Steam is a digital distribution platform for video games and was originally developed by Valve on the 12th September 2003. Valve are originally known for many classic titles, such as Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and of course, Portal. Moving on from developing games, Valve created Steam, a DRM platform that many other companies proceeded to try and copy and follow on from its vast success, especially under the consideration that every PC game on the platform wants to be on Steam, at any cost.
The Steam client can be downloaded and used for free. To start your download click on the button at the end of the review. You will then be able to explore the platform and download games, many of them completely for free. You should know that there are also other digital distribution platforms and be sure to check them out too. To give you just a few examples, they are Origin, GOG, Game Jolt or Itch.
Over the years, Steam has changed a lot, and the developers have made a lot of different visual changes and additions to the platform and its client to smooth out the overall experience. For the most part, users of the client will be treated to the featured area of the store, where at a glance they can check to see what’s on sale, and even see what some of the best-selling games out right now.
From that point, the user can continue to explore the store, picking out their favorite genres to look out for new games they might not have seen or heard of before. Alongside the store, there is a library, community, and profile section. For the library, users will find their library of games to install and play. Community allows the user to look up community-created content, reviews, mods, and all sorts of other extras that might crop up. In the profile section, users have the option of personalizing their profile page however they see fit.
A couple of years prior, Steam implemented a new system called “badges” and along with the badges came the inclusion of trading cards. Trading cards can be earned, simply by playing a game that the user owns, but typically caps off between 3-8, depending on the game. With those trading cards, the user can purchase other trading cards to create a set, and once a set has been created, the player will be rewarded with a badge, a background wallpaper for their profile, a Steam Emote – which can be used when chatting to friends – and 100 XP. The more experience the user gains, the higher their Steam level will be and while it doesn’t really do much, it’s primarily for bragging rights.
A major part of Steam is the use of the market. In the market, players can buy and sell different in-game items that have been unlocked by playing some of their favourite games. Buying and selling on the market can net the user a tidy profit, providing the item is of some value, and while the money can only be contained in the user’s Steam account, that money can be used anywhere on the Steam platform when able.
Enjoying Steam on Your Sofa
For players that like to enjoy their games from a sofa, the use of Big Picture Mode alleviates that problem by making the Steam client act as if it’s a regular console. The UI is much bigger, along with the text, and everything is made much simpler and designed to be perfectly used on a large screen TV, a problem many other users struggled with without Big Picture Mode.
The Community of Players
Then, of course, there’s the friend’s system, where the user can add many other users to their friend’s list (once they’ve been accepted) and chat away or play games with them. Now, with a recent update, players can set up groups between friends, and play games together even easier than before. There is a finite number of friends one player can have, however, but that can be increased by reaching certain Steam level milestones.
Originally, Steam was a simple platform to distribute digital PC games with ease and over the years it has been perfected and refined into an ideal experience for any PC gamer. Many of the additions create a great community vibe and makes playing games on PC a lot more streamlined and entertaining than it was previously, allowing users to stay connected with their friends whenever and how often they like.