Posted on March 5, 2014, Mike Sharkey Do it Yourself: Steam Becoming a ‘Self-Publishing System’
Valve is working to make Steam a place where developers can publish their own games.
That’s the biggest takeaway from the Reddit AMA Gabe Newell and a handful of other Valve devs took part in last night. Yes, the inevitable Half-Life 3, er Ricochet 2, question was asked, but Gaben had nothing new to say on the topic.
He did, however, reveal that Valve is actively working to make Steam a place where developers can self-publish, an evolution of Early Access and Greenlight. As part of that effort, Valve also wants to make it easier for average Joes and Janes to contribute their own content to the games they love. Here are the relevant Q’s from Redditors and A’s from Newell et al:
Q: Has the decision to allow publishers to have their own storefronts and manage their own “stock” gone forward, or was that just an idea being kicked around?
Valve: We realized that a store ought to be [user generated content] (not just for publishers).
Q: What improvements will we see out of Source Engine 2?
Valve: The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see [user generated content] having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won’t work if users themselves have to create content.
Q: What is your vision for the Steam platform and PC gaming over the next ten years?
Valve: The key benefit to Steam is to shorten the length of the loop. Longer term, we see that working at the level of individual gamers, where we think of everyone as creating and publishing experience.
Q: Before Steam Greenlight was introduced, what was the process of adding a game to the Steam store?
Valve: We got bottle-necked pretty fast on tools and decision making which lead us to Greenlight, and is now leading us to make Steam a self-publishing system.
Valve’s comments follow the release of new Steamworks tools that allow developers to create and run their own Steam Sales, so it appears Steam is well on its way to becoming a self-publishing platform as we speak.
As for Newell’s specific response to the Ricochet 2 question, here’s what he had to say: “When we announced our products years in advance in the past and then were really late delivering them, it was pretty painful for both us and the community. We’d rather not repeat that.”