As those who followed the Game Group administration story earlier this year know, purchasing physical media for games is on the way out. This isn't a recent thing, for many years PC gamers have had to install digital distribution systems to get their hands on the the latest games.
The most popular PC gaming distribution system is Steam. Steam is developed by the Valve Corporation who also develop a range of very successful games based on their in-house game engine, Source. Although Valve do not release sales figures, two years ago it was estimated by a rival company that Steam owned 70% of the digital distribution games market, we know that since then the service has grown in terms of audience, with just under 5 million people logging in to the service most days.
While Valve have supported game modding communities for a long time, they have recently turned their attention to schools with a very impressive set of free tools for education. The catch? You have to install their digital distribution and sign up to the “Steam for Schools Initiative”.
- Valve Learning with Portals
Valve offers free copies of Portal 2 and Portal 2 Puzzle for use in physics, maths, chemistry, language, design classes and offer lesson plans to available at http://www.learnwithportals.com/
- Valve Filmmaker
There are lots of high profile film makers at Valve and the company are well known for their high quality 'shorts'. Valve now offer their in house film making software to anybody that wants to give it a whirl for free. Videos are made inside of the game engine. You can take a peak of whats on offer here:
The Valve Hammer Editor is a free map editing suite tused to teach game design.
- Steam workshop
Steam offers a hub for users to share and publish (and make profit on!) their creations in the tools. Proud of the Portal 2 level you made in a physics class? Share it!
Steam for Schools is an aggressive move by Valve, the tools that they are offering are very high quality from a high profile publisher. It surly tells us that Valve thinks that games and storytelling have a big part to play in education.
Some other stories of interest: