September 5th, 2017

Steam celebrates 11 years and everyone loves it now

steam

Steam celebrates another year of serving PC gamers everywhere.

When Steam launched back in in 2003 it wasn’t exactly greeted with enthusiasm. Valve was bringing a system to gamers that would require them to have it installed to play games. What a preposterous idea.

steam page
Didn’t look too sharp in the early days.

On September 12 2003 the initial release was really no more than a patching platform, and although Steam is still not perfect, I think we can agree it’s come a long way. Eleven years on and PC gamers all over the planet use it. With the demise of retailers and the rise of digital downloads thanks to Steam,  it’s fair to say that Valve got in early and are now reaping the massive rewards.

I’ll admit that I didn’t really embrace Steam. As a PC gamer who loved to actually have the physical box, the whole concept didn’t appeal. Valve were clever to make Steam a requirement when Half Life 2 was released, who wouldn’t install it out of principle if it meant they couldn’t enjoy one of the most anticipated sequels of all time.

I got over my boxed copy fixation a few years ago, now I hate the damn things. Now they fill cupboards in spare rooms because one day they may be worth something. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. That Collectors’ Edition of Ultima Online with its cloth map, copies of Half Life, Diablo 1‘s, Command & Conquers, they’re all sitting in those cupboards being completely useless.

In the past few years we’ve seen more PC games released than ever before and the convenience of Steam has made it an essential tool for PC gamers everywhere. Let’s also not forget that it’s also helped indie developers who now have direct access to a massive PC gaming community.

Steam is essential, but it’s not perfect. The terrible Steam Greenlight and a poor refund policy are two issues that get mentioned time and time again. PC gamers can complain as much as they want, Valve has it sewn up and they’ll make changes and improvements in their own time, Valve Time.

PC Gamers can’t complain, we all have large libraries of games in our Steam accounts, many of them having never been played. IncGamers’ Tim McDonald has probably purchased every game ever released on Steam and there’s many more like him out there in PC gaming land. This fact alone proves Steam works for gamers, the developers, and Valve.

So when did you join Steam? Are you an 11 year Steam veteran with a shiny badge?

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  • Comments:
    • Grey

      You certainly make a lot of assumptions…I for one dislike it a great deal. I don’t hate Steam and I don’t dislike it for the normal reasons everyone throws around. DRM does not bother me. Game ownership verses lease does not bother me. I was an early adopter of Steam and thought it was the right way for the industry to go. After 10 years I do not think it is case anymore. Steam had potential but much of it is unrealized. At this point Steam is a polished turd floating in a punch bowl. It looks shiny on the surface and since the party is going well everyone ignores the stink.

      To be clearmy issue is that Valve/Steam does not care about the gaming community. Gabe, Mike, and the rest of the gang care about money. (I do not fault them for this as it is the way of business.) The Crew has been the same since they started planning Steam while they were at Microsoft. They even employ the same MS business practices they used for software distribution and beta deployment. A case in point is that the gamers have no voice in any of the operations of the service (and it is nothing more than a service – it has just become a service that owns you and tells you what to do and what to say. If you are good you get a pat on the head, a trading card, and a nice sale. If you speak out…the brown shirt fanboyz flame you and you get banned.) The customer service is awful – which should tell an intelligent person a thing or two about the company – why the gamer community puts up with it is beyond me. Poor communication/arrogant responses/lack of quality all speak to the smell below the shine.

      Other issues such as: 1) A broken offline mode. Yes,it works for two weeks…but then corrupts your games. Not everyone has consistent internet access – such as people with jobs, military, rural dwellers. 70% of the planet does not have reliable internet it is only consistent in major population centers. (Customer service usually just tells you to re-purchase your corrupted games or does not answer at all.) 2) A disaster in the roll out of family share. (Anyone using it will note that it is broken.) 3) A poor performance on Steambox. 4) A failure of Greenlight (which is being phased out). 5) Poor security…no, really.

      The real issue with Steam is it could have been Great. (What we have now is not great – but since we are constantly told how great it is and get monkey bumped by the fanboyz if we stray from the opinion we are given – the gamers do not seem to be able to form their own views anymore.) Most of the issues that could make Steam truly good service would be easy to fix for a Dev org and a management team worth their salt. Offline mode could be fixed. Family Share could be fixed. Greenlight could be improved. Steambox could be better. Security could be greatly improved. And customer service could actually be customer service. The real problem is that they just do not care. “Here…have another shiny..err…sale on games. 30% off should keep you entertained and ignorant.”

      Yes, Steam is definitely a shiny turd in a punch bowl.

      …And now for the “night of the long knives” for speaking out against Steam.

    • lazerbeak

      Great article Paul I hated Steam at first too with a passion.

      I used to love the idea of a physical disk, it took me a long time to psychologically accpet digital downloads (same with dvds I used to have a bookcase full of them now gone). It won’t be long before kids wonder what the fuck were talking about, boxes? why boxes?

      There was a brief time when Steam was not a great option since internet wasn’t fast enough, also wasn’t Steam pretty slow at one stage?

      I remember FFXI taking TWO DAYS to patch.

      Also games are so huge now is a massive pain to install from disk, it fact in my case I think downloading is faster than installing from dvd.

      I think a lot of people love Steam avidly because the other options are so fucking bad, ie Origin and Uplay

      What worries me a bit is to my eyes Steam is a monopoly now (which can be seen as good to many…one system = less hassle), you can forget improved customer service corps never do this if they’re a monopoly. The only changes your see will be ones that potentially increase revenue.

      Why have customer service? you’re not going anywhere! Game doesnt work? “sorry your problem.. read the forums”, send a email that will be ignored.

      And the early access games all over the store drives me mad, personally I don’t want buy unfinished games and never will no matter how much I like the game (I can understand why some people do).

      I do the opposite and buy games once their patched their should a option to filter out early access for fussy people like me.

      Reading this site it looks like early access is a pain for reviews too since how can you really review something that isn’t finished? T

      Also constantly have having games presented in massive pop ups!! like their available only to find out their pre-release, and months away. Blatant money milking

      Steam is obviously miles better than the digital download competition or buying physical copies but theres loads of problems.

      Steam could be a lot better like you said.

      Great post Grey, by the way cheers

      Why do you say security is poor? doesn’t the logon/email verification thing work?

      I think the lease issue option is a major issue, what happens when you die? maybe some people want pass their games on it could be worth 1000s of pounds.

      Just passing on logons isn’t good enough, Steam would have the right to ban the account. Itunes also has this issue.

    • Victor

      “I think the lease issue option is a major issue, what happens when you die? maybe some people want pass their games on it could be worth 1000s of pounds.”

      There is no ownership of digital assets. That’s why I buy music in physical format (vinyl) so that I can pass it down to someone else when I don’t need or use it anymore. You cannot do this with digital files, they are locked to your account with no possibility of sharing access. Also you are not allowed to send digital media to anyone, it’s against copyright and you can do jail for this just because they want to force each of us to pay for it.

      This is the problem of our generation. We don’t own information, we can’t pass it along, borrow or sell it. If I die tomorrow, nobody will be able to tell all my friends and acquaintances that I passed away. My email, facebook and all the other social crap is locked behind a password only I know and nobody will eve get. This is a truly a world where you live alone and die alone.

    • lazerbeak

      hmm sad but true, this why I print every email I send and receive and put them into a special archive folder for future generations…joke 😀

      There no technical reason why digital ownership can not be passed on its just itunes and others being arseholes, pressure needs to be applied to the US COngress to change the law