Despite my issues with Steam, it has done a lot to revitalize and expand PC gaming. Next gen consoles are going to have DRM licenses anyway, so their used games market is going to shrivel up and die. Why do you think all of the game rental companies and used game sellers are trying to expand their distribution circles into other markets? Digital is the future, and while old dinosaurs like me want physical discs and no DRM, I'm just part of the loud minority that doesn't impulse buy games then toss them aside after a month.
If Steam can make a console-esque, partially upgradable PC that is just plug and play, then they'll shoot Microsoft and Sony in the foot as they slowly waddle to the bank carrying the world's supply of gold.
If you have ever given any company your information, ever filled out information for any sort for a company, taken out a loan, paid bills, gone to college, ever had a job, ever payed taxes, and think you have anything even slighyly resembling privacy, you're sadly mistaken. It is shocking and sad how much you can find out about someone, and that goes for everyone who is online paying to read this. 8)
Back on topic though, this will do a few important things in my eyes.
1) Set a basic standard for PC development. We have, for so long, been a victim of low powered console ports that don't deliver for decent PC specs. A plug and play gaming PC is what consoles should have been two generations ago. With easily upgradable RAM, GPU's, and HDD's, you're essentially printing your own money.
2) Create an easier way for people to play PC games, tapping into the console market, and give us larger buying power.
3) #2 will mean that with more buyers, developers will start making PC centric titles, and we'll suffer less "console-itis" UI designs and game features.
4) Gabe has a clear stance in Piracy, which is to give the customer a better product and experience than the Pirates can. Are Steam only games easy to pirate? Absolutely. Do many people wait until Steam's famous sales to buy games? Of course. Do a ridiculous amount of people buy games that they otherwise wouldn't because they're easily accessible and inexpensive? Absolut... I could go on, but the dead horse getting tired and by stick is giving out.
- I could go on, but this sounds like I'm a steam-fanatic when in reality I am only slowly, and unhappily assimilating into the inevitable future path of gaming. Despite my complaints, as long as Gabe is running the show, I think this has the potential to put PC (and the long time coming hybrid PC/Console) gaming into a much better future.
If this turns out to be true, and it's not just an overblown, out of context rumor, then it will at least up the ante for console developers to deliver better products.