All about Steam. Picture: Steam

All about Steam. Picture: Steam

What is Steam? Know all about it!

Community Oct 29, 2022

Steam is a digital distribution platform for video games created by Valve Corporation.


  • It was launched as a software client in September 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates for their games
  • Expanding to distributing and offering third-party game publishers' titles in late 2005.

Video games have significantly contributed to the entertainment industry's growth and will likely continue to do so. In 1972, the first video game, Pong, was released in an arcade machine, sparking a video game craze that swiftly spread among young people. As a result, companies like Atari Games and Nintendo saw a lucrative potential to invest in the growing entertainment industry and started producing gaming gear and software. This led to the growth of the video game business, which since its inception 50 years ago, has brought in over $109 billion in revenue from 2.2 billion players.

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Technology modernization has aided the video game industry's exponential growth throughout time. Atari Games published a home version of Pong shortly after the arcade version was released, paving the way for a wave of cutting-edge gaming technologies to meet players' demands. Modern games originated on arcade machines and are now playable on portable devices, home video game consoles, and desktop PCs. Naturally, gaming firms started using the Internet to market and distribute their titles, which led to the development of Steam, the first digital distribution platform.

The Valve Corporation developed Steam, a digital platform for the distribution of video games. Players and game producers may purchase and sell video games online in this gaming community. Due to its user-friendly features, Steam is one of, if not the most popular platform in its industry. Its customer support services, which include tools and features for help and general enhancement of its customers' gaming experiences, are a notable illustration of this. Continue reading for a summary of Steam's evolution throughout time and the qualities that have contributed to its current popularity.

All About Steam

What is Steam?

Games suported by Steam. Picture: Steam

A digital distribution channel explicitly made for players and game creators is called Steam. The platform, which initially specialized in PC games, quickly made itself available on home gaming consoles like the Xbox and Sony PlayStation. Instead of purchasing physical copies of the games and painstakingly installing them onto their computers, players may sign in to Steam to quickly buy and play games online.

Whether for large gaming corporations or little independent devs, Steam is a practical platform. Any developer may collaborate with Steam to publish their games on the network and to quickly interact with and update the gaming community through a shop page. Game creators may utilize Steam to publish "game patches" for users to download if they want to update or repair their game. This enables game designers to enhance their titles without ordering a product recall.

How was Steam Created?

The same firm that produced Counter-Strike, the Left 4 Dead, and the Half-Life series founded Steam in 2003. According to a Kotaku article, Valve wanted a platform where it could readily update its multiplayer games; therefore, it created the platform in 2002.

Initially doing well, Steam quickly encountered a problem. This occurred with Valve's much-anticipated Half-Life 2 release. As soon as it was released, the firm demanded that users sign up for an account on Steam for authentication and anti-piracy reasons. However, the site crashed due to the high volume of visitors, which angered players greatly. Valve immediately resolved the issue, enabling the event to act as a wake-up call. The website was able to handle the influx of player registrations when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was published on the system.

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However, it wasn't until 2005 that Steam's reputation within the gaming world began to improve. Steam was only applicable to games made by Valve before that year. Valve let other significant and well-known gaming firms like Capcom and Activision release their games on the platform by bringing on other publishers. The gaming community was thrilled to learn about the wide variety of available video games on the platform. Additionally, Valve began integrating new features, which ultimately transformed Steam into the well-known game distribution platform it is today.

The Popularity of Steam

A player playing games. Picture: Steam

Steam is the first online video game distribution platform, debuting six years before Ubisoft's Uplay and EA's Origin. Steam had already established itself as the top digital distribution service for the game industry when rival platforms began to operate. Given that the majority of them use the internet to buy games they can't get in their local game retailers, gamers are highly familiar with Steam. Due to the playthroughs of well-known YouTubers, popular video games like Five Nights At Freddy's and Subnautica, which were made accessible on Steam, also assisted in bringing the platform to the attention of the gaming community.

Steam is an excellent platform for players to buy and download PC games on their machines since it is readily available online. Users must create a Steam account to purchase games on Steam. Users can download games on any digital device supporting Steam by connecting to their accounts. Steam users have been informed of updates and software fixes for bugs and problems. The marketplace regularly offers inexpensive video games and bundles. The Steam Library is a portal where users can check game statistics, accomplishments, their library of played titles, and their friends' activities. Players may communicate with one another in the Steam community online via features like Steam Chat and Game Hubs. Gamers may broadcast their gameplay live and work together to create player modifications with Steam Broadcast and Steam Workshop. Such features provide the gaming community with a whole new level of involvement, considerably enhancing the user experience for players on the platform.

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Steam has long been the preferred medium for game distribution for game producers. After the initial game in the renowned Five Nights at Freddy's series sold very well, developer Scott Cawthon made the other titles available on Steam. Over 30,000 games are presently accessible on Steam, ranging from AAA to independent titles. When Steam was still in its infancy, any game developer could publish their games on the platform's website for a fee and in exchange for returning a portion of the sales proceeds. While this was advantageous for major game publishers, independent game makers couldn't take the risk. As a result, Steam Greenlight was created.

