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Default Valve - Steamworks Released to Developers

January 30th, 2008, 01:36
While not related to RPGs in any specific form, the announcement of the free release of Steamworks by Valve may have an impact on the shape of future PC game sales and should be worth discussing. The official announcement can be found at Valve but Rock, Paper, Shotgun helps make the use clear. From the press release:
January 29, 2008 – Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announce Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools – ranging from copy protection to social networking services to server browsing – is now available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide.

Steamworks, the same suite of tools used in best-selling PC titles Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box, is available for all PC games distributed via retail and leading online platforms such as Steam. The services included in Steamworks may be used a la carte or in any combination.
…and from RPS:
The suite will allow developers to perform many of the tricks that have distinguished Valve, such as monitoring sales stats, hefty anti-piracy measures, automatic updating, voice chat, multiplayer matchmaking, social networking and even the ability to run beta testing. The possibilities this opens up for independent developers, and smaller publishing companies, could be enormous.
It’s a bit confusing what this will actually means, so here’s what we understand: A publisher can sell their game in the shops or distribute it digitally via their own system, customers install it, and then have Steam drop in the executable. It kills off day-one piracy in a single shot. Bam. Then updates will be delivered automatically for the game via Steam, and all the post-release stats and tools will be available, with Valve charging no one any money for this at all.
Someone, somewhere will still find a hole for some 0-day piracy but this might make it awfully hard. Either way, it's a killer business move by Valve. Thoughts?
More information.
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January 30th, 2008, 01:36
Actually this might make it easier for the pirates to crack those games and put them up online if this becomes wide spread. Since everyone will use the same software to protect their games then generic cracks that only have to be slightly modified to the specific game will come out and make it even faster for them to put it online.

I don't think this is a good idea for the aforementioned and also this would require people to have their own internet connection to play the games which isn't good for people that don't have broadband internet.
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January 30th, 2008, 04:36
Yeah, but you can't crack something until you have the executable to play with and this will eliminate (or reduce) leaks from the duplication and distribution system. They send the disk off to duplication early, you buy the box and then Steam downloads then executable.

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January 30th, 2008, 07:45
So what is the benefit for Valve? Would this free suite allow games to be available for Steam?

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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January 30th, 2008, 09:09
No, but it means Steam gets installed on a bunch more computers and solidifies its position as the leading DD platform, which is obviously good for them.

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January 30th, 2008, 09:56
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
So what is the benefit for Valve? Would this free suite allow games to be available for Steam?
Here is a good quote. He goes into more detail in some interviews I have watched, you can Google them if you like. Whatever people think about Steam or Valve games, Newell is a pretty smart guy and a shrewd businessman.

GI: Speaking of shelve space, obviously you have flexibility of virtual shelf space on Steam. But – even since the last time we did an interview – it seems like it has just taken off. Every week there’s a new e-mail saying, “Now you can get this library on Steam.” There are other places to get games, but you seem to be the hot spot. Do you see that expanding even more?

Newell: I think that the issue there is how to be useful and how to provide tools to software developers and software publishers and whoever does the best job of that. I think that there’s this sort of false sense that all you need to do is move bits over a wire and you’ve created a good solution. But I think that things should be able to be tracked. One of the things we did for one of the publishers was we helped them find out they had a really bad grey-market problem, and that products that were being sent to one area were getting sent to one area were getting relocated to a different area. That’s about having a much clearer picture into the behavior of what customers are doing. They were shipping stuff into China and it was coming back straight into the U.S. and showing up on eBay.

Steam becomes a lot more valuable to people when you’re building that kind of facility. They have 24-7 real-time visibility into what’s working from a sales perspective. So for example, just for our own products, we do the Day of Defeat free weekends and we can see that not only are we driving more sales on Steam, but we see a spike of sales at retail. As soon as the weekend is over, we can see that that same exact customer goes and buys a retail copy that sort of thing gets the game developers really excited about having this information that they haven’t had before. I think it’s that kind of facility that’s going to determine who will be successful providers of these kinds of platforms.
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January 30th, 2008, 12:28
I personally do not like the Steam software. I find it clumsy and having a bad UI. But I do use steam and will continue to use steam because I like the idea behind it.

So keep it up Valve (and develop a better UI).
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January 30th, 2008, 15:16
Originally Posted by Roi Danton View Post
I personally do not like the Steam software. I find it clumsy and having a bad UI. But I do use steam and will continue to use steam because I like the idea behind it.

So keep it up Valve (and develop a better UI).
I think that everything about Steam has improved dramatically since the launch of Half-Life 2 … I don't even know how many games I have on the system at this point. But I really love the ability to install games on the fly …

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January 30th, 2008, 19:03
Som games cant be modded (iirc) if they are steam versions but othervice I have no qualms with it.
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January 30th, 2008, 20:20
so..its a matter of positioning itself to became more familiar among developers and to increase traffic to their DD model?

Maybe something like MySQL did by being open source and free to use for non-commercial users? Or like McAffee and Id with their shareware models?

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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January 30th, 2008, 20:39
I don't like the Steam front-end much either, but it gets the job done. It's great marketing; I just tried Portal: First Slice, and I've got Portal all pre-loaded and set to go for $19.95, which means I will grab it the next time I want something nice and light to play with.
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