It's Official: Steam Expanding Beyond Gaming

Last month, users of the Steam app for Android discovered a new batch of categories when using the Search function to find games on Valve's digital distribution platform. Under the "Genre" section, the new listings included Accounting, Animation & Modeling, Audio Production, Design & Illustration, Education, Photo Editing, Software Training, Utilities, Video Production, and Web Publishing. Valve unsurprisingly made no comment about the new discovery.
Until now, that is. The company announced that its Steam platform will offer its first set of non-gaming "Software" titles starting September 5, 2012. Ranging from productivity to creativity, many of these launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save files to the user's personal Steam Cloud space for on-the-go productivity.
"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."
More Software titles will be added in an ongoing fashion following the September 5th launch, and developers will be welcome to submit Software titles via Steam Greenlight, the company said.
As we indicated last month, this could be Valve's assault on Amazon. The two companies are seemingly going head-to-head on the PC gaming front, fighting for the consumer dollar with rock-bottom prices in various promotions. It only makes sense that Valve wants to tackle Amazon on the non-gaming front while also bundling software with its Steamworks features.
Valve may also be gearing up to compete directly with Microsoft. Bossman Gabe Newell has clearly made his feelings public about Windows 8, joining other big-name developers who feel that Microsoft is creating a walled garden with the new Windows platform. Currently Valve has not indicated what software products will be included in the initial launch, or if they will be compatible with the new Windows 8 UI.
Expect to see Valve release details of its initial software lineup soon.

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