Valve’s video game client, Steam, has always been the number one client in hosting and selling games through downloads on PC. Hosting games like the Counterstrike series, Bethesda games, and an immense plethora of independently made games, Steam now faces an issue that has never expected. Bethesda has announced that the new installation of the Fallout series, Fallout 76, will not be held on Steam. Call of Duty: Activision Blizzard announced that Black Ops 4 will be held on Battle.net as well. Each of these studios gave around 30% of the sales revenue to Valve previously, but now they have become independent.
The question brought up commonly is if Steam and Valve will be heavily impacted from this move. The answer is most likely no. Steam already has cemented itself in the PC gaming community as the number one way to access new games and gaming communities. Steam has been the most familiar to players and people don’t go to Steam to buy games, they go to browse. These companies who chose to create distance from Steam have already had the option to do so many years ago. League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Fortnite, and many more popular games don’t run through the Steam client.
Companies may want to follow suit and also create their own client or launchers for games, but Steam has already conquered a majority of the market. The ability to market, demo, and promote games on Steam is relatively easy and reliable. The risk smaller gaming companies take to step away from the Steam client may not be worth it. However, the newest potential threat to Steam has been Discord and Amazon. Discord has recently added the feature to purchase games directly through the client. Amazon has also been providing this service through Twitch and adding bonuses through Twitch Prime. No company has bad intentions, but Steam has been the most dominant over the past decade and they want a piece of the success. Valve is fine in the situation they are in, but they will need to bring new titles to their platform to keep their audience’s confidence and business or we may see an age of independent launchers.