Valve recently announced the Steam Site License Program which provides a secure and efficient way for third party organizations to run Steam in public venues around the world. As part of that launch, we’d like to invite you to offer your title(s) to the licensees of this program.
Why is participation good for publishing partners?
In addition to opening the ability to more game sales, offering access to your games through commercial sites like cafés can be a great way to expand the visibility of your games, drive up player numbers, and build word of mouth on your titles. Cafés and public gaming spaces are inherently populated with core consumers and influencers. They provide an opportunity for users to see and play games they may not otherwise get a chance to play. And public gaming spaces such as cafés allow gamers to literally play alongside their friends. This is especially true in territories such as Korea, Taiwan, SE Asia, Turkey, China and in new markets like LATAM and India where playing games is primarily done in public spaces such as cafés.
Who are the licensees and who can use it?
Commercial sites can be any location that provides access to the Internet which includes but is not limited to Cybercafés, PC Bangs, retail shops, coffee shops, schools, libraries, hospitals, theaters, airplanes, buses, trains, subways, etc. They must be registered as a non-profit, public institution, sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, corporation, or other organized group. Steam users visiting a licensed site will be able to log in to Steam with their own personal accounts, download and access content that they own or is provided by the licensed site. In either case, they will have the ability to use all of Steam’s services, including purchasing new games, DLC, and in-game items. Even if the game is provided by the site, the users will still be able to collect of badges, achievements, game drops, trading cards, and have their game state saved to their account in the cloud for later access from any location.
How can I create a commercial license?You can create your own commercial license package through the Steamworks partner site by navigating to your titles landing page and selecting "Create Commercial Package" under the "Store Presence" tab.
It will then ask you to choose one of the license options from the list. Once you've made your choice, you can confirm by clicking "Add Commercial Package". A new tab will appear on the landing page that includes your newly created commercial packages. Depending on the selected license option, you may only see one commercial package.
Next, you will need to submit pricing by selecting each commercial package. Submitted prices will get approved by Valve.
As soon as the prices are approved you will be able to publish the license by selecting "Release" next to the commercial license package. The subscription based commercial packages will remain hidden, since they're activated through the initial purchase package.
Your game's commercial license will now be displayed right under the regular end user purchase option and will only be visible to licensees of the Steam Site License program.
What are the license options?
- One-time purchase license
This option allows licensees to purchase commercial licenses for a single upfront fee. One license per seat is required. You have the option to create quantity discounts or custom discounts once the commercial license is live. Only one commercial package will be visible and must be priced and approved before you will be able to release it.
- Monthly recurring subscription
This option results in an upfront charge for each license purchased, followed by a monthly recurring fee per license. The recurring option will create two store packages that will both need to be priced accordingly. The two packages are the “Commercial License” package, which represents the initial purchase, and the subscription package “Commercial License (Monthly)”, which gets billed monthly (30D). When a licensee purchases the commercial license, it will activate the subscription package (Monthly) on their Steam account. The monthly package will remain hidden in the store.
- Free commercial license
If your application is configured for free distribution on Steam, you will have the option to add a free commercial license.
Is it safe from piracy?
The Steam Site License Program safely manages games through a concurrent/floating seat format that is meant to discourage traditional piracy found around the world where cafés are trying to minimize the cost of licensing every café seat. This program requires the cafés to be online all the time to have access to the legitimate floating licenses they subscribed to making this program a superior option for publishing partners.
What is considered a licensable café location?
Any site where PCs or a network is made available for customers to play games for free or with a charge. This includes PC cafés, PC Bangs, Arcades, Game-rooms or any similar establishment. This could also include retail shops, coffee shops, hotels, trains, hospitals, schools or universities, libraries, and non-profits’ locations.
Do we require that the cafés are online all the time?
Yes, the Site License Server and the clients need to be able to communicate with Steam for it to manage the licenses and allow users to play. We will not support “offline” mode within the program.
How does site license management work?
