What is Steam?

The Online Game Portal with a Community

Technology, like time, waits for no man.

It's incredible how technology runs full-steam ahead, and every aspect of it continues to evolve.

I still remember a time when my Commodore Vic 20 computer (if you could even call it that!) loaded up my favorite games through a cassette. YES, a cassette. It would take 3-5 minutes before I could enjoy the computer game - but what did I know? I thought that's how long it took for ANY computer game to load up.

Welcome STEAM.

Steam is a social-distribution network that has revolutionized how computer game enthusiasts enjoy their favorite pastime.

It is an online portal from which you can buy computer games and have them delivered directly to your computer. Games are updated automatically, and no delivery charge is accessed. Steam also offers a community of fellow gamers you can join and chat with.

Valve Corporation (aka Valve Software, or Valve) was founded by two Microsoft employees in August 1996. In 2002, they announced their revolutionary games platform, Steam. Steam now boasts about 1400 games you can download and has over 30 million active user accounts.

Steam - The Gaming Platform of the Future(105749)Credit: Valve Corporation, SteamCredit: Valve Corporation, Steam

Cross-platform Gaming Made Easy

The wonderful thing about Steam is that it provides a new experience for computer game lovers.

It changes the buying experience especially. No more do you need to run down to the local computer game store and queue for your boxed games. Sure you could - but why would you, when Steam gives you the option of downloading them straight to your computer?

Steam makes it easy for you to buy a game and discover new ones in their library. They offer the instant buy option, which is most appealing for gamers who just want it now. Instant buy means instant download, and the buyer pays no delivery charges.

If a game needs an update, automatic updating eliminates the hassle of updating the game. According to Steam's website: Games stay updated by themselves!

As as subscriber to Steam, you also become a part of a community where you can chat with other gamers, exchange strategies, and boast about your latest game achievements.

And perhaps the most important aspect of Steam is that offers cross-platform support.

Whether you have a PC, Mac, Xbox, or PlayStation 3, you'll enjoy the instant-download games Steam has made available for you. PC games that were once only for the PC are now enjoyed by those who want to play them on their Mac computers!

Suppose you've purchased your game on your Mac computer - but decide one day to enjoy your purchased game on a PC computer. All you need to do is to re-download the game on your PC computer, and continue where you left off!

Steam games span the gamut: from popular hits to new releases, indie (independent) hits to oldies-but-goodies. Here are some example of game titles that Steam offers:

  • Half-Life
  • Counter-strike
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Myst V
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4
  • Civilization V
Take advantage of Steam sales and discountsCredit: Valve Corporation, SteamCredit: Valve Corporation, Steam

Hello to Good Buys

Take advantage of discounts and promos

When you subscribe to Steam, you'll receive discounts and promotional prices for games that you wouldn't ordinarily receive at your local store. Take advantage of these offers!

Steam offers frequent pre-release discounts as well as free-play weekends so that you can experience the game play even before the game hits the stores!

Full-Steam Ahead: Where do I start?

If you'd like to start experiencing Steam-powered games and downloads, head on over to store.steampowered.com

Be sure to read the About page where you'll see the minimum requirements for your computer to function best with the Steam experience, which are:

Windows XP, Vista, or 7
512 MB RAM
1 Ghz or faster processor

Intel Mac, OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.

Two-button mouse strongly recommended
1GB HD space (recommended)
Internet connection (broadband recommended)

I wish you happy gaming times!