[Update:] According to some reports, the delivery update is actually old and has been around since 2017. This was covered in an updated video by YouTuber SidAlpha, which states that the clause is not new.
[Original article:] There are reports going around that Valve updated the Steam distribution agreement for releasing games on Valve’s platform.
It’s difficult to tell how true the news is since the only thing to go by is a reference image shared on Reddit from the Steamworks Distribution Program page. Sites like Lowyat.net shared the image, which you can view below.
Over on the Linus Tech Tips forum, there’s a quote from the page, but not a link to where the quote comes from, where it states…
“2.1 Delivery: Company shall submit the Applications to Steam for release no later than the first commercial release of each Application or Localised Version or, if already commercially released as of the Effective Date, within thirty (30) days of the Effective Date. Thereafter, Company shall submit to Steam any Localized Versions and Application Updates (in beta and final form) when available, but in no event later than they are provided to any other third party for commercial release. Company shall provide these copies in object code form, in whatever format Valve reasonably requests.“
If you check the Steamworks page for the documentation it’s not readily available unless you’re a developer with a developer account.
The update was, however, covered by YouTuber SidAlpha.
This seems to coincide with a couple of recent updates that Valve rolled out for Steam, which were broadcast via the Steam Community blog.
The first was an update from August 8th, 2019, where they announced that the release date tools would be changing. Developers now have to notify Valve when they plan on adding or changing a release date for a game. It reads…
“Recently, we made changes that require developers to contact us in order to change the release date for upcoming games. The specified release date impacts where games appear on sorted lists like “upcoming releases” in the Steam Store.
“This change was made in order to help guide developers that intentionally or unintentionally changed their release dates multiple times, causing their game to show up on certain lists in a way that was confusing to players and frustrating for other developers. “
What this means is that developers can’t put a game on Steam and then withhold the release until the twelfth hour and then launch the game on Steam after having used Valve’s platform to promote the game and then launch the game on another platform as a timed exclusive.
Some people think that this will deter developers from setting up a store page on Steam and promising a release, but then going with an Epic Games Store exclusive deal for a year.
We’ll see what sort of effect it has on multiplatform games coming to Steam, and whether developers will adhere to these standards or not. It is interesting that Gun Gun Pixies released on the Nintendo Switch in Europe, but the North American release on the Switch was set for September 10th, while the Steam release was pushed back to November 1st.
We have three key dates from Mission Control:
The Pixies are coming! pic.twitter.com/WoBnMZ6dIl
— PQube Games (@PQubeGames) August 23, 2019
I’m curious if “third-party commercial release” also applies to home consoles? Because wouldn’t that mean that a scattered release arriving a month and a half after the localized Switch version would put it in violation of this new delivery policy? Or does the policy only apply to PC releases?
It’s not entirely clear, and they don’t properly define what “third-party release” means in connection with multiplatform games or “Localized Versions”.