Chinese tech giant Lenovo has announced its entry into the digital distribution market, unveiling the Lenovo Legion Game Store and taking the fight to Valve's Steam via integration into the Lenovo Vantage software.
Digital distribution offers the potential of extreme profits at a surprisingly low cost: There's a reason, after all, Valve's breakneck game release schedule began cooling around the time when its Steam platform took off. Publishing third-party titles and taking a cut of each one sold provides a recurring revenue stream at little effort, and it's an approach which has seemingly attracted Lenovo.
The Lenovo Legion Game Store, the company explains, is a 'web-based e-commerce site' which will at launch include 200 PC games. While that's not a very high number, the company has opted to throw some shade on Valve's Steam while defending the relatively limited catalogue: 'Unlike other digital download services, the Lenovo Legion Game Store will have a regimented screening process with the intent of allowing only fully developed or closed beta titles onto the platform,' Lenovo claims, referring to Steam's 'Early Access' system which allows developers to list as-yet unfinished titles to raise further funds but without the promise that they will ever be finished. 'We know gamers can get frustrated with having to pay for half-finished, half-hearted demos, and we want to help put an end to that.'
Where Lenovo is hoping it has an edge over Valve and rival digital distribution platforms is in having a largely captive audience: The company's consumer-oriented Windows 10 systems come pre-loaded with Lenovo Vantage, a one-stop application for updates, health-checking, and support, while the company's Legion-branded gaming systems extend Vantage with overclocking and lighting customisation functionality. By adding the Legion Game Store to Vantage, Lenovo hopes, it will pull in further revenue from its gaming customers.
Lenovo Legion Game Store launches on November 26th, the company has confirmed, as a US exclusive for now; no word has yet been provided on an international launch. More information is available on the official website.