Since 2010, Steam, the near-monopoly on PC game sales has grown from 25 million monthly active users to over 90 active million users at the beginning of 2019. The last ten years have revolutionised how people purchase and pay for games.
Steam was instrumental to the video game industry in that it not only provided a massive digital storefront but through its Steam Wallet, finally added a secure and safe way to pay for online games. And these security measures have been adopted by iGaming industry too. Many providers have implemented a wide range of reliable and secure online casino payment methods. Just as you can be safe with the pioneer of casinos Ladbrokes and their e-wallet, when you buy video games and DLCs on Steam, you can rest assured with their Steam Wallet.
The Centralisation Of Gaming
Valve, Steam’s parent company, didn’t just create a safe online marketplace for gamers, but with the introduction of features like Steam Community and Steam Workshop, unlocked so much more. Steam Community gave players a centralised place for them to get together and communicate, and Steam Workshop gave community content creators a place to share their mods, maps, and items.
Steam then began to blur the lines between a PC gamer and a console gamer with the introduction of Big Picture Mode, which is a UI designed to be used on TVs and with game controllers. They pushed this even further with the introduction of hardware products like the Steam Controller and gaming boxes running Steam OS.
And all of that happened by 2015! Valve has spent the last decade not only pushing PC gaming to the next level but breaking boundaries and going in directions that no one could have foreseen.
The Redefining Of Gaming
Valve then worked with HTC to push the HTC Vive and Virtual Reality (VR) Gaming in general into the foreground, and today, years later, Steam contains some of the most magical, insane, borderline-impossible VR experiences available on their marketplace.
Steam’s partnership with HTC did more than just strap screens onto gamers faces and called it a day. While VR might not have taken the world by storm in the way we all thought it would, the mere existence of VR made a lot of game developers and gamers rethink the concept of what a video game even is.
This inspired tons of indie game developers, who had already been bolstered by Steam’s Greenlight program, to create virtual reality experiences like Accounting+, Moss, and Virtual Virtual Reality.
While all this was going on, Valve was also redefining who could be considered a game developer. Back in 2010, the term “indie game” wasn’t even in your average gamer’s vernacular. Steam heralded the explosion of indie games with their Steam Greenlight program, giving independent creators a platform where their games could be seen and purchased. The Greenlight program was eventually replaced by Steam Direct, which enforced some stricter rules to drive indie games quality upwards. That is how we ended up with phenomenal, best-selling games like Stardew Valley and Broforce
The Future Of Gaming
While Valve tends to keep pretty tight-lipped about what’s in the pipeline, we have plenty of reasons to be excited about what Steam is going to be doing over the next decade. For starters, Steam is working on Steam TV, which some think is going to be Valve’s streaming platform to take down Amazon-owned streaming behemoth Twitch.
With companies like Google and Sony setting their sights on having users stream their games online instead of needing to run them on local hardware, some are predicting that Steam might enter that particular arena themselves. While there’s no official word just yet, we wouldn’t be surprised to see everyone running their games on the cloud through Steam in 2030.