Valve is retiring the section of Steam that deals with non-video game video purchases in what was an unexpected move to many.
Well, we use the term "unexpected" because we’re certain most users either forgot Steam had a video purchasing option, or just never knew it existed. The product never really made sense on the Steam platform, and Valve more or less confirmed such sentiments in their statement regarding the matter.
"For the past few years, we have worked on expanding Steam beyond games and software by building a video platform that supports paid and free video content," says Valve in their official announcement. "In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam."
With all this in mind, the “Video” section of the store menu will be removed and non-gaming videos will be taken down completely. Users will still have access to content they’ve purchased, and Valve did note that content regarding video game properties would still be accessible through specific product tags, user recommendations, and game pages, however.
This news comes as Steam faces more competition than ever. On top of old rivals like GOG, Epic Games has launched its own storefront (with a few issues), and even gaming services like Twitch and Discord offer purchasing options for players — though we doubt that had much influence over this decision.
Instead, it’s more likely that this just the same old reshuffling we’ve started to become accustomed to regarding the platform. In June 2018, Valve announced it would loosen the reigns regarding policing its storefront. In this move, Steam would feature almost anything as long as it wasn’t obvious trolling or illegal. This move was seen as a huge step back for the platform as quality control was already in a downward spiral with “asset flipping” (a practice that sees games put together using pre-bought assets with little to no effort) running rampant. Just after that, Valve revealed Steam’s “Upcoming Releases” section was due for an update as well, offering a more helpful guide for your purchasing needs.
So in reality, this probably isn’t a panic move by Valve. Steam is a product that’s constantly changing — and that’s a good thing. While offering non-gaming related video content didn’t quite pan out the way they intended, the idea of making Steam a one-stop shop for all your entertainment needs sounded good on paper. Maybe one day, we’ll actually see a fully realized version of this.
Until then, we’ll just have a memory of a menu option most of us didn’t realize existed before it was taken away.