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Steam to challenge Windows Store by offering non-gaming software

Valve's Steam service started out as a way for people to download the full version of Half-Life 2 in 2004. It has since expanded to include over 1,000 PC and Mac games from pretty much every major game publisher, as well as many indie games. Valve has said that there are over 40 million registered users on Steam. Recently, Valve confirmed it was working on porting Steam to Linux.

Today, Valve announced that it will be expanding beyond games for the Steam service. The company announced that, beginning on September 5th, it will start selling non-gaming software products on Steam. Specific products were not announced but Valve did state:

The Software titles coming to Steam range from creativity to productivity. 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.

Valve also said non-gaming software titles can also be submitted for consideration for Valve's upcoming Steam Greenlight program, which lets developers use social networking to convince Valve to publish their software on Steam.

It will be interesting to see which companies are among the first to launch their software products on Steam, which already has a massive user base for its game titles.

Notably, this software store will soon compete directly against Microsoft when it launches Windows 8. Considering Valve is heavily entrenched in the software distribution for gaming, this could pose a serious challenge to Microsoft.  

Source: Valve press release

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