Steam digital distribution platform effectively started its life as a DRM authenticator for Half Life 2, expanding first to cover all the titles from Valve’s catalog and then becoming a pervasive game distribution platform. Valve continued to expand the number of titles, and last year started its expansion into the video arena. While the movie catalog was basic at best, we received an announcement that might change everything.
Valve Corporation announced that the company signed a partnership agreement with Lionsgate, which will see their digital catalog become available through Steam. The initial agreement includes over 100 movie titles, including heavy hitting franchises such as Divergent, Hunger Games, Saw and Twilight on a global scale.
“We’re delighted to partner with Steam, a leader in the digital entertainment and gaming space, as part of our commitment to remain at the cutting edge of innovation in delivering content to online audiences around the world,” said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer. “With over 125 million users, Steam represents a unique, exciting and disruptive opportunity to expand our global distribution business.”
Landing a major Hollywood studio is not an easy task, especially since studios are tied up with their distributors, which often put insane restrictions on the number of titles shown on different markets. Over 100 movies are available to Steam users in North America, and more are to be added over the course of next couple of weeks. If you reside outside the U.S., not all titles will be available.
“Lionsgate has emerged as a major creative force with a deep pipeline of blockbuster franchises and commercially exciting, star-driven event films, making them important content suppliers for our platform,” said Valve head of marketing Doug Lombardi. “Their films are engaging audiences and fostering rich communities around the world, reflecting the kind of high-quality entertainment that we expect to drive the continued expansion of our content offering.”
Overall, this is a really good expansion for Valve, and one that was needed. While Steam as a platform will probably attract more Hollywood studios, true challenge for Valve is can they attract the music business as well, and become a triple-play distribution platform. If they succeed, and for example sign a music distribution network such as Vevo, this introvert, keep-it-to-yourself company could easily reach as high as 11-figure valuation ($10+ b).