While the concept of digital distribution is still a sore point among many content providers across the entertainment industry, there’s at least entity that not only has embraced digital distribution, it has mastered it. No, I’m not talking about Netflix or iTunes, two services that have also successfully brought digital distribution to the masses.
No, the service I’m referring to has also crossed the digital distribution bridge, but it has done without the negative attention both Netflix and iTunes (the Apple DRM) receive. If you aren’t aware of what Valve has accomplished in relation to video game distribution, perhaps you should introduce yourself to their Steam platform, as well as all of the accolades the service receives in places like Reddit and other video game communities.
It’s not an understatement to suggest not only has Steam revolutionized PC game distribution, it may have saved the PC gaming industry altogether. With that in mind, the Steam infographic take a neat look at the service’s successes, of which, there are many.
A word of caution, however, the infographic is huge:
While the information is indeed useful, perhaps the most telling aspect of Steam’s success lies in the amount of money the service brings in, per employee. As the infographic reveals, in 2010, the service brought in $350,000 per employee, more than either Google or Apple. Granted, both of those tech giants employ a much larger staff than Steam, but the fact remains, Steam is quite profitable.
Furthermore, Steam offers game developers a better slice of the money pie, especially when compared to traditional retail outlets. This is an important fact to keep in mind, especially if you are an independent developer. It also makes EA’s withdrawal from the service all the more perplexing. Yes, EA is really trying to get the same level of acceptance for its Origin distribution service, but turning their noses up to Steam’s money making potential in the process is awfully shortsighted.