If you are a gamer of any kind you have probably heard of Steam, and even if you are not a gamer there is a good chance that you’ve probably still heard of Steam or at least some of what the service has to offer. If you have not heard of Steam, then no I am not talking about the vapor that is generated by warm water – I am talking about the online marketplace for video games. With over 8,000 games, both free and premium, are available to download, Steam has a massive catalog of gaming experiences to offer to users. It used to be that a gamer was forced to buy the disc for any game he or she wanted to play, but that is definitely not the case anymore. In this day and age, it has become commonplace to own computers with large hard drives that are capable of storing many games at once. In fact, it is completely normal for a Triple-A (AAA) game to near 50 GB’s of storage space when it is released, and that doesn’t even include the updates that it might receive long after it’s initial release. All of this goes without even mentioning the convenience of downloading your games instead of having to purchase physical copies of them.
Since Steam was released in September of 2003 it has completely revolutionized the gaming world. It has allowed gamers to store all of their games on their computers where they are easily accessible and usable. It has also created an online community of sorts where gamers can interact with other people that play the same games as them. How Steam works is simple. The first thing you have to do is go to the website and download the Steam software. After that, all you have to do is create an account and you’re ready to download games and start playing. One of the reasons Steam has revolutionized the PC gaming world is that it has made gaming on a PC incredibly simple. Far more simple than anything before it, and far more simple than anything that exists now. From within Steam, you are able to launch all of the games you own, interact with all of your friends on the service, manage your user profile, and download new games all within one convenient package.
- Steam makes it easy to download games for PC, Mac, and Linux
- The online community allows for easy multiplayer gaming
- Steam is more convenient than any other similar services
- Game selection is huge and almost always includes brand new games
- As with any online community, not all people will be kind or behave appropriately
Even though Steam does have many community elements associated with it and the games it has available, all of it is optional and should not be considered an end-all be-all for using the service. All users are able to make a conscious decision about what they want to participate in, and what they don’t. As a parent, you should be aware of the games that your child is using, if it has multiplayer, and what that multiplayer is like. Aside from that, however, if you and your family are interested in gaming on computers then this way is a great way to do so. There are many games on Steam that would be incredibly enjoyable to play together as a family, and if it turns out that you don’t find a specific game enjoyable then there are literally thousands more to choose from.