Expanded Steam to Compete with Apple's App Store

Dennis Faas's picture

The Apple App Store might be the single most important reason for Apple's dominance of the smartphone and tablet markets. But Valve, which is responsible for the wildly popular Steam video game distribution platform, now appears ready to challenge Apple, Microsoft, and Google with its own app store.

According to reports, Valve is preparing to expand its operations into non-gaming areas, including computer applications.

For those not familiar with Steam, it's basically an app store for video games.

With tens of millions of users and more than one thousand games available for instant download, Steam has become a very popular digital media distribution service. Users simply create an account and download the software they want (for a fee, of course).

More Than 1,100 Games Available Through Steam

Steam users can easily access more than 1,100 different games. Because the service includes both new titles and old favorites, and because it often offers discount prices, Steam is extremely popular. (Source: steampowered.com)

Valve -- which is responsible not only for Steam but also several hit games, including Half-Life and Portal -- says it is hoping to take its success with the games distribution service one step further.

Starting September 5, 2012, the company will begin offering new types of software, including a variety of creativity and productivity tools.

Although Valve hasn't revealed anything specific just yet about this new venture, experts speculate that the new apps could include video and audio production tools, photo editing software, and even accounting programs.

Cross-Platform Software Could Give Valve Much-Needed Edge

All of this, of course, would put Steam into direct competition with the Apple App Store, as well as with Android's app distribution service. Steam will also be competing with Microsoft's upcoming Windows Store, which will be part of the Windows 8 release.

There's no doubt that Valve is up against some tough competition here. Although Steam is wildly popular, so far it doesn't carry the name power associated with similar products from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

But using Steam does have one significant benefit: many games currently available for Steam are made for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

If this characteristic continues into the new, expanded Steam Store, Valve may be able to eat into the market shares currently enjoyed by its competitors. (Source: pcworld.com)

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