Why People Love Valve And Steam? Ten Simple Reasons

By William Usher 2013-06-29 16:50:43 discussion comments
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No. 6: Lots Of Support For Content Creators
Tying in nicely with the previous point, there is a lot of support for content creators without worrying about legal barriers and blockades. One of the main reasons Capcom supposedly doesn't officially support mods is because of legal barriers and resource management. 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. That's also not to mention that it creates an indefinite tail-end for a game so long as content creators continue to pump out fresh new content for the game (i.e., Half-life, Garry's Mod and Portal). This is further evidence with Valve's open monetization program to help content creators and modders make some extra cash, as reported by Wired. 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?



No. 7: Promotion Of Total Conversions/Remakes
This here also ties into the above two points, as it's another sign of the company promoting the growth of the industry as opposed to stomping it out like a day old camp fire. 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 Steam's Greenlight. Additional expansions, mods and total conversions of Valve's own software has usually been met with a lot of support in the modding community, which is how things like Dota, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress and Dear Esther became real games all their own. It's literally the total opposite of when modding was available in earlier Battlefield titles but then was blockaded off in order for the publisher to sell similar mods as DLC.



No. 8: Third-Party Distribution Support
In case you didn't know, you can actually purchase a lot of games from other third-party software distributors and use the keys to activate the games on Steam. Despite being in competition with companies like Good Old Games, Green Man Gaming, Amazon, Desura and Indie Gala, it's actually possible to buy games from some of these alternative outlets (even for a cheaper price than what the game is available for on Steam) and then activate the game on Steam. While a lot of comparisons are made between Steam, PSN and Xbox Live, there is a pretty big difference between the services since there is no other way to get digital games for closed-console platforms aside from first-party portals. It also means that there is no third-party digital distribution support for consoles, which ultimately limits competitive pricing and axes out any way to get discounts other than what's provided by the manufacturers. Simply put, this feature alone kind of makes Steam kick a lot of other services in the nuts.



No. 9: Big Picture Mode
This here is probably one of the most understated modes available for Steam. 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. It's simple yet effective and designed for couch-gamers who prefer using a controller to navigate the menus and dashboard... yep, just plug in any USB compatible controller and say goodbye to the keyboard and mouse. 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.



No. 10: Steam Holiday Sales
Well, this is obviously the best part about Steam. 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. The summer and winter sales are like a holiday in themselves because you can stockpile games and have more to play than what you're even capable of playing. It's great and only the Humble Indie Bundle seems to rival Steam in regards to pricing. Will we ever see these kind of sales on consoles? Pfft, unlikely.

Also – as an extra side-note and something many gamers probably didn't know about – you can play a single game across multiple computers from a single account. I thought this should be tossed in there for good measure, because so long as you log in and go into offline mode you can get in some good 'ole fashioned LAN-style gaming sessions with a single copy of a game (so long as it doesn't have its own form of additional DRM authentication). Family sharing? It's already a part of Steam.

TL;DR: Valve is doing everything right with Steam that many other companies are doing wrong with their services
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