Valve Software’s Steam Coming to iOS

iOS gaming is rapidly taking off, and an increasing number of major gaming shops are porting their games to the mobile platform. Valve Software, the development shop behind major PC and Mac hits such as Half Life and Counter Strike, is allegedly working on an iOS-compatible version of Steam, its distribution platform. If you’ve never heard about Steam, Steam is a digital distribution, multiplayer and communications platform used to distribute games, from small independent developers to larger software houses. Steam also offers community features, automated game updates, and in-game voice and chat functionality. Do not rejoice too quickly though, as Steam for iOS will most likely be limited when compared to its desktop counterpart – after all, the App Store already provides many of the features offered by Steam. But unique Steam features such as its communications and social networking platform, as well as its achievements system, will likely be offered to iOS developers soon, similarly to what OpenFeint already offers today. Potentially, Steam could even distribute iOS games, if Valve and Apple come to an agreement on a revenue split. As of March 2011, there were over 1,250 games available through Steam, and over 30 million active users. Steam is estimated to have a 70 percent share of the digital distribution market for video games, and is used by many major publishers such as id Software, Electronic Arts, Activision, 2K Games, Ubisoft, THQ, Sega, Capcom, Rockstar Games and Square Enix.