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Why was the Steam Software Created?

Steam is a video game and digital distribution service created by Valve. It was released in September 2003, as a standalone software to provide automatic updates for their games. It eventually expanded to distribution and hosting third-party games. But did you know there was another reason why Steam was created?

Steam was originally created so that Valve didn’t have to keep shutting off Counter-Strike servers to fix issues with the game. The Steam platform is the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming.

The History of Steam’s Development

In 1997, Valve entered into a publishing contract with Sierra Studios. This was just before the release of Half-Life. In the contract, some intellectual property rights were given to Sierra in addition to publishing control. Valve published games with Sierra which included expansions of both Counter-Strike and Half-Life. 

By 1999, Valve started working on the sequel of Half-Life and eventually became concerned with their existing contract with Sierra, especially with the IP clause. Terms were renegotiated by 2001, and the new contract removed Sierra’s IP rights and gave Valve full digital distribution rights for its games.

At this time, Valve was experiencing issues with updating games that have already been published. Most of the time, users would complain about disconnection issues that would last for several days unless a patch was installed. Valve then decided to create a platform that would be able to automatically update games, and implement stronger anti-cheating and anti-piracy measures. The company approached big names like Microsoft, Yahoo, and RealNetworks to help build a client with the features but they were unfortunately turned down.

Valve finally started working on Steamin 2002 and was publicly announced at the Game Developers Conference on March 22, 2002. (Source: Bloomberg)

Did Steam Turn Out to be a Huge Success?

Even until this day, Steam remains to be the biggest digital game distributor on PC with almost 8,000 games registered. In 2017, the gaming platform was able to generate about $4.3 billion.

It’s an impressive stat, and even more so when you consider the fact that entire PC game business earned a total of $32.3 billion last year. If you throw out revenue for packaged retail titles and browser games, that leaves the dedicated digital PC game business with a total value of $23.9 billion – and that number includes DLC, which the Steam estimate does not.

Sergey Galyonkin, Steam Spy Proprietor

If the numbers are right, this means Valve owns at least 18% of its target market. (Source: PC Games N)

What is the Number 1 Game on Steam Today?

According to an ongoing analysis of Steam’s current players. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the number 1 game on the platform with over 700,000 players. Coming in second is Dota 2 with 609,076 players.

Counter-Strike is a multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) where teams of terrorists battle to perpetrate an act of terror while counter-terrorists try to prevent it. The game was originally launched by Valve in 1999 on Windows. (Source: Steam Charts)

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