Steam's ubiquitous nature as a digital distribution platform has really changed the landscape of PC gaming. It's changed it so much that according to DayZ
creator Dean Hall
, companies don't really need to worry about a publisher any longer
. Hall went on the record recently saying that the Early Access service offered via Steam essentially lets players take over the role of publisher, paying to finish development and providing marketing via word-of-mouth.
The strategy has obviously worked quite well for DayZ
, which has sold an impressive number of copies even in its very early and unfinished state. Hall also pontificates that it remains up to publishers to see where they fit into the new paradigm, since Early Access gives smaller studios an option that they wouldn't have otherwise