When Steam first started, it utilized Steam Greenlight to choose which independent games users wanted to see on the platform. The community decided the games they wanted to play using Steam Greenlight, which was like a voting booth. Instead, Steam Direct, which costs creators $100 to get their game launched on the platform, replaced Steam Greenlight in 2017. This made it unnecessary for developers to target the gaming market. Through the use of Steamworks, a subsidiary platform where game makers may collaborate with Steam, Steam permits the distribution of games on its website. Once they have partnered with the platform, game creators may use Steam Direct and Steamworks, a free set of tools they can use to optimize their games for Steam. Additionally, there is the Steam PC Cafe Program, a commercial site license that allows a game developer's firm to use Steam, Steamworks, and the platform's licensed games. Members of the firm may even access and download game material to their Steam accounts, using the Steam Workshop as a resource while developing their games.

Making Your Games Available on Steam

A game's inclusion on Steam may have several advantages, regardless of whether it comes from a tiny independent developer or a major gaming studio. In addition to having millions of daily active users, the platform also has a well-organized shop where users can quickly locate the latest, most well-liked, and lowest-priced games.

When game creators place their titles on a digital distribution platform, problems with product licensing and distribution may arise. Fortunately, Steamworks allows for the facilitation of collaborations. The process of uploading games to the platform has been made easy by Steamworks. The remaining steps for developers are to complete the digital documentation, pay the $100 app deposit fee, get their game ready for release, and wait for Steam to approve it.

After approval, the developer is granted complete control over the game, including the ability to distribute and update it. A 30-day period must pass between the payment of the app deposit fee and the release date on Steam for users to evaluate the information included in the digital documentation. A public "Coming Soon" page must be made by developers two weeks before the release date. This will assist developers in launching their products and cultivating a community of users.

The Importance of Customer Support

Companies should set up customer service to handle their goods' questions, requests, and complaints. According to Techopedia, customer assistance considerably increases the value of the product. This is because customer support helps customers establish the necessary systems or serves as consultants to explain how the product works, saving them time and money.

Customer service is crucial when it comes to video games since it has a significant impact on how the target market will see the offering. Inevitably, players may run across bugs and glitches while playing. Still, with a dependable and valuable mechanism for reporting these problems, developers can take remedial action to enhance their users' experiences. Excellent customer service encourages players to keep playing the game and builds brand loyalty. It also provides the developers with the input they need to improve their games. Steam offers several customer assistance options. The first is Steam Support, a virtual help desk where customers may search for answers to their queries. Nearly everything is covered by Steam Support on the website, from difficulties with players' accounts and purchases to issues with the games themselves.

Users of the platform may also participate in peer-to-peer conversations and forum reviews on the Steam Discussions website. These conversations may include everything from constructive game criticism to software administration. Additionally, there are moderators inside the Steam Discussions, some of whom are volunteers and others who are members of the Steam Developers & Support Team. This makes it possible for gamers and the organization to communicate effectively. The review part of the game's shop page makes it simple to communicate with the creator and other players.

Valve has developed a customer support metrics website to display client service statistics. The stats page displays the backlog of unanswered support requests and the number of assistance requests the site gets every 90 days. This allows Steam to spot issues with their customer service and pinpoint the areas that need improvement. The metrics page demonstrates how well Steam reacts to customer inquiries, which is helpful to players and game creators.

Steam: A Video Game Distribution Platform

Steam Logo. Picture: Steam

Steam has become a titan in its industry as an online video game distribution platform. The video game industry entered a new era with its birth in 2005. The original purpose of Steam was to allow Valve developers to update their multiplayer games without disturbing their users. Still, its designers soon recognized that it might also serve as a platform for the distribution of games. With the much-anticipated release of Half-Life 2, Valve tried out this potential. Still, the online registration problem prompted a reaction that gave players a less-than-favorable impression of Steam. Then, Valve acted swiftly to win back consumer trust by enhancing their platforms and including games made by other game developers. The reputation of Steam within the game industry has significantly increased by 2007. Gamers had a vast range of games to choose from, and Steam also ensured that its customers were comfortable. This includes the launch of the Steam Community, Steam Support, and Steam Library.

Steam has a subsidiary website for game makers called Steamworks, where they may collaborate with the platform. Here, game makers may use Steam's gaming features to enhance their creations and study tutorials in Steam Workshop. As well as displaying and releasing their products on shop sites, creators may engage with their audience via the community center of those pages. In the following years, Valve has excellent ambitions for Steam. In a Kotaku story, Valve claims that there will be significant changes to Steam, including creating a moderation staff to keep an eye on the platform's content. With a new algorithm recommendation engine, as well as new broadcasting and curation tools, the website will also increase the discoverability of its stores. It will update Steam's current catalog, introduce Steam to China, roll out a mobile Steam Chat app, start Steam VR, and do much more.

Players no longer need to purchase physical copies of their favorite video games since Steam is commercially accessible in every country. Their gameplay data may be kept on Steam, where they can buy and download their games directly. Game creators might see steam as a safety net, allowing them to distribute their games without taking too much risk. Steam will continue to significantly impact the video game business as Valve plans to improve its gaming platform shortly to accommodate new gaming technologies.

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Until next time,



Manish Gupta

I’m a creative thinker. I think it’s important to approach tasks and issues from different angles, rather than doing what has always been done. By having an open mind and taking a different approach.