Steam Community was officially established on March 22, 2002 at the Game Developers Conference by Valve Corporation. However, the idea of having an online gaming community originally occurred after Valve Corporation failed in its bids to release updates for their online games such as the much famous counter strike. Initially the steam community offered a purely distribution network where anti-piracy and anti-cheat measures could be implemented in a better way. The Steam client first made its appearance in the online market when it was made available during the beta period for Counter-Strike 1.6 in 2002. However, the big break came in 2004 after Steam took over the World Opponent Network and simultaneously, Valve Corporation started to negotiate contracts with a number of independent developers and publishers to release their products and games on Steam. Valve’s Half-Life 2 soon became the first game that required steam client for installation.
Steam Community Overview
Steam is primarily a multiplayer, communication, digital distribution and digital rights management platform developed and released by the Valve Corporation. It primary functionality was to allow independent and small developers to distribute games to the large software houses and other customers online. In October 2012, Valve expanded the services offered under Steam Community and included non-gaming software into their armory.
There are times that issues may rise and and may need Steam Community to be arbitrator, during that time one may seek the help of the community through a written notice to the address below.
P.O. Box 1688,
Bellevue, WA 98004
Steam offers its users automatic management and installation of software as well as social features such as cloud saving, friend list, groups and in-game voice and chat functionality. The software provides an application programming interface (API) that can help the developers to integrate various functions of Steam into the software products. Steam offers Networking, matchmaking, copy protection, in- game achievements and micro transaction, and all this across multiple platforms and computers
Initially the steam client was developed for Microsoft Windows and was later expanded to Linux and OS X versions and with a limited functionality on PlayStation 3 console and mobile devices with Android and iOS operating systems. Valve has over the years developed Steam into software that can be used for educational purpose in schools, with its Portal 2 an asset for teaching lessons related to critical thin king and science, thus not limiting the community to be a central hub for gaming software. Currently Steam has over 3000 games available online with more than 65 million accounts with an estimation that 75% of all the digital games purchased for PC are through Steam. In January 2013, Steam Community surpassed the mark of 6.6 million concurrent players on its online website. High profile games such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, BioShock and S.T.A.L.K.E.R have played a significant role in the increased popularity of Steam Community off late.
What are the major functionalities offered by Steam?
- Maintaining and Delivering Software: Steam allows its users to download other software and games that is available in its virtual library. Further, Steam offers digital rights management (DRM) for titles of the software, by providing “custom executable generation” which is unique for each user. However, you are allowed to install the same software on multiple computing devices from steam. Valve added support for Steam Cloud in September 2008, therefore ensuring that custom files such as game saves can be automatically saved on the Steam database. The Steam Guard functionality added in 2011 protects user accounts from hijacking to ensure safety and security. During this time, Valve also offered free games on the Steam community and succeeded in attracting more traffic. The recently released beta version of Steam allows you to share games with your family and friends, thus adding a new dimension to the community channel.
- User interface: A game once purchased gets its software license permanently attached to the Steam account of the user, allowing them to download the same software easily on any other compatible device. The file content is delivered using a file transfer protocol gained from an international server network. You can pay for buying software on Steam in Us Dollars, pounds; Brazilian currency or any other currency based on your location, or you can even pay by WebMoney. This is posible by registering for an account as shown below.
A great utility offered by Steam is that, you can even add non-Steam games to your virtual library, allowing them to be accessed from the Steam community client and if possible embedding Steam features in it. Thus Steam ensures that third party applications and games which are not purchased through Steam can still make use of features available in the Steam community. Each player or user is provided with a unique page where all the details about his/her groups, friends, achievements and their library is made available to them.
That’s not all; Steam gives its users an opportunity to enjoy various deals and offers and an instant access to any game being played at a given time. All you need to do is join the unique community and witness the never ending thrill of online computer gaming.