Steam Supremacy: Why Steam is Still the Number 1 PC Gaming PlatformAug 7, 2022 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate From the time it was launched in the early 2ks to our current day today, Steam has retained its top position in online gaming retail, distribution, and support. Let's take a closer look at why this is so.
For those who have been playing PC games for a very long time, we all remember when one could only acquire computer games by physically going to a computer or games store or ordering it by mail. That was when actual game packaging and the paraphernalia that accompanied the games themselves mattered.
As more sales and transactions were made online, game distributors and publishers became convinced that this would eventually be the best way to market and eventually sell their games. No need for physical packaging and selling; it would all be done by the customers downloading the products online. This started to happen around the late 1990s when online games started to peek, and games like EverQuest could either be downloaded or bought in stores as client software. By 2003-2004, Valve embarked on one of the most innovative online marketing and selling ideas. It was a website called Steam.
Initially, Steam as a go-to gaming platform was created to give online support to Valve's most popular title of the time, CounterStrike. The game needed patches, updates, and other additional content that would extend its playability and life (not to mention it was the leading eSports FPS gaming platform of the time). Steam was everything CounterStrike, as well as other Valve mods and games, and it offered a way to make things much easier for the growing numbers of CS gamers to get the support they needed. When Half-Life was launched in 2004, the Steam platform played a pivotal role in the launching of the game.
As Valve was plunging headlong into the realm of game distribution and support innovation, Steam decided to act as an online middle-man for third-party games (games created by other publishers aside from Valve). By pulling in other game companies to sell their products through Steam, the platform was able to grow itself and introduce a lot of non-traditional ideas where helping each other out instead of directly competing against each other could be turned into a more profitable win-win situation for everyone. This attracted other AAA game companies like Strategy First, Eidos, and id, among others. By 2007, the platform had around 150 game titles for sale, and an estimated 13million user accounts registered.
Through the years, Steam has continued with its innovative ideas, testing and eventually implementing those that worked well in the marketing, supporting, and distributing games through its varied online services. Despite tough competition from other game companies that have launched their marketing and distribution online, like EA Games, Epic, Ubisoft, and even the Xbox console Game Pass service from Microsoft, Valve has always been one step ahead with providing both quality and innovative services to its gaming clients. With that, let's look at some of the unique features inherent only to Steam and which have carried the platform from when it began to the present.
This is where the integrated (one-stop-shop) games online distribution platform began. By carrying the products of other companies aside from itself, Valve was able to establish a solid distribution foothold in the gaming community. This made it easy for developers and publishers of AAA games to consolidate their marketing operations into a single location online. Likewise, Steam afforded independent game developers (indie) an online portal where they could directly sell their creations without going through the usual creator-to-publisher-to-market process and a bigger chance to get their games seen and sold.
Alpha and Beta Game Marketing
This was a hugely innovative move on the part of Valve. Developers could already market their game in the last stages of development by letting gamers try it(and even place orders) before the game's final release. This opened an entirely new concept of selling games where prospective customers were given the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions to the creators to influence the outcome of the end product.
Seasonal Product Discounts
When Steam sells games at a discount (usually for a specific period of limited time), gamers jump in at the chance to get games (usually AAA titles) for the price of peanuts. As ridiculous as it may be, Steam does this, and many customers would sit and wait for this Black Friday event.
The Steam Workshop
As Steam began by practically supporting CounterStrike gamers and content creators, the encouragement of modding by Valve has created a platform that easily facilitates the downloading, creation, and installation of mods for your games. The activity has also extended to other games (sold by Steam). Creators, developers, artists, modders, and gamers now have access to a massive suppository of add-ons for many famous and played games on the platform.
A Huge Gaming Community
Steam has probably the most massive gaming community on the Internet today. The platform allows gamers and developers from all over the world to come together online to discuss, ask questions and help each other with many gaming concerns in today's gaming market.
Another new and innovative idea from Steam. Game sharing allows the members of a family (and even friends) to use a single copy of a game, provided they are registered under the Family Library Sharing feature of the platform. That way, gamers can cut gaming costs by burrowing each other's games in their Steam accounts.
There are many more reasons why Steam retains the top spot in online retail, distribution, and support. However, the list above will already give us a pretty good idea of what keeps Steam at the top of the heap. If Valve continues to listen to and value its customers, it will take a long time for Steam to remain where it currently is.