Is Valve poised to become the first developer to really circumvent publishing?

You bring the body and I?ll bring the steam?

Posted by Staff
Profound words from 1990's teen faves East 17. They knew, all too well, that Steam is important.

Whether Valve has taken its cue from the badly-dressed boy band of old is a moot point. Nevertheless, the developer is poised to relaunch its Steam content delivery tool, in a move that will bring an amount of disquiet to the more observant of PC publishing outfits.

The firm appears to be taking the first steps towards making itself publisher-free. Indeed, it?s fair to speculate that Valve is in the process of cutting publishers and retail out of the loop completely. An internal Valve memo leaked over the weekend talks of the system as being ?a broadband business platform, a high-performance distributed file system for fast, scalable content delivery,? as well as mentioning the full payment engine that goes with it.

The memo continues, ?The Steam Beta has delivered several Valve games and popular Half-Life mods to over 300,000 gamers and will come to a close on Tuesday evening. The first full version of Steam, Valve's broadband platform for the delivery and management of digital content, will launch...on Wednesday.?

Is it possible to launch high-profile AAA games solely via the Internet? It looks like we might find out with Half-Life 3?
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