Valve Software made it perfectly clear that Steam would eventually be more than just a gaming platform when it revealed SteamOS last September. At the time, the company announced that it was currently in negotiations with media services "you know and love" without revealing specific details. Now it seems that the launch of movies, television shows and music on the Steam platform grows near.
SteamDB dug into the most recent build of the Steam Beta and discovered new references to five different types of media. The lines of code include "k_EAppTypeFilm = 512, // film" and "k_EAppTypeTvseries = 1024, // tvseries." There's also code for video, plugins and music. When Valve intends to launch this media on Steam and SteamOs is unknown at this point.
Do we really need Valve to offer media such as TV shows and movies? There are already a large number of platforms on the Internet that offer this content including iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Customers can also purchase movies and TV shows from services such as Walmart's Vudu, which ties into the UltraViolet disc-to-digital service.
UltraViolet is a format that allows consumers to watch their favorite TV show or movie on any device that provides playback apps. So instead of purchasing a movie on iTunes and having to watch it solely on an iOS device, customers can go to services like Vudu and purchase the movie or TV show and not only own it indefinitely, but watch it on smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and computers. Essentially, you own the rights to play the movie on the device of your choosing.
Perhaps this is the method Valve Software needs to take with its media offerings on Steam: allow customers to purchase movies and TV shows that are UltraViolet compatible. This would certainly be ideal given that Steam is still a gaming service at its roots.
Valve Software launched the Steam platform back in September 2003 as a means to update its own portfolio of games. Since then, Steam has become the largest game distribution platform to date. The company already sells soundtracks and software and provides a music player for gamers to play their own tunes stored on the hard drive.
The idea of Steam offering media other than games is actually rather exciting. When the Steam Machines finally arrive, they will be more than just gaming "consoles." They will be entertainment centers; that's what Valve Software is shooting for. Steam customers will benefit from having another choice when it comes to consuming media. However, the question is this: how will Valve pull customers away from iTunes and Google Play?
We've reached out to Valve to see if they have a possible launch window for releasing the multimedia.