketing.

“First and foremost: Our customers have told us they’d like to have all of their software on Steam,” Lombardi told us. “In addition, we believe that integration with Steam Workshop and these titles can — in some cases — enhance the work of aspiring game designers.”

“Also, with Steam Greenlight, we hope to one day see new types of non-gaming and/or game creation software emerging from Steam,” he added.

To be perfectly candid we expected the response to be something along the lines of “there’s money to be made,” but Lombardi’s reply is a bit more thoughtful than that. Or, if you’re entirely too cynical, it might be described as “calculating.” By offering up these software programs — almost all of which, it should be said, can be directly employed in the creation of video games — Valve is not only pulling in profit while appeasing fans, it’s also making it that much easier for the next big game idea to emerge from the mind of the average gamer. Maybe you have a brilliant idea for a video game, but completely lack the tools to create such a thing; Now Valve’s Steam service is a one-stop software shop for your development needs, and once your phenomenal, world-beating game is complete Valve will be more than happy to add it to the Steam marketplace. That’s undeniably clever.

Product Review

Anthem shows a glimmer of brilliance that's quickly dampened by its grind

Anthem is an online shooter from BioWare that’s already proven to have a stunning open-world with action-packed combat that distinguishes itself with its story, characters, and lore. But will it continue to invest in those things as we…
Mobile

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Computing

Here's what you need to play games and watch movies in 4K on your PC

4K display tech is now cheaper than ever, but there's more to running stuff at such a high display resolution than just handing over the dough for a 4K-equipped display. Here's what you need to run 4K.
Gaming

Activision not doing itself any favors with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 loot boxes

New loot boxes added to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 have caused a somewhat uneven playing field for those who choose to spend extra money. Certain limited-time items can now only be found in loot boxes.
Computing

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Computing

Logitech’s G MX518 gaming mouse pairs classic looks with all-new tech

Logitech is relaunching one of its most popular classic gaming mice, the MX518. Now called the G MX518, it sports upgraded internals that give it a 16,000 DPI optical sensor and new and improved memory.
Gaming

One game console is better than the rest, and we're not afraid to say it

We've seen a relatively large influx of new consoles in the last year, including the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X, so we've updated our recommendations for the best dedicated game hardware.
Gaming

Everything we know about Devil May Cry 5, including characters and combat

Devil May Cry 5 is just around the corner, and is the first game in the original series since Devil May Cry 4 in 2008. Here is everything we know about the game, including its playable characters.
Gaming

Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.
Gaming

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.
Gaming

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.