Though the video game industry continues to progress by giant leaps and bounds, the accessibility of video game soundtracks hasn't improved all that much, over the years. In theory, having so many options for buying and streaming music online should have improved access, but soundtracks just don't seem easy to come by. Thankfully, a new update from Valve Corporation just removed one barrier that was making access to video game soundtracks a bit cumbersome for gamers. Players could initially only purchase soundtracks on Steam if they owned the game. Today, the company removed that barrier, granting access to the music to anyone willing to spend the money.
The move seems like a no-brainer on Valve's part. After all, if players want to spend their cash on a download for a soundtrack, it seems like the least Valve could do is facilitate that purchase. Unfortunately, the company had soundtracks treated as DLC, making it impossible for fans that played these games through other methods (such as console) from buying them. It's definitely a step in the right direction towards making them more accessible.
The update doesn't just make music more accessible, it makes it a bigger part of the Steam experience. Developers can now make their soundtracks available even if the game itself isn't on the service. Music purchased on Steam also now has its own directory where purchasers can access it. The latest update even allows publishers to add album art and liner notes and choose between different sound options.
It seems quite bizarre that video game soundtracks have remained so difficult to obtain for so long. It was a bit more understandable in an era before iTunes, but the fact that some of the greatest soundtracks of all-time can only be accessed through the occasional CD release is a bit bizarre, to say the least. While some publishers offer video game music on services like iTunes, it's a frustratingly small library.
The demand is obviously there. After all, companies like Mondo have released vinyl options for games like Metal Gear, and they've quickly sold out. Granted, these are limited print runs, but the fact remains that people are willing to purchase them. Perhaps Valve's update will be the start of a new trend for the industry as a whole. It's a nice thought, at least!
Do you plan on purchasing soundtracks on Steam? What video game music do you want to see added to the service? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!