In the digital gaming universe, one platform has made an indelible impact that transformed the landscape of the industry – Steam. If you’re a newcomer to the world of video gaming or an experienced player wanting to delve deeper into this sphere, understanding “What are Steam games?” is essential. This article will provide a comprehensive look into Steam games, how they function, and why they are so popular among gamers worldwide.
Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation, offering a wide range of video games, from indie games developed by solo creators to AAA titles from large, well-established game studios. But Steam is not merely a game store. It is an all-encompassing platform that offers multiplayer gaming, video streaming, social networking services, and even game development tools.
What Makes a Game a ‘Steam Game’?
A ‘Steam game’ refers to a game that is available on the digital distribution platform, Steam. The platform is developed by Valve Corporation, one of the major players in the gaming industry. But there’s more to what makes a game a ‘Steam game’.
Primarily, a ‘Steam game’ is a game that can be purchased or downloaded via the Steam platform. The platform hosts a vast array of games, from independently developed indie games to big-budget titles from large, well-known studios. When you purchase or download a game on Steam, it’s added to your personal library on the platform.
Your Steam library is tied to your user account. This means that you have the ability to access your games from any computer with the Steam client installed. You don’t need to physically possess the game or manually carry game files from one machine to another. Instead, once you’re logged into your account, you can download any game from your library directly to the computer you’re using. Steam takes care of managing the game files, updates, and often even your save files, which can be synced to the Steam Cloud.
This ease of access is part of what makes a game a ‘Steam game’. The platform’s features – such as automatic updates, cloud saves, achievements, trading cards, and the potential for user-created mods via the Steam Workshop – are built directly into the games you buy on Steam. These features, along with community elements like forums and user reviews, provide a rich ecosystem that surrounds every game on the platform.
So, a ‘Steam game’ isn’t just defined by being a game sold on Steam. It’s also a part of the wider Steam ecosystem, integrated with the features and conveniences that Steam provides.
A Universe of Games at Your Fingertips
Steam boasts an incredibly diverse selection of games, ensuring there’s something for everyone. For fans of narrative-driven experiences, titles like “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” or “Red Dead Redemption 2” offer rich, expansive worlds to explore. For those who prefer multiplayer competition, games like “Dota 2”, “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive”, and “Among Us” provide endless hours of competitive or cooperative play. Creative souls might be drawn to world-building games like “Minecraft” or “Terraria”, while puzzle enthusiasts can enjoy games like “Portal 2”.
Steam’s Unique Features
But Steam offers more than just the games themselves. It provides a plethora of additional features that enhance the gaming experience. One such feature is the Steam Workshop, where players can create and share user-generated content for games that support it. This could be anything from new levels in a platformer, new items in a role-playing game, or even entirely new game modes.
Furthermore, the platform facilitates a strong sense of community among its users. Each game on Steam has its own Community Hub where players can share experiences, tips, game guides, and artwork. This is also where players can participate in discussions about the game and keep up-to-date with updates and news from the developers.
One of the key features of Steam is the Workshop, a hub for user-generated content. In games that support this feature, players can create their own content such as custom levels, items, skins, or even entirely new game modes. These creations can be shared with the broader community through the Workshop, allowing other players to download and experience them. This supports a vibrant culture of creativity and sharing, significantly extending the lifespan and playability of games.
Each game on Steam has its own dedicated Community Hub, which acts as a central point for all player discussions and content related to the game. Here, you can participate in discussions, share screenshots, stream gameplay, post reviews, and access user-generated guides. This helps foster a sense of community around individual games and gives players a place to share their experiences and knowledge.
Trading Cards and Achievements
Many games on Steam offer in-game achievements, marking player’s progress and accomplishments. Steam Trading Cards are a similar meta-game, allowing players to earn cards by playing games, which can then be traded with others or sold on the Steam Marketplace. Collecting a full set of cards for a game allows you to craft them into a game badge, contributing to your Steam Level and granting profile backgrounds, emoticons, and more.
Big Picture Mode and Steam Link
Steam has been designed to be flexible with the player’s choice of hardware. Big Picture Mode reconfigures the Steam interface for use with a TV and game controller, making it suitable for a living room gaming setup. On the other hand, Steam Link allows you to stream your games to any device in your home, including phones, tablets, and TVs, so you can play your games wherever you want.
This feature allows game data to be saved on the cloud, meaning a player’s in-game progress can be accessed from different computers. This makes transitioning between devices seamless and ensures data isn’t lost if there’s an issue with your device.
Early Access and Greenlight
Steam has also played a significant role in supporting game development. The Early Access program allows developers to sell their games before they’re fully completed, with players providing feedback and funding during the remainder of the development process. Although the Greenlight program, which allowed community voting on which games should be added to Steam, has been phased out, it was notable for enabling many indie developers to get their games onto the platform.
Ease of Access and User-friendly Interface
Steam’s user-friendly interface and easy access to games have also contributed to its popularity. Its client is available on multiple operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Linux. It also maintains a web presence, allowing users to purchase games directly from the web store. The Steam client also automatically handles game updates, ensuring players always have the latest version.
The Power of Sales
Perhaps one of Steam’s most well-known features is its sales. Multiple times a year, Steam holds sales events where many games are heavily discounted. The most notable of these are the Summer and Winter sales, but other events occur throughout the year. These sales make gaming more accessible to a wider audience by making even the most expensive games affordable.
In summary, “Steam games” refer to the myriad games available for purchase or free download on the Steam platform. But the concept extends beyond the games themselves, encompassing a wealth of features that elevate the gaming experience. Steam games open up a universe of diverse gaming genres, community interaction, user-generated content, and much more. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the digital gaming sphere, exploring Steam games can lead to a rich and rewarding gaming journey. The opportunities for entertainment, creativity, and connection are as expansive as the gaming universe itself.