In the nine years Valve’s Steam digital download service has been online it has offered nothing but games. Expansion has happened to include other platforms including Mac, and Linux support should arrive before the end of 2012. But again, it has always been about games. That looks likely to change, though.
Recently Valve decided to license the Source engine for an animated movie and launched Source Filmmaker into beta to support the creation of cutscenes or even whole movies using its tools. It seems likely such work will be supported and sold through Steam.
Movies aren’t the only new category being considered if the Steam app for Android is to be believed. If you look at the categories listed in the app it goes well beyond gaming. Accounting, photo editing, utilities, and audio production are just a few of the currently empty categories listed. Could it be Steam is set to branch out and become a fully-fledged app store in its own right?
With over 40 million users, there’s certainly going to be more than enough developers willing to list their apps on Steam. Combined with Steam Greenlight, it also means only the apps users want to purchase make it as far as the storefront.
If Valve does decide to open up to apps beyond games, then the company would be in a very strong position from the offset. If you consider Windows, Mac, and soon Linux platforms are already supported for games, Steam could take on Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Store, the Mac App Store, and offer Linux users a new destination for software. There’s nothing to stop Valve targeting Android, too.