Valve has decided to cease selling video content through the massive PC game marketplace Steam, in an attempt to “refocus” on the platform’s core functions.
While most of Steam’s 90 million monthly users primarily use the platform for buying and playing video games, Valve has experimented with expanding the kind of content available, with films and documentaries alongside the usual array of trailers and image galleries.
However, it’s clear from the wording on Valve’s blog post on the matter that very few Steam users were making use of the video library:
“For the past few years, we have worked on expanding Steam beyond games and software by building a video platform that supports paid and free video content. In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam.”
If you’ve bought any videos through Steam already, don’t worry – you’ll be able to access your purchase. And any videos remaining will now be found “via the associated game or software store page, or through search, user tags, recommendations, etc.”
Too little, too late
The elephant in the room is the Epic Games Store: a direct Steam rival from the publishers of Fortnite, designed to disrupt Valve’s monopoly in the PC gaming market.
Epic’s storefront offers a sizeable 30% cut of game sales to its developers, unlike Steam’s slim 11%, and hopes to support a more direct relationship between players and devs. Steam has long struggled with curation of its huge gaming library, with any but the most high-profile games struggling to gain attention amidst of sea of indie and AAA titles.
Focusing on what it does best is a good start for Steam, which may be worried about the new kid on the block – but it might be the case that Valve’s marketplace is simply too large to get the overhaul it needs to face down competition.