The ultimate goal for every IT company is becoming a Platform. Even Epic Games, Unity, NVidia, etc are working towards that same goal. To become a verticalized platform.
At first, a Platform is small, humble and user friendly… But when successful, they start to exert power over their dependent users until it shrinks and fade away living space for the next Platform.
Steam used to be the perfect app to keep your windows gaming collection at the same place, nice and clean. After a while, what do they want now?
DRM, “services” you don’t really need, IP content for $, microtransactions, what you buy from them isn’t yours, etc and so forth…
They are clashing against Microsoft and Windows nowadays, creating their own hardware and promoting their own Linux OS, passively forcing all their customers to leave Windows behind and verticalizing their ecosystem.
Why platform owners do this? Platforms cannot co-exist. they will fight, bite and bloodsuck each other until one of them is dead.
Some companies like EA specialize on bloodsucking those platforms instead of becoming one of them, because they know these platforms come and go and they are still there milking the next ones while watching them fighting to death.
Every platform act that way, read about how user friendly Facebook was at first and how they force everyone to follow their ‘laws’ now after becoming a healthy platform; However they always die on the long run because of the same mistake, every single time.
Gaben became a billionaire because he became a platform, taking away power from Microsoft whose now are trying to fight back. What does it mean for the game industry? Game studios, labour, are born and die all the time, taking with them tons of jobs; nobody cares. Platforms, when mature, they last an entire generation or more most of the time. Every boss wants his company to last longer, so everybody will try at some point to turn a platform and ‘own’ its users.
Gabe simply learned years ago that is much more worthy having millions of his users working for him instead of keeping software development closed. Dota2 has millions of developers, and the best part is that they don’t even require salaries and are still somewhat happy doing what they do…