Although one might assume that indie darling Minecraft would be a natural fit for Valve's online distribution service, you won't find the game on Steam. Why not? Minecraft creator Notch was apparently asked that question at PAX last weekend, and he's posted the answer for all to see.
As it turns out, Notch is a big fan of Steam, calling it the best digital distribution platform he's seen. But Steam also comes with restrictions that hamper a developer's ability to sell goods outside the service: "We (probably?) wouldn’t be able to, say, sell capes or have a map market place on minecraft.net that works with steam customers in a way that keeps Valve happy." Notch is apparently discussing the issue with Valve, and he understands the company's rationale. It seems that he also wants to run his own Minecraft store, though.
I'm curious to see if the two parties can work something out, because microtransactions and in-game purchases seem destined to become more popular in the coming years. I can understand Valve wanting to ensure that it's permitted to offer all of a games' content for sale via Steam. At the same time, however, I can see why developers might want the freedom to offer the same content directly to their customers. Thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for the tip.