A Hot Gust Of Steam Part II

Hello good people of the world!

For a while I’ve passed Steam over with other work, but now is the time to come back to the main subject. In the last three posts, we talked about some of the issues of why people use Facebook. Although the authors couldn’t come to a solid explanation, some interesting ideas were raised that proved useful. I want to to the same with Steam; why people like to use the system again and again.

I will be using William Usher’s article ‘Why People Love Valve and Steam? Ten Simple Reasons.’ This is the continuation from the previous post, detailing reasons 6-10.

6. Support for Content Creators

Traditionally, people were stopped from creating related-content because of the threat of legal action from the owners, which is understandable. ‘Valve, on the other hand, encourages gamers to step out of the box and encourages content creators to experiment with the Source Engine and publicly available tools. This, again, helps to expand a game’s community and the market valuation of said title’ (Usher, 2013). The result is that a steady stream of new content gets released which adds more layers to the game. In addition, content-creators also get paid for their work (such as ‘hats’ in Team Fortress 2). ‘When was the last time EA, Ubisoft or Microsoft setup a program to help modders make some dollar-dollar bills off their contributions to a game? Heck, when was the last time any of those three supported open modding for their games?’ (Usher, 2013). Erm…NEVER!

7. Promotion of Total Conversions/Remakes

‘While companies like Square Enix, Activision and Warner Bros are keen on sending out cease and desist letters, Valve does just the opposite, encouraging gamers, tinkerers, modders and designers to take that long road down the pathway of software exploration, so much so that the team that remade the original Half-Life into a total conversion called Black Mesa received Valve’s blessing and even managed to get approved on Greenlight’ (Usher, 2013). Other popular titles like Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike and Dear Esther started out as mods themselves and are now full games in their own right. Valve’s open stance on this issue meant the community could experiment and develop without having to worry about being sued for millions.

8. Third-Party Distribution Support

It’s not just gamers who are into Steam. With Steam growing in popularity and significance, fellow game developers are seeing an opportunity to market their own products on the system too. They pay a license and their games get featured on the Steam Store. Users buy the game and are given a special ‘key’ to input. Once verified, they can then play the game. They are also covered by automatic updates. From the Store, users are treated to a vast array of different games from different publishers. The problem is definitely choice!

9. Big Picture Mode

‘Big Picture Mode removes all the PC-centric windows and navigation and basically turns Steam into an Xbox Live-looking dashboard except without any of those annoying ads and no promotions from Doritos and Mountain Dew. The only thing you get in Big Picture Mode are the games you play, the games you want to play and the games you can buy'(Usher, 2013). This service is aimed for those more comfortable using a gamepad rather than the computer-centric keyboard and mouse. I personally like having a keyboard/mouse combo. ‘This also effectively removes that urban legend hanging over the PC platform that labels it as a confusing to use and cumbersome device, relegated only for man-nerds and girl-geeks. Now, with Big Picture Mode, even dude-bros, grannies and Wii owners can game on the PC with ease’ (Usher, 2013). Happy days for everyone!

10. Steam Holiday Sales

You know it’s Christmas when shops are pimping themselves out with ‘special sales’ in November. This simply is a must if you want people flooding in. Steam is the same. ‘Even though all those other features are great and Valve has really helped turn Steam from a steaming pile of dung (primarily during the mid 2000s) with some streamlined updates and upgrades, the one thing that helps Steam stand apart from all the competition are the holiday sales. You can get just about any and every game for an even cheaper price than what they’re usually available for’ (Usher, 2013). Summer and winter are the main hotspots for sales, with indie/major titles going for little as 75% of its full price. It really is that time. Who wouldn’t want to save more than £20 on a major title? Users can also vote to see which  games they’d like next on the sale, with each selected sale refreshing after 24 hours. Christmas comes early.

Those are 10 simple reasons why people continue to use Steam. Obviously it is not a definitive list, but certain makes sense. As s Steam user myself, I agree with all the points. Steam has come a long way since its inception in 2004. I can’t really think of much competition for it, especially on the PC market. Rivals should take note of how Valve treats its community. All I can say is that Steam will continue to grow. Whether this is for the better or worse remains to be seen.

Here is the link to William Usher’s article ‘Why People Love Valve and Steam? Ten Simple Reasons.’ Enjoy.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s