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Productivity and Creativity Software Coming To Steam 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the infinite-app-stores dept.
lga writes "Valve announced today in a press release that they are expanding Steam beyond games and will start to deliver other software. This means that Steam will compete directly with Microsoft's Windows Store and perhaps explains some of Gabe Newell's disdain for Windows 8. The ability to save documents to Steam Cloud space also brings Valve into competition with the likes of Dropbox and Skydrive. According to the press release, '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.'"
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Productivity and Creativity Software Coming To Steam

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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Githaron (2462596) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:24PM (#40923043)
    Just do it after you create and release Half-Life 3.
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:31PM (#40923143)

      Half-Life 3 has been re-imagined as a suite of image editing software rather than a first-person single player action game, and will ship with this release.

      • Re:Great! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:41PM (#40923275)

        I see that they're following the example of Master of Orion III, which instead of creating a sequel, they released some tax software with an alien interface.

      • Re:Great! (Score:4, Funny)

        by toejam13 (958243) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:50PM (#40923397)

        So then, the new method to kill your foes in HL3 will be:

        Select the wand highlight tool
        Click on your opponent
        Select the Gaussian Obliterate tool, with pixel radius set to 50px
        If foe is not obliterated enough, select the Obliterate More tool

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course, it'll be a first-person image editing application.

        Single pixels gets done by your 9mm, spray effects gets done by the mp5 or shotgun while the gravity gun with various implements takes care of cutting, filling etc. Wanna fill? Take a barrel of the stuff. Of course you'll get your obligatory Portal Device to for managing layers/navigation, etc etc.

        Sounds a lot more exciting than Photoshop to me.

  • Interesting ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:25PM (#40923051)

    Their focus on Linux suddenly starts looking differently ...

    • by maxdread (1769548)

      And if they start to move into streaming apps/games through steam, the OS you're using will be irrelevant.

  • by The Raven (30575) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:28PM (#40923091) Homepage

    Valve has, numerous times, banned users from Steam for violating policies (such as cheating). When only games are affected this is draconian, but understandable. However, what about when your kid cheats, and that gets your copy of Office taken away? All the documents you created?

    This is something that will have to be addressed in the TOS before I would be comfortable putting too much in their care.

    I should note the same issue affects Google... this is not unique to Steam.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Valve has, numerous times, banned users from Steam for violating policies (such as cheating). When only games are affected this is draconian, but understandable. However, what about when your kid cheats, and that gets your copy of Office taken away? All the documents you created?

      This is something that will have to be addressed in the TOS before I would be comfortable putting too much in their care.

      I should note the same issue affects Google... this is not unique to Steam.

      Wow so let's see now. If I pay for software and do it legitimately then I am beholden to some single vendor who could take everything away from me that I paid for, tell me how it's all allowed in the ToS, and I'd go bankrupt trying to sue them in court before I ever got close to a verdict that would probably not be in my favor anyway. ... or ... I can go to the Pirate Bay and make a couple of quick downloads and have the assurance that I can do anything I want with it and use it any way I want and never ha

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816)

      I am not aware of a single instance of someone being banned from Steam for cheating. Banned from VAC servers, yes, multiplayer in certain games, yes, but not from Steam in general. Now, users have gotten banned for things like trying to activate a hacked game or phishing, but I've never heard of an account ban for cheating or other minor offenses.

    • by billcopc (196330)

      Agreed 100%. In fact, I find the notion of banning an entire account absolutely vile. Banning users at all is vile. Protect the non-cheating population, sure, but cheaters paid for the damned game/app, let them use it. Cheating has been a part of gaming since the dawn of home computing. They should deal with it far more gracefully, like segregating cheaters to play against each other in a separate lobby (can't remember the company that did that). Even with MMOs, they could shift cheaters to a differen

      • by maxdread (1769548)

        Users don't get banned for cheating, you don't lose access to your account or games, you are simply banned from servers that use valves cheat protection.

        • by billcopc (196330)

          Depends on the network. On Steam, yes they're fairly respectful about it. VAC only bans you from other VAC servers and that's mostly fine. Every other delivery platform I know of simply locks your account, so you can't even play solo games anymore. I would love to be educated otherwise on this, but it has been the major reason why I have a Steam account and nothing else.

    • by kwerle (39371)

      I should note the same issue affects Google... this is not unique to Steam.

      I have local copies of all my google docs, thanks to google drive. And they're backed up (using time machine), so even if google nuked 'em before removing access, I'd still have copies.

