This weekend saw the accidental unveil of Steam.tv, a streaming service from none other than games retail giant Valve.
Valve hastily took the link down, claiming that it was "working on updating Steam Broadcasting for the main event of the The International". However, the link is now live once again.
While Steam.tv is only broadcasting Dota 2's The International currently, the platform has been set up as though more creators and streams are set to arrive.
It's fair to assume that Valve hopes to create a more intricate broadcasting space in the near future, but is there a place for it in the current market? We put the question to our Viral Visonaries.
If Steam manages to integrate Steam.tv into the Steam desktop client well, and thus make it super easy for Steam players to start streaming and/or watching streams from their favourite games, there is a real chance of success here.
Steam is the number one platform for PC gaming right now, and with the right promotion and good functionality Valve can push the service to their players pretty easily. Of course it depends on how fast the big streamers will be interested to jump in, and how long will it take to get enough streamers and action on Steam.tv to get people to tune in.
I think they are looking into building Steam.tv as an inseparable part of Steam ecosystem, even though from the first glance it seems the functionality is very limited. Hopefully they will use this ecosystem right, and show their users that everything they need is already in one place (the games, friends, influencers, e-sports, streams, potential fans etc.). I am definitely looking forward to their next reveals and steps with the Steam.tv!
Steam.tv could be game-changing. They have eyeballs, cool-factor, and the pipes to potentially make the streaming experience far more seamless than the current tedious systems (OBS, capture cards, Streamlabs, etc.)
Valve needs to launch creator monetisation on day one if they want to pull meaningful streamers from other platforms.Phil Ranta
The biggest hurdle: proving that users of their platform can be viewers as well as players. Playstation built out the 'Share' button on PS4 and it didn't make much of a splash. I attribute this to the lack of true engagement in the native streaming experience (you had to open Twitch on another device to see your comments), but it also generally felt like an afterthought.
My primary objective when I turn on a PS4 is to play a game, so unless I'm getting a superior and different experience when I stream, why would I do it?
They need to launch creator monetisation on day one if they want to pull meaningful streamers from other platforms. Publishers are paying big money to market their Steam games, and if they can create smart on-platform ad units within streams they could blow other off-platform conversion metrics out of the water.
Pascal Clarysse started looking for so-called Growth Hacks a good decade before the buzzword was coined.
Clarysse used to be the marketing driving force at Lik-Sang.com, where he was in charge of relentlessly spotting new trends, waves and magic holes. In recent years, he's served as a marketing consultant for various indie studios, participating in launching mobile games and the occasional Kickstarter campaign.
Judging by the last 15 years, betting against Steam and Valve is never where the smart money is. They do things with quality, scale and persistency. Failures are rare and far between.
This being said, I think it's more of a fragmentation story rather than a new challenger shifting all existing paradigms. They have a shot at taking a significant share of the PC game streaming market and then keep it, granted.
This will have some effect on Twitch, albeit not a lethal blow, and probably not enough to even kill their momentum or upset their leadership of the gaming streaming segment (which is larger than just PC too, let's not forget).
It will for sure leave the other markets, gaming aside, untouched and pretty much still a Blue Ocean rush between Facebook Live & Facebook-owned Instagram TV, with YouTube continuing to be the VOD gorilla. Beauty, Fashion, Automotive, Travel etc- none of these sectors will be affected by this.
If I was Amazon right now, I'd be wondering why everybody wants a piece of the lunch I recently bought, while Facebook is left feasting on its own tables. Gaming is most definitely turning into the red watered portion of the streaming market Ocean these days!
Steam is waltzing into the streaming space a little late, in my opinion, though they did try their hand at streaming within the Steam client itself about a year or so ago.
Valve would absolutely need to step up their game on the community front, which is how Twitch was built and how Mixer is catching up.Jordan Tayer
Steam has a dedicated community that really just comprises of a bunch of smaller communities underneath the Steam umbrella that are mostly attached to games, genres or, rarely, a Steam curator/influencer. This absolutely helps them get going right out of the gate but I'm not sure if it's going to be enough to gain on the years of momentum that Twitch has garnered, as all the community focus and onus is on users within the platform - not from Valve's side.
Steam is a great online store for PC games but as other market places crop up, Steam loses some of the market share there little by little, which in turn encourages people to go to 3rd party platforms where other nerds congregate; i.e. Twitch and YouTube.
Steam would really need to innovate in the streaming space and hook up broadcasters on their platform to give people the right incentive to stream there instead of another platform. Is this free games or early access to major titles? I have no idea, but it'd be a tricky thing to figure out.
Valve also doesn't have a great track record for being vocal with their community. Valve would absolutely need to step up their game on the community front, which is how Twitch was built and how Mixer is catching up. Facebook is also working on the community angle now but they have a long way to go.
I'm sure Valve has the tech and smarts to be able to build something like this but hopefully they realize that they need to change marketing, community, and PR strategies to really make it succeed. Simply opening up the gates and allowing people to stream will do nothing but maybe make a splash with a few headlines in the media but beyond that they'll need to keep the momentum up themselves and I don't feel that they'll put in the effort there.
I hope I'm wrong and I hope they do put in the effort though because I respect Valve, I'm a long time user of Steam, and I'd love to see another streaming platform succeed.