Steam is a robust, innovative, and responsive platform that has changed how we view, and purchase PC games as a whole. Does that intern mean this is good for the end user?
Twenty years ago the thought of an entirely digital marketplace dominating an entire genre of product had the air of science fiction. Today that is far from the case. The digital market place is dominating the landscape. With their sudden explosion into the consumer market; pundits began predicting that the apocalypse of in person shopping was just around the corner. This has been far from the reality of retail in current American culture. The consumers still has needs and opinions that can only be met at times with a tactile experience. There has been a dramatic shift in some areas, and there is no greater example of this then in the world of PC gaming.
In 2004 Valve released Half-Life 2 with a small but required registration on a site called Steam. The first half life game was an intensely popular title. Thusly Steam servers went down hard, and Gamers showed their irritation as always. It took years for the animosity over the Half Life 2 launch to die down. During that time Valve continued to work on Steam as a delivery mechanism to sell games. Valve has spent the last 14 years listening to their Consumers, Publishers, and Developers. Steam has come to dominate the market of PC games driving brick-and-mortar operations out of the landscape entirely.
Now we come to this present moment. Has Steam made PC gaming better? I would throw my hat in the yes side of the ring. There are two reasons why. First accessibility of games is so much greater than anything we could have ever wanted 10 years ago. It is growing less and less likely in the future that games will be lost; drifting off into the unknown. Steam continues to deepen their offered library of video games. If we were to compare Steam to the likes of let’s say Best Buy 15 years ago what would the downside of access to content with at Best Buy? Two words, shelving space. For the sake of argument you can pick any store 15 years ago that sold PC games. They all suffered from a finite amount of shelf space. Steams access to games that have been on the market for years is priceless.
The second point to why I would say yes steam is a good influence in PC gaming, is there price point. I know Steam is not always the cheapest. Because of seems lower cost in comparison to traditional retailers, and the reduction in cost to the publisher, Steam sales have become a regular and awesome thing. If you can delay gratification, you can always get an amazing deal on a video game.
Let me know your thoughts on Steam.