Steam: Simply Explained
Steam as the digital storefront has changed dramatically over the years. It has grown into the primary way of buying, playing, and updating games on PCs.
The advent of Steam and cause of its appearance
Valve created Steam more or less out of necessity when they noticed that people would be overwhelmed with difficulties every time they needed to update one or more of their online games by creating a platform with the ability to automatically update games.
In other words, Valve reduced the downtime that the gamers would encounter so that they could keep playing without having to bother about navigating to the developer’s website, downloading the latest patch, etc.
Despite being the standard today, Valve unquestionably made at least some gamers angry by imposing online authentication and DRM requirements to play games. Especially in 2004, when Steam was still rather buggy and often buckling under the stress of heavy traffic and crashing games as a result.
Steam just got better with time and after they smoothed out their client-server networking architecture, Valve started making agreements with third-party publishers to diversify Steam’s game catalog beyond its own titles. And as more and more publishers began adopting the digital distribution model, the success and profitability of Steam grew urging Valve to roll out a host of new features for the platform. Some of them are Cloud storage, instant messaging, and perhaps most notably the addition of community-based networking groups. In this way, silently at the beginning of 2019, Steam has reached a grand total of over 30K games.
No matter how you feel about it, there is no denying that Valve has refined Steam into a dominant platform with a lot to offer.