A Central Hub for Gaming and Entertainment

Steam Logo
Credit: Valve Corporation

Though a fine source for watching videos and doing work, everyday activities on the computer can become redundant.  What else is there to do on a computer?  The answer lies within the world of video games.  Adults are becoming exposed to videogames quite frequently through avertisements, children, and digital media.  With the amount of power that the commonplace 2013 computer can generate, many individuals seek to utilize PC's for gaming rather than consoles.  What better way to enjoy PC gaming than through a service that not only distributes games, but stores them onto a personalized account, grants access to a social network, and has a plethora of sales that will make the most out of your money?

Steam is not only the most trusted platform for distributing and running games on the computer, but it offers many features that would not be expected of a game distribution service.  A notable feature is the community hubpage.  Once you set up your profile, you gain access to the Steam Community, an area where you can browse user created content, share your own, and see what online friends are up to.  No friends to add?  Not a problem.  Steam allows you to link your account to a Facebook profile, which will automatically search for friends that have Steam.  There are also ways to make money if you are a developer of game content, distributed through the Steam Workshop.  However, the main attraction is the gaming.  

Once a game is purchased it will immediately download and appear in the Steam Library.  The library is Steam's way of organizing your games for you, alphabetically or by categories that you decide, and providing an easy way to play them.  Any game can be launched from the library which eliminates the hassle of desktop shortcuts flooding the screen.  If the game is accidentally deleted, it will always be linked to your account, ready to re-download in the game library.  

In addition to the ability to run video games, there is an ingame service that runs in the background, allowing for voice chat between friends, the use of a web browser while ingame, text chat, game statistics, and a way to hop from game to game through the join feature.  All of this is accessed at the press of a keyboard command, shift+tab by default.  The voice chat is designed like the typical chat systems on consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.  It allows for multiple users to connect and chat in a group while maintaining the chat from game to game.

A Plethora of Games

The Steam store has thousands of games available for purchase.  Titles include well-known third party software such as The Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, and Bioshock.  If you are not the hardcore gamer and like to enjoy casual games, the Steam store has a casual gaming section and an indie section.  Indie titles are games that have been made by independent developers, and if they make it to the store, chances are they are well worth playing.  When it comes to Steam, there is an experience for everyone.

A Money Saving Experience

The greatest feature of Steam is that it is free.  There is no cost whatsoever to the user and creating an account is a swift, accelerated process.  In order to access the full features of your account and add friends, you will need a game.  If you are not looking to spend money, there are a few free titles that many people frequently play (notably Team Fortress 2).  Each week there is a weekly deal on a particular title or a pack.  There are also daily deals on minor games to try and introduce them to the community.  During the spring, summer, fall, and winter, a seasonal sale is held anywhere from one to two weeks in length.  Prices descend to rock-bottom for all titles, allowing for users to purchase the new release that they could not grab hold of earlier in the year.

Though not everyone is interested in gaming, Steam still provides an efficient outlet to those who desire to be a part of the online video game community.  With its sleek metro style design and its relatively low usage of system resources, Steam provides the ultimate entertainment experience on your personal computer.  Whether you seek media, gaming, or socializing, Steam has it all.  Download Steam, and make the best out of your computer instantly.  

Steam is currently updated on a weekly basis to ensure maximum functionality on computers and implement new bells and whistles to keep the community entertained.  

Recently Valve, the developers of Steam, released a feature called the Big Picture which provides a more family oriented use of Steam throughout the house.  Any laptop or Steam capable device connected to a television can relay Big Picture onto the big screen, where access to controller supported games, a sleek and improved web browser, and the latest news.  

Steam's Big Picture