      • I hate to break it to you, but Google Drive doesn't actually copy the docs down to your machine; the files you see are just metadata that references the file in Google Docs.

        When it comes to syncing Google Docs office files, the Google Drive software only downloads a link to your documents and spreadsheets. Click on one to open it and you're taken to the browser to edit the online version. If you're offline, you're out of luck. The actual file isn't downloaded to your computer, so it's useless as an offline backup option.

        http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/blogs/gadgets-on-the-go/hands-on-google-drive-20120429-1xsun.html [smh.com.au]

        Files created in Google Docs get their own file type â" .gdoc and .gsheet, though these aren't true local copies of the files. Instead they're links that open files in Google Docs, making them useless when you're offline.

        http://www.zdnet.com/google-drive-4010026028/ [zdnet.com]

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          I hate to break it to you, but Google Drive doesn't actually copy the docs down to your machine; the files you see are just metadata that references the file in Google Docs.

          Only if you don't set up offline access. [google.com]

          • Offline access stores the files in Chrome (probably in Local Storage), not in the Drive directory.

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              Offline access stores the files in Chrome (probably in Local Storage), not in the Drive directory.

              Yes, but my post was in response to this:
              I hate to break it to you, but Google Drive doesn't actually copy the docs down to your machine
              If you enable offline access the files are copied to your machine.

              • Not all of them, and only if he uses Chrome, which we don't know if he does, and only if he enables Offline, which he probably hadn't.

        • by kwerle (39371)

          I hate to break it to you, but Google Drive doesn't actually copy the docs down to your machine; the files you see are just metadata that references the file in Google Docs.

          Ugh. Silly me - since files I drop in there are mirrored on gdrive, I assumed that the documents they dropped there work the same way.

          There are plenty of ways to get data out of google, of course, but it's good to know that the way I thought it was happening is not. I'll have to look into something a little less automagical...

          Thanks for pointing out my error.

    • Surely they can fine-tune their banning.
    • by Altanar (56809)
      Why would you trust their TOS, when they can change it at a later date and disable your account if you refuse to the new terms? http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/xor0j/i_asked_steam_support_if_i_could_keep_playing_my/ [reddit.com]
    • When Valve bans you for cheating, your account isn't taken away. Your ability to play on VAC secured multiplayer servers is disabled. Sometimes it's only for the one specific game, too. So you wouldn't have your copy of Office taken for your child being banned for cheating.

      In order to get your account shut down, they would need to do something particularly bad, like defrauding another user.

      Not to say I agree with what Valve is doing. I really think this is a stupid idea. The idea of Steam being a general pu

    • by jmerlin (1010641)
      Even more at issue: Steam's "subscriber policy" implies that all software purchased in Steam is merely a subscription to Steam's license, meaning you have no license, no ownership, no copy ownership, and effectively no rights at all afforded to you by any Federal, State, or Local laws regarding licensed software, copyrights, or consumer purchases that do not apply to subscriptions. It is unacceptable in a general purpose software store to be required to bind all rights granted under law regarding the purch
  • Install locations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xian97 (714198) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:28PM (#40923093)
    I hope that you can install the applications anywhere instead of only under the Steam directory without having to resort to symlinks like you do now if you want to split up your SteamApps directory to different locations.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      And along with that, fix whatever causes the steam apps folder to be marked as "all changed" from Time Machine's perspective every time you open Steam on OS X, causing unnecessary multi-gig backups. I had to exclude the steam apps folder for this reason. It can't be subtly changing every file?

      • I configured time machine to ignore that directory entirely. If you even run into a situation where you have to restore, you don't need Time Machine to do that for you. You can just pull everything back via Steam anyway.

        • by Kalriath (849904)

          Do you have any idea what that would cost? Restoring my SteamApps folder from Steam itself would cost me no less than $500 in bandwidth alone.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        And along with that, fix whatever causes the steam apps folder to be marked as "all changed" from Time Machine's perspective every time you open Steam on OS X, causing unnecessary multi-gig backups. I had to exclude the steam apps folder for this reason. It can't be subtly changing every file?

        What makes you so sure it can't be? Part of Steam's copy protection is encrypted executables, so what makes you certain that it isn't encrypting them with a different key each time the app starts, or decrypting them again or something?

