The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Mass-distribution store debunked

Mundane development changes fuel rumours :: June 5th, 2006 :: General :: 14 Responses

Reports of a new storefront for Steam and the hosting of images from three Activision-published games on it (thanks Jobye and hahnchen) have been debunked by Valve as configuration slip-ups relating to run-of-the-mill development.

“We’ve been testing a lot of different games as we iterate on the Steam filesystem,” said Steam developer John Cook, “but that doesn’t mean any of them will be for sale”. The new Store sub-domain, storefront-dist, was explained to be the result of recent load balancing upgrades.

Valve’s use of third party games echoes DiStream’s use of demos to test the Triton filesystem, to the extent that Valve are likely responding to their technological advances.

However, the news leaves an important question hanging again. With Atari’s announcement last month that their GamersFirst budget range would be distributed through Steam, the risk arose of their sizable back catalogue swamping the indie offerings in the Store today, threatening a return to the shelf-space issues of the past and the loss of one of digital distribution’s most important benefits. The new server could well have become a ‘warehouse’ of sorts for such mass-distribution deals, keeping Steam’s indie offerings on even footing, but it now seems that this is not the case.

Unfortunately, while what will be done to avoid the situation is an “excellent question”, Valve are not inclined to give us their excellent answer just yet!

14 Responses to this post:


  1. Jobye Says:

    Ah dang! I was hoping for Vampires: The Masquerade Bloodlines to make it on Steam! Oh well, just going to have to wait for Laidback’s upcoming title ^_^!

  2. DiSTuRbEd Says:

    Question is, why upload all those pictures of games that will never come out via Steam? Just wierd if you ask me, hopefully we’ll find out soon. πŸ˜‰

  3. Zavaro Says:

    Well, Vampires: The Masquerade Bloodlines is also one of the games shown on the Steam Store.

    Game screenshots listed:

    -Quake III (Removed)
    -Quake IV (Removed)
    -Vampires: The Masquerades Bloodlines
    -The Ship (Source-iteration)

    The Ship (2/Source, whatever you want to call it)

    Putting up the pictures themselves seems like a bit of a hassle, unless they were really going to be used as Steam content.

    Bloodlines wouldn’t be hard to port over to Steam with all of Steam’s bells and whistles, as it uses the same engine as Half-Life 2. I do believe more people would play Bloodlines if the game was on Steam, looking at the success of Darwinia, Red Orchestra and the other Third-Party releases.

    Now, The Ship will in fact be an upcoming Steam game. So those screenshots will most likely be the ones shown within the Store in the future.

  4. Tom Edwards Says:

    They were probably testing an automated image uploading system, or something.

  5. boglito Says:

    Too bad.
    Although I have q4 and vtmb (and q3 isn’t really a game in my book) I want steam to grow. Online distribution is a huge benefit to us people not living in the land of the free and an online-publishing deal between valve and activision would have been extremely good news.

    I find it very annoying (and incredible) that valve gave retail distribution to EA, who are going to establish themselves as a competitor to steam, instead of making ties to another publisher that would be willing to partner with steam.

    Competition is good, but if steam is to be successful in the upcoming battle against EAdownloader and distream they are going to need more juice than just inhouse-developed titles and the odd indie-title.

    Distream doesn’t look too big right now, but they are going to grow strong with prey, which looks absolutely stunning, and I think we all know that EA, witht the incredible amount and diversity of titles they control, can make their online service successful if they put their minds to it.

    The atari-deal will help steam if put into action, but atari isn’t the hottest publisher around (understatement) so steam needs another big partner.

    Personally I love steam (can you tell?) because it offers me what I consider to be the best terms of usage of any sizeable online distribution service I know of. The “worst” thing that could happen would be that steam is outmaneuvered by another provider with more content but worse terms of usage.


  6. Tom Edwards Says:

    EA Downloader isn’t in the same field as Steam and Triton. It’s a replacement for an FTP server, pure and simple. Last time I heard, you even had to go to an external website to enter your credit card details.

  7. hahnchen Says:

    Q3 isn’t a game in your book? Quake 3 is probably the greatest deathmatch game ever. I remember when all the reviews came out and UT got a better score because of all the nifty features and the like. But then a few months later, I read an editorial in PC Zone on how Quake 3 had somehow become the only game anyone played in the office. It’s just so pure and intense, deathmatch distilled into its finest form.

    EA Downloader might not have the fancy streaming functions that Steam and Triton have, but it does have an estabished player base which Triton doesn’t, and that’s important. I see the biggest stumbling block for Triton is that no one is going to pick it up. I think the companies which have gone down another route, and has more added value with established userbases like Gameshadow and Xfire will surely jump into the digital download fold soon.

  8. boglito Says:

    Tom Edwards said:

    EA Downloader isn’t in the same field as Steam and Triton. It’s a replacement for an FTP server, pure and simple. Last time I heard, you even had to go to an external website to enter your credit card details.

    EAdownloader is still small, but EA has said that its success has been suprising, and I think they are going to pursue online distribution in a big way. Not doing it makes very little sense.

    On the topic of triton I think prey will do good things for them. If triton handles the online distribution of prey nicely then they have at least one aaa title that people like me are going to want to buy online. (It is likely to be wastly less expensive on triton than in retail stores in this god-forsaken country I live in.)

    I was suprised to see prey on triton, but it makes a little sense too. They (3drealms/hhs) probably got a very good deal, and triton gets a AAA game.


    ps. on the topic of q3 that’s just opinions, and really not worthy of discussion

  9. Zavaro Says:

    Well as it seems, they’ve taken down the other pictures as well.

    Strange, but we all knew it was going to happen anyway.

    I wish they would release Vampires on Steam. I have never played it.

  10. mAster Says:

    is this the new design (click all games, media or whatever) hmpf? πŸ˜€

  11. Tom Edwards Says:

    Good job. πŸ™‚

  12. Barnz Says:

    I didn’t know this was posted here. I’m the one who found the pictures. πŸ™‚


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