Crunchgear writes that Microsoft is going to battle against Valve’s Steam in digital distribution. They hope to grow a marketplace around things not currently offered by Steam, for example Games for Windows Live branded DLC, which would be made available exclusively by Microsoft.
My personal opinion is that even though Microsoft can pour loads and loads of money into this battle field, it will take them something around 5 years before we’ll see a solution that really works. Microsoft already has pretty good stuff on Xbox Live (not to mention XNA Creator which is also improving), and they have the resources to make this work, but it takes time. Steam wasn’t an overnight success.
The bad news (for Microsoft) is that Valve’s Steam is a solid brand, the place where gamers are used to go to. I predict Microsoft to mess up things first with bad digital rights management (which takes about 1-2 years), then they spend couple of years in heavy marketing and finally after total of about 5 years they have built a decent system… meanwhile Valve has gone steps forward. Tough place for Microsoft.
Perhaps they could simply try buy Valve…