Valve's Steam platform will become more like Apple's App Store and Windows 8's upcoming digital storefront next month, when it will begin selling software alongside its catalog of PC games.
It's a significant expansion for a service that's sold only video games in its nine-year history, but the company says it's a move that customers have requested for some time now. Steam has been the biggest games-only digital distribution platform up until now, with some 40 million registered users.
This announcement comes shortly after Valve boss Gabe Newell called Microsoft's imminent Windows 8 update
and its built-in application store "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." He emphasized the importance of having an alternative service to deliver games.
Valve has not yet named any specific applications that will appear on its platform, but the company says it will offer productivity and creativity products. Many of the titles will also integrate Steamworks features like automatic updating and cloud saving.
The company is inviting studios to submit their software for consideration to be sold on Steam. Interested developers can submit their titles through Greenlight
, the service's system that allows its community to approve games and now apps for sale.