    • Also, when you're able to run them anywhere.
      Steam needs to separate accounts from app instances. For example, I should be able to run Photoshop or Maya from computer "A" while my game is running on computer "B", despite them being on the same account. What should be blocked is running a copy of the same application simultaneously on computer "A" and "B".

      At the moment, instance permission is account-level, rather than application-level. If they want to bring in non-games, that would be a deal-breaker for me

      • by Cederic (9623)

        Thanks for articulating a point I made elsewhere in this thread rather more eloquently than I managed.

        Assuming people use a single PC is a naive and archaic assumption. I can't even support it as an anti-piracy facility as I should be able to loan games to friends - I have a dozen game CDs out of my house right now..

      • by aXis100 (690904)

        Offline mode should cover this to a fair extent. It will just make cloud access difficult, but you could work around it.

  • If they come out with an operating system to compete with Windows and other windowed environments, it had better be 3d and run on the steam engine. The whole desktop ought to be a virtual 3D desktop, and all office productivity can now be done via gaming joystick. That might be awesome.
    • by BronsCon (927697)
      "That's not porn and I'm not jerking off; it's the SteamOffice tutorial and I'm working on my document navigation technique!" Would *your* boss buy it?
    • Oooooooh no. Last time someone did that, some twerp came around, shouted "I know this! It's UNIX!", and undid months of important secret work!

  • So Steam is going from being a games repository to being a general repo. Halfway to a Linux distribution of their own.
  • expanding Steam beyond games and will start to deliver other software

    On linux?

    This means that Steam will compete directly with

    apt-get install whatever

    I'm having trouble thinking of a proprietary piece of software I need... depends on your hobbies I suppose.

    One service they could provide is distributing stuff thats "free" in quotes but not really free. I have not checked lately but I though ye olde heekscad was not quite DFSG (would be glad to hear I'm wrong) and I'm almost certain that xylinx fpga software is "free" but not DFSG-free so thats why there's no simple apt-get solution to install those monsters. Its at the p

    • by cupantae (1304123)

      I doubt you're in their target market.

    • I'm having trouble thinking of a proprietary piece of software I need... depends on your hobbies I suppose.

      Apart from games [pineight.com], a lot of people need proprietary video player software to stream rented non-free films and non-free TV shows. The software is non-free due to compliance and robustness rules imposed by the movie studios. And a lot of people need proprietary tax preparation wizard software to prepare income tax returns. This software is non-free because tax software publishers treat their machine-readable interpretations of annual tax law amendments as a valuable trade secret.

      Its at the point where I assume if there is no Debian package of a cool piece of software its because its not DFSG free

      There is a DFSG-free (zlib lic

      • by Cederic (9623)

        a lot of people need proprietary video player software to stream rented non-free films and non-free TV shows. The software is non-free due to compliance and robustness rules imposed by the movie studios.

        Which is interesting. I can stream live football from my preferred club's site (which requires paid subscription), I can stream live sport, movies and other TV programmes from my satellite TV provider's website and I can stream a whole ton of shit from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all without having to install any applications I didn't already have on my PC.

        Unless you count Firefox as proprietary and non-free. I guess you could. Some people would include Flash and Silverlight too, but they're technologies I h

    • by Hatta (162192)

      You know what I'd like to pay someone (a very small amount) to do for me? package emc2 for Debian.

      Sounds like it would take a real Einstein to do that.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "On linux?"
      Yes. Games, for one thing. Valve is building their games for a linux distribution.

      "apt-get install whatever"
      Does that pull down your data? history? save games? do it automatically?

    • by Cederic (9623)

      I'm having trouble thinking of a proprietary piece of software I need

      Excluding games, I only have a couple myself - the software that came with my satellite HD tv decoder, and Adobe Lightroom.

      There is however a massive market out there for desktop applications, and several for which there just aren't capable Free alternatives (such as, indeed, Adobe Lightroom).

  • by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:37PM (#40923221)

    ... software just based on how long it takes to launch things. If I want to play something it's not a big deal to wait the 10-20 seconds it takes to launch steam and waiting for it to connect to my account to allow the game to launch, but if I have some software I need to use for work and/or open/close several times that would get pretty annoying.

    This said the steam advantages (and the inevitable steam sales) might make it more likely that people would overlook the speed issues, I am not sure.

  • Steam Cloud (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lynchenstein (559620) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:40PM (#40923265)
    You gotta love that name.
  • Starting 05/09/2012 (Score:5, Informative)

    by lga (172042) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:44PM (#40923331) Homepage Journal

    I should have said in the summary that this all starts on the 5th of September.

