Steam Adding Creativity Software in September - Important Context for SL's Move to Service
Steam is adding non-game creativity and productivity software tools to the service next month, a pretty major shift for Valve's online distribution service, which has only distributed games since its inception over a decade ago. At the risk of dating myself, I first chatted with Valve's Gabe Newell about it shortly after he announced the service at GDC 2002, and when I wrote an update in 2006, it only had 5 million monthly active users; since then, the userbase has grown to 40 million. Now, if I'm reading the announcement right, the plan is to also turn Steam into a cloud-based platform for creating and sharing content:
Many of the launch titles will take advantage of popular Steamworks features, such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to your personal Steam Cloud space so your files may travel with you.
That announcement came shortly before Valve announced it's also adding more features for sharing user-generated game content:
This update focuses on highlighting and enabling the best user-created screenshots, videos, and Workshop items for games across Steam while making it easier for the community to discuss their favorite games. Every game on Steam will have a new Game Hub. The Hubs highlight the most popular user-created screenshots, videos, and Steam Workshop items as rated by the community and combine it with related news, discussions, and comments for the game all in one central location.
For regular New World Notes readers, this is important context for understanding the recent news that Second Life is also coming to Steam. While SL will likely be marketed to the userbase as an online gaming platform, it'll also become a part of Steam after the service has shifted its focus from mere games to user-generated content around games and beyond games. If Linden Lab is smart about this (and since CEO Rod Humble is a game industry vet, I kind of think he is), they'll also market SL to the Steam community as a creativity tool for machinima, screenshots, 3D prototyping, and other content, which will in turn be shared on SL's Game Hub.
Hat tip: Bay Sweetwater, who has worthwhile thoughts about what this move means for machinima and other user-generated content.Tweet