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Steam

Key Details of Steam

  • Join one of the largest video game distribution platforms with millions of users worldwide
  • Last updated on 04/13/20
  • There have been 0 updates within the past 6 months
  • The current version has 0 flags on VirusTotal badge_icon
  • Also available on iOS and Mac

Editors' Review

by   / March 21, 2017

Steam is an online Windows, Mac, and Linux game store run by Valve Software, the makers of the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Left 4 Dead games. This store exclusively uses a free app also called Steam to download, install, and manage your games. With the decline of physical PC game sales, Steam has become the biggest online PC game store in the world.

Pros

Huge library of games: Steam now has over 10,000 games in its catalog, with a whopping 80% published between 2014 and 2016, according to Sergey Galyonkin, the founder of Steam Spy, an unaffiliated website that gathers statistics on Valve's store. Electronic Arts is the only major PC game publisher that has not put its games on Steam, instead favoring its Origin (Windows, Mac) online store.

Frequent aggressive discounts: Steam and its partners employ frequent sales and steep discounts to help generate revenue. A cut of 50% or more is the new normal and the effective street price of a product that's been out for a few months. A permanent price reduction is increasingly rare, as steep temporary discounts are known to make shoppers feel savvy and empowered.

Easy and universal refunds: Every game on Steam can be refunded with a few clicks, if you've played for less than two hours and bought it within the last couple weeks. This gives you freedom to try games you're not sure about or aren't sure will run well on your computer.

Helpful at-a-glance information: Customer reviews can be thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Steam provides a percentage for the total number and for the last 30 days. So you'll know right away that, say, 81% of 5,013 customers gave it a thumbs up, and 88% of 307 people did so recently. However, Steam does not require a minimum time played, so some of these reviews lack justified verdicts. And users tend to vote on these reviews in a way that promotes low-effort jokes over informative analysis. But it's still a better system than Steam's competitors provide.

Cons

Glut of low-budget indie games: It would be very difficult to keep up with Steam's explosive rate of growth while maintaining quality, and Valve's track record has been mixed. Curation standards have noticeably loosened in recent years, while rudimentary game design tools have become increasingly accessible. The company's desire to democratize its platform, and the steady trend of ironically retro games, combine to drown the better games that don't have marketing budgets big enough to overcome the tide.

No release enforcement on Early Access titles: In March 2013, Valve debuted Early Access, a system where game developers could publish games that were still under development. In theory, this revenue stream could be used to fund the completion of the game. In practice, many titles have remained in Early Access for years, while others are abruptly converted to "finished" status despite development-grade bugs and missing features that were originally promised. Valve has taken a very light approach to dealing with these developers, and it apparently does not mandate chronological milestones in these contracts. Valve is effectively acting as publisher for most of these titles, but it does not set firm ground rules and stick to them like a publisher normally does. Despite the unpredictability that this structure creates, Steam doesn't distinguish regular games from Early Access games until you actually reach the product page, making navigation and discovery more difficult for customers who don't want to roll the dice.

Bottom Line

Although Valve has struggled to widen its content funnel in a way that benefits customers and developers to an equal degree, it's still a solid platform to get your digital Windows, Mac, and Linux games.

Steam Preview

Editors' Review

by   / March 21, 2017

Steam is an online Windows, Mac, and Linux game store run by Valve Software, the makers of the Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Left 4 Dead games. This store exclusively uses a free app also called Steam to download, install, and manage your games. With the decline of physical PC game sales, Steam has become the biggest online PC game store in the world.

Pros

Huge library of games: Steam now has over 10,000 games in its catalog, with a whopping 80% published between 2014 and 2016, according to Sergey Galyonkin, the founder of Steam Spy, an unaffiliated website that gathers statistics on Valve's store. Electronic Arts is the only major PC game publisher that has not put its games on Steam, instead favoring its Origin (Windows, Mac) online store.

Frequent aggressive discounts: Steam and its partners employ frequent sales and steep discounts to help generate revenue. A cut of 50% or more is the new normal and the effective street price of a product that's been out for a few months. A permanent price reduction is increasingly rare, as steep temporary discounts are known to make shoppers feel savvy and empowered.

Easy and universal refunds: Every game on Steam can be refunded with a few clicks, if you've played for less than two hours and bought it within the last couple weeks. This gives you freedom to try games you're not sure about or aren't sure will run well on your computer.

Helpful at-a-glance information: Customer reviews can be thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Steam provides a percentage for the total number and for the last 30 days. So you'll know right away that, say, 81% of 5,013 customers gave it a thumbs up, and 88% of 307 people did so recently. However, Steam does not require a minimum time played, so some of these reviews lack justified verdicts. And users tend to vote on these reviews in a way that promotes low-effort jokes over informative analysis. But it's still a better system than Steam's competitors provide.

Cons

Glut of low-budget indie games: It would be very difficult to keep up with Steam's explosive rate of growth while maintaining quality, and Valve's track record has been mixed. Curation standards have noticeably loosened in recent years, while rudimentary game design tools have become increasingly accessible. The company's desire to democratize its platform, and the steady trend of ironically retro games, combine to drown the better games that don't have marketing budgets big enough to overcome the tide.

No release enforcement on Early Access titles: In March 2013, Valve debuted Early Access, a system where game developers could publish games that were still under development. In theory, this revenue stream could be used to fund the completion of the game. In practice, many titles have remained in Early Access for years, while others are abruptly converted to "finished" status despite development-grade bugs and missing features that were originally promised. Valve has taken a very light approach to dealing with these developers, and it apparently does not mandate chronological milestones in these contracts. Valve is effectively acting as publisher for most of these titles, but it does not set firm ground rules and stick to them like a publisher normally does. Despite the unpredictability that this structure creates, Steam doesn't distinguish regular games from Early Access games until you actually reach the product page, making navigation and discovery more difficult for customers who don't want to roll the dice.

Bottom Line

Although Valve has struggled to widen its content funnel in a way that benefits customers and developers to an equal degree, it's still a solid platform to get your digital Windows, Mac, and Linux games.

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User Reviews
  • All Versions

    2.3

    out of 34 votes

    • 5 star 8
    • 4 star 3
    • 3 star 1
    • 2 star 0
    • 1 star 22
 
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Full Specifications

What's new in version API v020

During game install allow the user to pick a different language if they've changed the per-game language setting or previously installed the game in a different language
Fixed a rare crash Steam could cause in some Steam VR helper processes when Steamworks is initialized in an unexpected manner
Fixed Steam client crash when errors are encountered in audio encoding or decoding when running a game using Steam Voice
Fixed achievement notification images for some games
Fixed the achievement section of library game pages not updating when a user gains an achievement
Fixed intermittent failures in broadcast, YouTube and other web video playback. If you are currently or have previously experienced this please ensure that the "Enable hardware video decoding" setting is enabled in the Interface tab of settings.
Updated embedded Chromium build in Steam to 79.0.3945.117

General

Publisher Valve
Publisher web site http://www.valvesoftware.com
Release Date March 27, 2020
Date Added April 13, 2020
Version API v020

Category

Category Games
Subcategory Games Utilities & Editors

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements 512MB RAM, 1GHz CPU

Download Information

File Size 1.59MB
File Name External File

Popularity

Total Downloads 599,314
Downloads Last Week 349

Pricing

License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free
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