Steam branches out into software

Benchmarking and machinima software are debut titles for Steam's Software store

Valve's Steam digital download store has been the benchmark for PC and Mac users for years now, offering easy access to a vast library of games from a huge range of developers.

Since Steam's launch in 2003, both the iOS App Store and Mac App Store from Apple have enjoyed record-breaking success in software sales. The Windows Store for Windows 8 is jumping on the bandwagon, too, with the new operating system's imminent release.

Steam is dipping its toes delicately and gingerly into the world of digital software sales, of the store dedicated to software. The section currently has seven titles, one of which is free.

The other six titles enjoy a 10 per cent discount as part of the launch promotion, running until October 9. Joining Valve's own free Source Filmmaker software are GameMaker: Studio, 3D-Coat, ArtRage Studio Pro, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 11, and CameraBag 2.

These titles are aimed at game developers, graphic artists, machinima filmmakers or benchmarking gamers — there's no productivity software, no antivirus or utilities on offer. These software packages are the ones that gamers — Steam's core, dedicated demographic — are most likely to purchase.

Popular industry-standard benchmarking software 3DMark11 is already the top-selling title in the category. Steam says many more titles are in the works for the Steam software store, and it's likely that most will integrate with the SteamWorks service that means automatic updates and bug-fixes are rolled out automatically.

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Campbell Simpson

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