Gabe Newell has been speaking out about the future of Steam quite a bit recently, with a lot of focus of expanding its reach and giving better opportunities to smaller developers. However, he’s also been thinking about having much less Valve involvement, replacing its current gatekeeper like system with an API that lets anyone, publish anything.
While many business heads would consider describing themselves as a “bottleneck,” as a poor economic decision, Newell has no such fears. As part of a talk at the University of Texas last week (if you’ve got an hour, here’s the full video), he said just that: “So we have all these hard-working people who other companies can call up and say, ‘Hey, would you put my game on Steam? We’re putting out three games a day right now. Whether we want to or not we’re becoming a bottleneck in terms of content being connected with users.”
To get around this “bottleneck,” Newell believes the best way is to turn Steam into lots of curated stores, instead of one big one. Theoretically, this would mean that books, movies, 3D printer blueprints could all be available through Steam. Anything that can be digitally sold could be sold and downloaded by customers.
He did say that there was the potential there for viruses and malware, something that users don’t have to worry about with the current Steam setup. However Valve has already trialled this sort of system with Team Fortress 2 user creations and it’s worked very well. In-fact some content creators that produce hats and guns for the game, are making six figure salaries just from selling the stuff – and not small ones either.
“If you have a collection of games that you own and you play, and one of your friends decides to buy a game through your trivially created store, then you should get a percentage of that revenue,” explained Newell. “Now, most people won’t have interesting collections of games, or interesting friends, I don’t know, but some people will go to a lot of effort treating the store as another kind of experience.”
KitGuru Says: Well this would certainly be a change up from what we’ve been used to with Steam. Would you guys like to see something like this, or do you think it would clutter or devalue the current Steam experience? Let us know on the Kitguru Facebook or @KitGuruPress.