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Steam May Go Beyond Mere Games, Sell More Software

It looks as if Valve Software is finally branching out with its Steam platform, as several reports indicate the company way soon offer digital downloads of photo editing, accounting, illustration and other software.

The news arrives by way of the Steam app for Android. When using the Search function, a new batch of categories can be found under the "Genre" section following the typical gaming listings. These include Accounting, Animation & Modeling, Audio Production, Design & Illustration, Education, Photo Editing, Software Training, Utilities, Video Production, and Web Publishing.

Currently these categories don't offer actual software, and there's no guarantee that Valve will even sell these types of products in the future. But there's a good chance Source Filmmaker will end up listed in the Video Production category, leading to other non-gaming tools offered in the near future.

Could this be Valve's assault on Amazon? The two companies are seemingly going head-to-head on the PC gaming front, fighting for the consumer dollar with rock-bottom prices in various promotions. For the entire month of July, Amazon is slashing prices on a large number of titles including Just Cause 2 ($8.99), Magicka ($5.99), Hitman: Blood Money ($5.99), Tomb Raider: Anniversary ($5.99) and more.

Meanwhile, Steam is offering its own PC gaming clearinghouse, with Monday's discounts including RAGE ($10.99), Metro 2033 ($4.99), Star Wars: KOTOR ($2.49) and more. What Steam doesn't offer is non-gaming downloads like Norton 360, QuickBooks Pro 2012, Microsoft Office and more. On Amazon, Adobe CS6 Design Student and Teacher Edition costs $413.99 (reg. $449) and Adobe the stand-alone version of Dreamweaver CS6 costs $165.98 (reg. $179).

That said, expanding Steam into the non-gaming sector would not only open the platform to a wider audience, but undoubtedly fatten Valve's pockets. How Valve would break beyond the gaming mold and reach that audience remains to be seen.