tinkerttoy Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:36am
Could Steam Serve Open Source Games as Well?
The idea of an app store in Linux was pioneered by Canonical, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a sluggish, broken beast that works about as well as a quadriplegic bodybuilder. Now, Steam is coming around the corner; could this be a new chance?

There's no legal reason that Steam couldn't host games under GPL or BSD. In fact, if Valve really wanted to, they could actually sell a free, open-source game, as long as the art assets were under the same license (and they were willing to provide source code on request, if the game is under GPL). Even if the art assets weren't, they could still legally do it if they got proper permission.

Whether Valve would charge for FOSS or not is beyond my comprehension, though I'd think they wouldn't. That's a level of dickery that even EA wouldn't risk. Regardless, if they were to do this it would greatly unify the Linux gaming experience and cement Steam as a tool even to those who refuse to pay for a video game. Naturally, the only problem is how it can be monetized. I'm not really here to decide that; I'm not exactly a marketing or software design guru, though advertisement, the bread and butter of the internets, instantly comes to mind. I'm just here to throw this out there for speculation and discussion.
Showing 1-15 of 26 comments
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instabilis Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:54am 
It would be a great bit of (free?) advertising/promotion for the open-source projects, and would add a good amount of additional games to all platforms. I think it depends if Valve wants to support open-source projects, and how they would go about doing it, specifically the cost and who would maintain the Steam version.
Last edited by instabilis; Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:55am
Doc Holliday Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:58am 
WE WANT OPEN ARENA? on steam?
arc| Gps Mar 27, 2013 @ 12:56pm 
I think I like this idea. I wonder how the foss guys will respond though.

Some linux people see Valve as evil.
They ae probably ignoring, that because of steam, we get better openGL drivers.
TarrasQ Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:14pm 
Charging real money for free software is nothing new and not forbidden. As long as it's source code is available it's quite possible to distribute it packaged for a fee.
For example some 10-15 years ago there were Linux distro compilations of ten or so CDs for sale.

Distributing free software for free through Steam would create increased revenue when people buy more software from Steam as a side effect. Profitable or not - that I don't know.
Last edited by TarrasQ; Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:17pm
Cybertao Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:15pm 
They probably are, as the drivers aren't Free or Open-Source.

Steam is a proprietary, DRM protected portal for selling proprietary, closed-source games. What don't you guys understand about that? Open-source was here before Valve, and it will be here after.
TarrasQ Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:19pm 
Desura, Steam's competitor for indie games also distributes some FOSS games free of charge.
TarrasQ Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:22pm 
Still I fail to see any real benefit of getting free software through Steam. I can already go to my distro's software installation application and click on some games. Then they get installed and are automatically kept up to date by the package management system. It's actually better that way because I don't need to launch Steam in order to play those games.

...not that I'd have anything against FOSS games being available also on Steam.
Last edited by TarrasQ; Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:23pm
c☢re meltd☢wn Mar 27, 2013 @ 1:50pm 
Sorry if I have to destroy your phantasies but it is not realistic. I agree it would be awesome to have up to date releases of Scumm VM, Open TTD, Battle of Wesnoth, etc. on Steam.

I'm afraid, this is quite unlikely to happen. Valve is a company and companys have the purpose of generating money for the investors. Keeping a stable version of multiple open source games costs a lot of time and therefore money and promise almost no income. Most players will already have a free packaged version in their distro of choice, so there is little chance players are willing to pay just for packaging the latest releases.

The best possible outcome I can imagine happening is a team of voulounteers porting games to Steam, approved by Valve. And even then, the team still has to be found while I can't see a reason for an open source game developer to port a game to steam if it is running natively already.
Zyro Mar 27, 2013 @ 2:43pm 
Originally posted by Core Meltdown:
Sorry if I have to destroy your phantasies but it is not realistic. I agree it would be awesome to have up to date releases of Scumm VM, Open TTD, Battle of Wesnoth, etc. on Steam.

I'm afraid, this is quite unlikely to happen. Valve is a company and companys have the purpose of generating money for the investors.

I thought the same at first, but given that they want to sell hardware and need as much good software for it as they can get, it might be unlikely, but not completely unrealistic.
LOLCAT Mar 27, 2013 @ 2:48pm 
Originally posted by Core Meltdown:
I'm afraid, this is quite unlikely to happen. Valve is a company and companys have the purpose of generating money for the investors.
That's true. First they need to get people willing to buy their linux stuff. As FTP games bring more people, open source games could as well. They would later buy more games which brought money to Valve.
tinkerttoy Mar 27, 2013 @ 2:54pm 
Originally posted by Core Meltdown:
Sorry if I have to destroy your phantasies but it is not realistic.
I'm afraid, this is quite unlikely to happen. Valve is a company and companys have the purpose of generating money for the investors. Keeping a stable version of multiple open source games costs a lot of time and therefore money and promise almost no income.
I know. As I've said, I was simply toying with the idea.
And remember, Valve is a private company. They aren't a slave to their investors, just to the iron (well, really more of a soft plastic) fist of Gaben.
8 Dimensional Octagon Mar 27, 2013 @ 3:12pm 
the id Tech games are on there, and the code for those have been open sourced as soon as the next version of their engine comes out.
rudeboyskunk Mar 27, 2013 @ 3:52pm 
There are plenty of "free to play" games on Steam; I don't understand why throwing a few FOSS games on here would be so detrimental to Valve. They have thousands of games that you have to buy, I don't think a few FOSS games will convert everyone to the "I'll never pay for games" camp.
beefedupbenny Mar 27, 2013 @ 4:07pm 
I personally think that It'd be no more difficult or costly to Valve to host some FOSS games than it is for them to host the ungodly amount of player-generated content that is out there for every game ever. Moreover, I think it'd even be a good thing for Valve, as it not only simply boosts raw number of games they have(which is good for marketing and such) but, to put it simply, the more time that any given person has steam open, the more likely they are to see sales and buy games, or buy games in general. I think some statistics showed that after they give away a game, once they stop and start charging again, sales go up. Valve already has an amazing amount of good will and good press, I like Valve, something that I cannot say about Ubisoft, EA, Micro$oft, Actofsatan, and hosting FOSS games can only generate more good will.
LOLCAT Mar 27, 2013 @ 4:16pm 
Originally posted by ;828934724055708030:
the id Tech games are on there, and the code for those have been open sourced as soon as the next version of their engine comes out.
There's a big difference between a whole game being open source and the game engine being open source. They couldn't put DOOM 3 on Steam because the whole game is still not free and probably never will be. They could however put Chromium BSU or Frozen Bubble on Steam without issues. And of course there are hundreds of other open source games.
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Date Posted: Mar 27, 2013 @ 11:36am
Posts: 26