The Steam Platform Review: For The Gamer and The gamer’s Parent
If you exist within the gaming environment, you have probably heard about Steam. If not, you will be hearing about it soon enough. Or more often now that you have heard of it here. It doesn’t matter if you are a gamer yourself or a parent to game-enthusiastic teenagers; the Steam is coming.
Thankfully, this article is here to prepare you for Steam’s coming. It does that by touching on the most common questions that you will find coming to mind when the word starts dropping by within your earshot. If you are already hearing Steam mentioned in your gaming conversations but are still in the woods, you’re welcome to tag along. Let this article lead you to the light…
What is Steam?
This is a platform on the internet where video game players can perform several gaming procedures with ease. These include buying new games, getting updates for existing titles, creating new games, and discussing PC games with other players among a host of other functions. The platform is owned by video game developers Valve Corporation. It digitally distributes games both from Valve and other third-party developers.
Additionally, gamers are treated to early sneak peeks of upcoming games on Steam in the form of demos and trailers. Developers allow users to make comments about the pending releases and may occasionally make changes based on the feedback received.
Steam also has a simulation feature where people can get a virtual picture of what certain games look like.
History of Steam
The Steam platform has been around since September 2003. Yes, the new concept you are hearing about has been around for a decade and a half; talk about the vastness of the internet! No shame though. Valve developed the platform in a bid to sort several issues.
The first and major issue was the distribution of updates. The developed noticed that whenever new updates to a game were created, it became difficult to distribute them to the gaming community. Patch updating, the model used back then, was slow and caused a major disconnect within the gaming community.
Another issue was game piracy. The slow distribution meant players were exposed to game versions that were not genuine. Thirdly, random distribution and the presence of pirated versions made cheating quite easy.
The creation of Steam, a platform that would enable automatic updates, began in 2002 in partnership with several companies. By the time of its launch in 2003, it has been tested in a beta version and proved capable of solving all three major issues.
The Steam Structure
Basically, Steam is a website. It works in the form of cloud service to connect gamers and game providers. The site itself is divided into three major sections: store, community, and support. The store is where players can get their desired titles and updates. The community section forms a discussion problem where the gaming family can discuss a variety of issues concerning the games therein. The support is Steam’s channel through which concerns are aired and solved.
- Steam is available for almost all operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
- To use the Steam platform, a gamer will need to create a steam account. This is an easy process that takes just a few minutes.
- The platform also has a mobile platform. The app can be downloaded and installed on mobile phones or the user can just opt for browser access. The mobile platform, however, is most suitable for the discussion forum rather than playing.
The platform becomes even easier to use owing to the presence of multiple languages to choose from. Users can opt to choose from a list of over 20 languages, among them English, French, Hungarian, Portuguese and Italian.
Games offered on Steam
Initially, The Steam platform used to only provide titles from Valve Corporation. Today, however, the platform has games from numerous other developers. The third-party involvement model began in 2005. The platform now presents itself as open to distribution without discrimination, something that has evoked a degree of controversy. This open model has led to Steam grabbing over 70% of the PC gaming market.
Valve games have remained most popular on the platform, with the Counter Strike title leading the way. Others include PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Gears 5, Remnant: From The Ashes, GreedFall, Grand Theft Auto, Dark Souls, and Dota among many others.
In total, there are around 30,000 games on steam, available in different playing models. Some are free to play while others require payment.
Part of Steam’s appeal is the ease of use. The platform allows gamers to hold accounts from the age of 13 years. It is a great teenage birthday gift to be able to access the largest and most efficient gaming platform in the world.
All one needs is an account and a Steam Wallet. Money can be deposited to the Steam Wallet from the user’s bank or users can buy a steam card and use it to make purchases. The specific terms depend on the particular service you are using- free-play, purchase, creation, etc.
The openness of Steam has more than once been a concern especially for parents whose children use the platform. There have been concerns about the type of games that underage (and even adult) gamers are exposed to. The issue of the language used in the discussion forums has also formed part of the discussions.
The platform does, however, offer parents the option of setting a ‘Family View’ set-up to protect children from what may be considered adult or graphic content. Steps to create this set up are given within the platform. Filters are also available to notify users whenever they are about to open titles that are rated graphic.
The Steam Wallet is the most effective tool that parents can use in control and monitoring. Parents can control the amount of money that kids deposit in their wallets and track how such money is used.
The Bottom Line
Steam has been in the gaming industry for 15 years now, and it keeps growing. It shouldn’t be a new concept anymore now that you have read this article. If you are a player, there is no avoiding Steam if you are keen on having a good playing experience. If you are a parent, you also need to get used to the platform for purposes of monitoring your children.