  • I'm not sure what to think of this- by becoming a direct competitor to the Windows 8 app store, isn't Steam losing its differentiation as a specialty store for games? This might end up hurting them in the long run.
  • by Sean0michael (923458) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:56PM (#40923485)
    I like the sound of this initially. One drawback to current App stores is they are locked to a single platform (ie. OS). Apple's App store only works on Apple devices. Android's various marketplaces only work on Android devices. the Windows App store apps will work only on Windows devices.

    Here Steam has the chance to let the same apps work on any OS you want as long as the app developers will support it. Login to your Steam account anywhere and install that must-have-software on any machine no matter where you are or what you have. And if your application can be easily distributed through one channel to all your users, so much the better for you! I hope Steam finds success here.
  • Danger will! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Splab (574204) on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @05:59PM (#40923511)

    So, out of curiosity I decided to disagree to the last update to Steam EULA - you will lose *all* access, not just future updates, but everything you have or had with steam will be blocked unless you agree to their terms. Note, their terms and conditions specifically calls for a 30 days heads up for you to save your stuff, this is nice and all, except you don't get 30 days warning and you sure as hell don't get to access your offline items.

    And they want us to trust them with our files?

    Oh, and their support response to inquiries with regards to the illegal blockage of my applications. "We believe this update to terms and conditions are in your best interest".

    • Note, their terms and conditions specifically calls for a 30 days heads up for you to save your stuff, this is nice and all, except you don't get 30 days warning

      Sorry, I could not understand this statement. I am not a Steam user (never have been), so maybe there's some context that makes this seemingly nonsensical sentence... sensible.

  • I would never use a system like this for business or produtivity (that includes all cloud crap like Office 365, Google Docs etc as well). The motivation is purely to stone-wall other app stores off (such as the Windows App Store) and take as much market share and control as possible rather than to provide a fair and reasonable service.

    The moment you're a customer, they don't care about you as you're locked in. Also the motivations - sorry but:

    easy installation - it's not hard to install anything.

    automati

    • automatic updating - most software does this.

      Java on windows. i have to go clean computers regularly and remove old java installs and then install the new java. not all software updates as nicely as linux it dose on linux

    • For many people, it is hard to find and install stuff; more importantly, it's very hard to know what software you can trust not to copy your banking password and spam your friends. Steam is setting itself up as another "garden" just like the App Stores of mobile.

      As for automatic updating, that's a bonus for the developer, not so much the user, 'though I do get annoyed that every single Windows application has its own updater. A centralized system like Apt (or in this case, Steam) is so much nicer.

      As for the

  • Stema may be one of the better game services but you still don't *really* own all your games and can lose everything by them taking it away, going out of business or someone hacking your account.

    Why can't people just sell software that's not locked into their own product?
    • by geekoid (135745)

      I get your concern, but:
      1) I get title pretty damn cheap.
      2) not likely to go out of business
      3) I can turn off the connection.
      4) Steam taking away things will shoot them in the foot, so that isn't likely except for abuse.
      5) Steam handles 'hacked' accounts pretty well.
      6) Going out of business? it's not like a judge would let them turn off everyone's games.

      Of course, all that data is just used to create risk analysis. So in regards to games, my risk is very low, and the cost of games is cheap enough to out wa

  • Nah, I couldn't print my paper because stupid Steam failed to connect to my account, so my office program locked me out.

    I'll have it tomorrow when the internet's fixed, I swear!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Well then, since it's a sync, and you can run the programs off line, you get an F.

      Nice try, ignoramus.

      • You can run the programs offline if Steam feels like letting you.

        Steam's 'offline mode' is not reliable. I often have it just say 'Unable to connect to server' and quit without offering offline mode.

        So no, you can't necessarily 'run the programs off line'.

        Which was sort of my point.

  • by geekoid (135745)

    I can't wait for the summer windowscon where I can pick up every MS title for 29.99.

    Maybe not.

  • I've thought for years that Linux on the desktop was a dead end, but it's actually conceivable that Valve could get it to work.

    Admittedly, there are still problems to be solved: the utterly horrible font rendering, the reliance on having the obsolete and slow X11 subsystem sitting behind all other graphics, the lack of a UI that matches up with Windows. But three of the major problems – fragmentation, bad hardware support, and lack of commercial software – could be addressed by Valve.

    If Valve ro

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