Valve to Launch Steam Sections in Physical Retailers

Steam

In a move that probably signals the death of all mankind, Valve announced today that select retailers will be starting Steam Sections this fall for upcoming hardware releases.

Let’s be honest, we let Valve rule the world a long time ago. The dominant force in purchasing PC video games for the last several years, Steam, inevitably, was going to make the jump to the physical realm, much like Skynet and Black Mirror’s version of Facebook before it.

That jump begins this fall, with specialized Steam Sections making their debut in GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games stores in the U.S., UK, and Australia. The impetus for the move is the coming of Valve’s small fleet of hardware releases coming this holiday season; the Steam Machine, Steam Controller, and Steam Link.

“Creating a ‘store within a store’ across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers’ hands,” said Valve president Gabe Newell, cutting off any potential Inception jokes I could have made.

This partnership isn’t the first between Valve and these retailers. Three years ago, GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games began selling prepaid Steam cards at their counters, and according to Valve, “sales performance for those offerings has been increasing each year.” Valve also partnered with these companies earlier this year for an “Early Bird” period of pre-orders for Steam hardware devices, a period that sold out in less than a month according to the company. The “Early Bird” pre-ordered devices will launch on October 16th.

The Steam Machine, coming in models from Alienware, Asus, and more, is Valve‘s push into manufacturing gaming computers for themselves in a market competitive to major gaming consoles. Also in conjunction with that plan is the Steam Controller, designed to apply console controls to traditionally mouse-and-keyboard games. Less known is the Steam Link, a device designed to stream games to your TV from a Steam host computer or Steam Machine.

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Both the Steam Controller and Link are available for pre-order in the U.S., UK, and Australia for $49.00. The Steam Machine, however, is only currently open for pre-order in the United States, at the price of $499.00. All pre-orders from this point on will include a copy of Valve‘s Portal 2 and Psyonix‘s recent indie hit Rocket League, and are currently slated for release on November 10th.

“With millions of gamers already enjoying the Steam desktop experience, we anticipate a strong demand for the upcoming Steam Hardware products and are looking forward to serving as the exclusive non-digital retail launch partner,” said Bob Puzon, VP of Marketing for GameStop. “Steam has helped grow PC gaming into a leading platform for games.

That statement is interesting. With this partnership, the line between console and PC gaming has grown more blurred, as does GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games‘ position of holding out as physical game retailers in the 21st century – partnering with an entirely digital marketplace outside of their demographic of console games. And then there are the inevitable comparisons to Apple, with Steam entering the territory that could, theoretically, lead to physical Steam stores in the future as Valve appears to focus more and more on hardware development.

Just hope the Steam Machines don’t become sentient.

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[toggle title=”Press Release: Steam Sections coming to GameStop, GAME UK and EB Canada”]Oct 5, 2015 — GameStop, GAME UK, EB Games, and Valve today announced dedicated Steam Sections launching this fall in GameStop (USA), GAME UK, and EB Games (Canada) stores. The section will feature the Steam Hardware devices launching November 10 (Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines) as well as a variety of Steam prepaid cards. Through the holiday season, GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games will be the exclusive non-digital retailer for the Steam Hardware products in their respective territories. Steam prepaid cards launched in stores three years ago, and sales performance for those offerings has been increasing each year. “GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games are leading retail destinations for core gamers and early adopters,” said Gabe Newell of Valve. “Creating a ‘store within a store’ across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers’ hands.” Valve partnered with these leading retailers earlier this year to launch the pre-order for the Steam Hardware devices, offering gamers the chance to receive their gear 30 days prior to launch. That offer sold out in less than a month, and those who pre-order now through the Nov 10 launch will receive free copies of Psyonix’s hit title Rocket League and Valve’s classic Portal 2. “GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games are leading retail destinations for core gamers and early adopters,” said Gabe Newell of Valve. “Creating a ‘store within a store’ across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers’ hands.” Valve partnered with these leading retailers earlier this year to launch the pre-order for the Steam Hardware devices, offering gamers the chance to receive their gear 30 days prior to launch. That offer sold out in less than a month, and those who pre-order now through the Nov 10 launch will receive free copies of Psyonix’s hit title Rocket League and Valve’s classic Portal 2. “Steam has helped grow PC gaming into a leading platform for games,” said Bob Puzon, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop, the exclusive retail partner in the U.S. for Steam Hardware. “With millions of gamers already enjoying the Steam desktop experience, we anticipate a strong demand for the upcoming Steam Hardware products and are looking forward to serving as the exclusive non-digital retail launch partner.” “Steam continues to grow and has become synonymous with PC gaming, and as the UK’s number 1 gaming specialist retailer we are excited about bringing these products to GAME in UK,” said Charlotte Knight, managing director at GAME. “With the innovation that the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and the Steam Machines give gamers in the living room, we expect to see significant demand for these new products. The first signs of this can be seen with the sold out Early Bird launch of both the Steam Link and Controller on October 16th exclusively at GAME in the UK. GAME are delighted to be partnering with Valve on the new technology and support the continuing growth of this category.” A leading platform for PC, Mac, and Linux games, Steam offers more than 6,000 titles to millions of gamers around the world. Targeted for release on November 10, the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines are a collection of hardware designed to expand the Steam gaming experience into any room in the home. About the Steam Hardware devices: Steam Controller — An innovative input device that allows you to play games from all genres, including traditional gamepad style games as well as games usually reserved for play with a mouse and keyboard. Steam Controllers are wireless, completely configurable, and available for pre-order in the U.S., Canada, and the UK for a suggested retail price of $49.99/?54.99/£39.99/$59.99CAD. Steam Link — The Steam Link allows Steam gamers to easily expand the range of their current gaming set up via their home network. Connecting any TV to your Steam host PC or Steam Machine, the Steam Link allows you to stream your games at 1080p 60 fps, and is available for pre-order in the U.S., Canada, and the UK for a suggested retail price of $49.99/?54.99/£39.99/$59.99CAD. Steam Machines — Available from Alienware and other manufacturers, Steam Machines can serve as a stand-alone device for enjoying the Steam gaming experience in one box. In addition, Steam Machines have the ability to broadcast and receive In Home Streaming, allowing you to stream your games to a Steam Link, or receive a stream from another Steam Machine or PC. Steam Machines will vary in price, offering a range of hard drive sizes, graphics performance, and more. Available for pre-order in the US, starting at a suggested retail price of estimated $449.99. For more information about the Steam Hardware pre order offerings, please visit http://steampowered.com/hardware Steam and Steam Link are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Valve Corporation in the US, Canada, the UK, and other countries.[/toggle]
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