Steam download service moving beyond games

Starting in September, the Steam online distribution platform is adding creativity and productivity apps for both PC and Mac.

Video game publisher/developer Valve created the Steam distribution platform to offer easy downloads and installation for Windows and Mac games. The Steam app and online store work for both Valve's own games, including Half-Life and Portal, and games from other publishers, including both hits such as Skyrim and indie games like Torchlight. Now, the company plans to add nongaming apps, starting in September.

In a brief online statement, the company says: "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."

The Steam software store opens September 5 (although there's no confirmed list of apps or publishers yet), with additional software added continuously after that, similar to how Steam works for games. Besides ease of installation, the major advantage of the Steam platform to date has been the ability to easily re-download and reinstall apps on different computers, without having to juggle or reset serial numbers, and presumably Steam's software store would operate the same way.

About the author

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.


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