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Steam

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Steam
Steam logo.png
Steam layout.png
They've got all the games you want.
Developer(s): Valve
Initial Release: September 11, 2003
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Languages: English, Bulgarian, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian and European Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, European and Latin American Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Website: https://store.steampowered.com


Steam is an online platform owned by Valve for PC games. It is currently the largest platform for computer games.

Why It Rocks

  1. The main reason why Steam is so successful is that it is easy to use. You can buy games via Steam's website, main desktop app, or mobile app with multiple payment methods. This greatly reduces game piracy and encourages gamers to buy legally published games and support developers/publishers directly.
  2. Over fifty thousand games are available, including new releases and old out-of-print games, though many of the fifty thousand games are garbage shovelware as mentioned below.
  3. The games are digital so no need to worry about scratches or dust, or forced to buy a external disc drive (for modern PC that didn't have one) because no optical discs are used.
  4. With GPD Win, Steam Deck and similar devices that came out, you are able to play currently released games on the fly, much like on the Nintendo Switch, as long as you have a Wi-Fi Hotspot with you.
  5. Very frequent sales that occurs pretty much all the time, which range from small indie games to big AAA games that very often goes on sale.
    • There is also the HUGE Steam sales such as Summer Sale and Winter Sale that even has special events, and pretty much (almost) every single game on the platform is on sale to buy during this time.
  6. For some years, it was the best place for Indie games to get exposure that would be hard elsewhere.
  7. You can potentially get your own game for sale on the store.
  8. Refund policy lets you get a full refund for a game you bought. (As long as you don't play it for more than two hours and don't own it for more than two weeks)
  9. When The King of Fighters XIII was released on Steam, it was a huge hit, increasing the popularity of The King of Fighters series, SNK made a lot of money from this port, leading the company focus more on arcade games instead of Pachinko machines.
  10. You can obtain trading cards in supported games, and once you obtain a full set, you can craft a game badge and get some goodies such as backgrounds, emoticons, and sometimes even coupons for games as a bonus.
  11. You can trade your in-game items with other users.
  12. There is a community market, where you can buy and sell in-game items. You can find some good things on the market that won't cost you much.
  13. The Steam Workshop allows you to create and upload content for games that support the Workshop.
  14. It includes many great classics video games (including Half-Life 2).
  15. The big picture mode, a feature that feels like its own OS, lets you control the interface with a controller and has some nice ambient music.
  16. Unlike Epic Games Store, Valve doesn't buy out third parties to make their games timed exclusives on Steam.
  17. In October 2021, Steam banned all games that feature NFTs (non-fungible tokens) or cryptocurrency because NFTs (such as one that uses Ethereum, prior to 2022 moving to proof-of-stake) are not only harmful to the environment, but also for being sketchy to most people (according to Gabe Newell), alongside scams and many other issues that led to decline popularity of NFTs/crytocurrency.[1][2]
  18. In 2021, Valve announced the Steam Deck, a portable PC similar to the Nintendo Switch. Valve is testing every game on the store to make sure they work on the Steam Deck.
    • The Steam Deck is powered by SteamOS, which runs on modified version of Ubuntu (Linux), that includes Steam Proton to emulate Windows games, though a few games might not work perfectly.

Bad Qualities

  1. Since their demand is most inelastic, Valve completely refuses to put any form of quality control on Steam, instead it relies on cheap excuses of "quality control" in Steam Direct (and formerly Steam Greenlight), that instead of doing proper curation allows literally anyone to release anything or even scam gamers, especially with Steam Direct.
    • Valve has little customer support and poor moderation and tends to ignore problems going on Steam. This has resulted in Steam becoming infamous for having no quality control, being flooded with tons of shovelware, scam attempts, porn/hentai games (some of which even sexualize things like rape and other questionable, disgusting and amoral things), a community filled with various nasty people and problematic content, and bad developers, such as Digital Homicide. Some of the "games" are even actual malware.
      • The first mentioned issues (such as porn/hentai games), at one point, it has led to some of hentai games appeared on Steam Halloween Sale 2021 promotions as a result.
    • Despite claiming that Valve wants to get rid of "fake and problematic games", it is common knowledge that they make money from every single "fake and problematic game" released on the store, so they keep allowing them to run rampant while pretending they want to remove them.
    • Rather than applying proper moderation for Steam done by actual people, Valve continues to rely on automated algorithms that bad developers have a very easy time bypassing. As a result of this, there's a clear shortage of Steam moderators who at times respond very inconsistently, or not at all. This makes things worse on Steam forums where the devs are not actively moderating their own forums, which becomes a haven for trolls causing trouble and then getting away with it with no comeuppance, even if people were to mass report trolls.
    • Valve's excuse for not putting quality control is that they want to give all indie developers a chance to get exposure on Steam and curation would shun many of them. While technically this is true, letting anyone release anything still hurts real indie developers because their games get buried under piles of shovelware which completely kill their chance of exposure anyways. Steam Direct simply allows Valve to make more money for less work and let the countless scam artists run rampant unhindered.
    • Because of the sheer amount of shovelware and other problematic games released every day without any regulation, Indie developers have been abandoning Steam in favor of the other platforms. Several developers have gone on record that Steam is no longer a viable platform for indie games because they get absolutely no chance for exposure due to more than 50 shovelware games being released daily. Some of the other platforms are flawed (like Game Jolt) so indie developers have no other choice but to rely on Steam until something else takes over.
  2. Restrictive DRM. This was done to increase the difficulty in creating pirated versions of the games since the game files are not encrypted inside of the Steam program.
  3. Despite Valve's claims that curators would make sure that games run properly before releasing them, there have been several instances of games without ".exe" files being released. An example for this was Shadow: Treachery cannot be tolerated.
    • Users with curation tools have claimed that the tools are completely inefficient because they get flooded by requests to recommend shovelware.
  4. The trading system is problematic since trade scammers exist around Steam. It is common knowledge that trading cards can be made into actual money through black market loopholes, allowing developers to produce more money from trading card farming (often with bots) than from actual sales.
    • At one point, the trading card farming schemes effectively turned Steam into a borderline illegal money laundering site, with Steam not being held accountable for this.
  5. It has a region-locking system, preventing users from gifting games they have purchased to someone elsewhere in the world. Some titles, such as The Impossible Game and McPixel, can no longer be brought on the store in regions such as Australia anymore because of this, forcing you to use Humble Bundle for a Steam Key.
  6. You have to worry about games being compatible with your PC since Steam doesn't check your system performance even if the games have system requirements.
  7. Publishers of old games sometimes don't bother to patch their games with already existing patches. And in general, when it comes to old games, Steam is far inferior to GOG.com.
  8. Steam's Early Access feature gets abused too easily so shovelware developers can put out unfinished cash-grab games full of bugs promising that "it'll be fixed later", make a quick buck, then never properly finish them. There are countless shovelware games that never get out of Early Access because of this.
  9. You can only refund games that you've played for less than two hours or owned for less than 14 days, whichever occurs first, while on paper this sounds great, but then you realize that this isn't enough time for real games to determine whether a game is good enough or not. The two-hour playtime limit only works with obvious garbage that shouldn't be on the store if there was any curation, on top of that, many companies (even AAA ones) can avoid the refund time by adding long and un-skippable cutscenes to pass the 2-hour time, 2K games is famous for doing this with the NBA games.
  10. Steam Support is not very consistent in handling reports, and when it comes to dealing with users who had been breaking ToS and rules (even with solid evidence), they simply dismiss them, leaving users who deliberately caused trouble to get away with their crimes.

References

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