Licensees will be able to purchase units in bulk through the commercial section in the Steam store and receive special commercial offers when available. Commercial licensing is based on a con-current usage model. Licenses can be used on any PC that is permanently or temporarily connected to the licensee’s network. For example a site can have 20 PCs and only 10 licenses for a piece of content. The first 10 PCs to use the content are provided access, the rest are denied until the organization adds additional licenses or usage of the original 10 free up. The program will support the concurrent licensing model across all locations identified.
Does this new program support cafés with multiple locations?
If one of these organizations operates from multiple locations (sites), they can identify each site during the registration process and share all licensed Steam content across all the sites. Steam handles the management of that content through a local site licensing server at each location and information stored in the site’s master Steam account.
What is Valve’s recommended pricing for the corresponding commercial package for a game currently available on Steam?
For now, we are offering per unit commercial SKUs for the same price as our retail. Partners may choose to set their own price for commercial SKUs, including matching retail. We also see an opportunity for us and partners to create special packages or bundles that offer users additional content when they visit a café. In these cases, pricing will vary and/or those bundles may be offered on a subscription basis.
Do we include DLC in a commercial package?
Not necessarily, users will be logging in with their own Steam account in the cafés and this would be your first opportunity for up-selling the individual user. A smaller investment into your game before they purchase the whole game.
Can a developer offer special features to commercial cafés?
Yes, Steam allows publishers and developers to add special features or additional content just for cafés by making a new package and defining the content to be included in the package. We encourage developers to consider this as a way to tailor their game for use in a café. Additional content that is only available in a café is also an opportunity for a recurring subscription.
Will the pool of commercial licenses be usable across all the PCs in the café?
Yes. We will have no limit on the number of PCs that can be made available to the pool of commercial licenses on the authorized Site License Server’s network.
What if a customer brings their own laptop into a café location?If a user with a laptop comes into the location where they are allowed to join the network running the Site License Server, then that laptop will also be able to access the games in the license pool.
Will cafés be able to purchase more than one Steam commercial license at a time?Yes. Commercial accounts will have access thru Steam to purchase commercial copies of any games offered in the Program. During the purchase process, site owners will be able to enter the quantity of any game they wish to purchase and any applicable volume discounts will be applied.
Is the café required to purchase commercial copies of the games through Steam?No, having a commercial account and agreeing to the commercial license provides the owner of the café with a license to use Steam and Valve's free-2-play games in the location. Cafés are not required to purchase commercial copies of any other games through the site but only games purchased on the site or through an authorized re-sellers of the publisher will be use-able with the Site License Server and added to the cafés pool of licenses. Valve will support Steam keys for commercial packages the publisher can distribute.
Are all games on Steam available for commercial licensing?No, only games where the publisher/developer has expressly included them in our licensing program whether they are available for free or with a charge. It is up to the publisher/developer to decide if they want to participate in the program and they are responsible for setting the commercial price.
Can a commercial license be VAC banned?No, VAC bans will be assigned to the account that was using the game at the time of the infraction. We highly recommend that the location owner discourages cheating as a high number of bans associated with accounts used in the location may result in removal from the licensing program.
If I want to see other samples of commercial licenses where do I go?Once you are logged in you can search for the commercial licenses by ticking the "Site Licenses" option under "Show selected types" or by clicking the link here. On the game's store page, the commercial license price will be displayed right under the regular purchase option.
What is Valve doing to drive the adoption of the Steam Site Licensing Program?In addition to creating the base commercial features, like con-current licensing and the management server, Valve is looking at features that are designed to encourage Steam users to visit licensed sites.
Are commercial licenses refundable?The refund policy is currently set up to closely mimic the consumer version (2 weeks/2 hours). Site license accounts will be able to purchase commercial packages multiple times or in quantity so the 2 weeks/2 hours clock starts ticking at the first purchase event. For example, if they purchased L4D and then 3 weeks later purchased another copy of L4D, a refund request would be denied because the first copy is more than 2 weeks old. If they instead purchased their second copy only 1 week after the first copy, both purchases could be refunded provided there was less than 2 combined hours of playtime on the licenses. You'll find more information about our refund policy here.
I am a publisher and would like to have additional information about the Steam Site Licensing Program. What should I do?If you have any further questions or would like to make your game available through the Steam Site Licensing program you can reach out to us via email@example.com and we will help you get set up.