DigiPen students are now able to host their completed game projects on Valve’s popular digital distribution platform Steam. While game projects have long been available for free download on DigiPen’s own game gallery website, the new Steam option is a move towards even greater accessibility and visibility for students hoping to get their projects in front of as many people as possible.
“When you tell somebody, ‘Download this off Steam,’ they probably already have all the infrastructure to do that, whereas they might not know what the DigiPen game gallery is,” Jeremy Holcomb, director of the BA in Game Design program, says. “We want students to have the ability to showcase their work in the ways that work best for them. For instance, almost all of the games that went to PAX West this year have gone up on Steam, so students at the DigiPen Arcade were able to say, ‘Like this game? You can download it for free on Steam right now!’”
Students in any game class can now request for their projects go up on Steam, and upon the professor’s approval, the project will move through an intellectual property committee comprised of DigiPen faculty from a wide range of departments. After reviewing the project, the committee may either issue its approval or outline the changes needed to meet Steam’s upload guidelines. Upon the committee’s approval, DigiPen will open a Steam page for the project and pay the application fee.
The new Steam option is the latest step in an ongoing initiative intended to broaden the ways students can showcase their work. “In the past couple of years, we’ve moved to a system where we continue to own the copyright for these works, but we’ve expanded the ways you can showcase that work. So we allow students to host games on their own servers or their own websites. Assuming they’re crediting DigiPen correctly, they can show off their work however they like,” Holcomb explains. “As part of that process, we’ve created a pipeline now where student work can, in theory, go up on any platform.”
Although Steam is the sole third-party platform available to students for now, Holcomb says DigiPen is moving towards platforms like the Epic Store, the iOS App Store, and beyond.
According to Holcomb, another large factor motivating the new initiative is the boost publishing on Steam gives students once they hit the job market. “We put things on the game gallery so that students can showcase their work and so that we can say they’ve published their games, which of course, they have,” Holcomb says. Adding Steam to the list of published platforms, he says, will give students added clout when building their portfolios. “I think this will make all the difference in terms of students’ ability to get jobs — just being able to say, ‘I have two published titles on Steam,’ is huge.”
Those interested in adding to their Steam library can get started right now! There are already 19 student games either currently available or pending under the DigiPen Institute of Technology publisher name, with more titles on the way.