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Valve Says Non-Game Steam Software Coming In September

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Digital distribution platform will welcome creativity and productivity software

Video game developer Valve Software will start selling non-game software on its Steam digital distribution platform from September.

Valve has called the development a “major expansion to the platform most commonly known as a leading destination for PC and Mac games.”

Steam software

Steam says that launch titles will range from creativity to productivity and many will take advantage of Steamworks features such as easy installation, automatic updating and the ability to save files to a personal Steam Cloud space.

More titles will be added after the launch date and developers have been invited 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.”

Steam was originally launched as a platform for Valve to update its own games such as Half Life 2 and Counter Strike and was opened up to third party developers in 2005. There are more than 1,500 games in the Steam library and more than 54 million active user accounts. It is estimated that Steam commands a 70 percent share in the digital distribution market for video games.

However, it suffered a blow in November last year when it admitted that attackers had compromised some forum accounts and could have accessed a database containing credit card data.

The move into software could be designed to combat the threat of Windows 8, which will sell software through its Windows Store marketplace. Valve managing director Gabe Newell has labelled the operating system a “catastrophe” and warned that it could force many PC developers out of business.

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