What is Steam: The popular gaming platform explained
Steam has been a big name in the gaming world for a while now, but what exactly is it, and how does it work? We’ll explain the details of this cloud gaming service and what you need to know.
Steam is a platform and app for distributing video games online that also has social media features and community message boards. It was developed by Valve — the same Valve that created the Half-Life, Counter Strike, and Left4Dead games.
It functions like an online shop and a community portal combined and is one of the most popular gaming platforms out there.
You can download the Steam application on Windows, Mac, and Linux, plus a beta version for ChromeOS is also available. The app lets you purchase games and organize your collection.
Much like a media player app, you’ll see your collection of games and the ability to play them, along with links to social features and forums. You need an account to use Steam, and it’s free to sign up for one.
You can also download the Steam mobile app for iOS and Android, which lets you use the social features of Steam and buy games on the go — more on those below.
Beyond what it can be for gamers, Steam is also useful for developers. Both large companies and small indie creators use the platform to distribute their games.
While it may be big news in gaming these days, Steam started off quite small. Back in 2003, Valve introduced Steam as a way to push automatic updates out for its games.