Valve prepares to release its new gaming engine, “Steam”. Essentially a platform for games of all types – as well as an integrated solution for a number of tasks. Whether it’s delivering new content (new maps, mods, skins, full versions of game, etc), managing version control (no more patches) or handling anti-cheating measures (it can check your version whenever the developer wishes, preventing cheaters from hacking the code), Steam is going to be big news. Either for the technical standards it’s sure to set, or, as the Spong states, the new subscription model that Valve is taking (in an attempt to maximize earnings) by offering “premium” content.
“The Steam Beta has delivered several VALVe games and popular Half-Life MODs to over 300,000 gamers, and will come to a close Tuesday evening (Pacific Daylight Time). The first full version of Steam, VALVe’s broadband platform for the delivery and management of digital content, will launch at 11 am PDT on Wednesday. Set up installers for the full version, which will be free of charge to existing Half-Life and Counter-Strike players, will be available from www.steampowered.com and leading game sites. When Steam is official, a valid CD-Key will be required to play through Steam. It appears that Valve will soon be replacing the WonID system of user authentication that Half-Life has used since the very beginning with Steam. A valid CD-Key will be required to play through Steam.”
This means that you will have to own a copy of Half-Life, Counter-Strike, or any other product that includes a WON CD-Key after the beta resets in order to play on the new Steam-based network.
“Set up installers for the full version, which will be free of charge to existing Half-Life and Counter-Strike players, will be available from www.steampowered.com and leading game sites. Anyone interested in hosting the installer or becoming a Steam Service Provider, please email email@example.com.”
For those of you wondering what the big deal is, consider this; Since its 1998 launch, “Half-Life” and its various add-on packs (including mods such as “Counter-Strike” and and the fiendishly original “Natural Selection”) have sold more than 8 million copies worldwide according to Valve. “We’ve learned a lot from our experiences with the mod community and with Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat,” said Valve’s Gabe Newell. “Half-life 2 will be a much better platform for mod authors than Half-life 1.”
“Steam is a broadband business platform. With it, we can market and have direct communication with customers, sales and distribution, and have customer service and support. It uses a high-performance distributed file system for fast, scalable content delivery. You only download what you need and when you need it. It’s faster and cheaper than CDs and lastly, no more patches.”