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As of today, Steam is offering productivity applications as well as games on their online store/platform. On the surface, this may not necessarily seem like a big deal. After all there already are online stores for productivity applications, for instance the App Store from Apple. It is however a big deal for budding video game makers, and here is why: Steam Workshop.
Steam Workshop is a mechanism that allows easy distribution and consumption of user created content for games on the Steam platform. Popular games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, has an active modding community that so far has released over 10.000 user modifications of variable quality on the game's workshop channel.
One of the seven applications currently being offered on the Steam App Store is GameMaker: Studio
from YoYo Games
. And it just so happens, that it has Steam Workshop integration built in right off the bat.
At the same time, numerous indie-developers are currently engaging in the gated popularity contest that is Steam Greenlight
to get their game considered for publication on the Steam platform. The contestants are many, but the winners are few.
Now, if your game is made with GameMaker, you can now put it or a demo on Steam through GameMaker's workshop channel, thus bypassing the nomination process of Steam Greenlight.
At the time of writing there are currently just over 50 titles being offered as workshop items for GameMaker. Many of them just demos or works in progress. Expect this number to increase over the next couple of days as creators realize the buzz-making potential this gives to a game in development.