Steam is a video game service developed and launched by one of the most celebrated video games studios – Valve. Known for the revolutionary Half Life games, Counterstrike, Portal, DOTA, and Left for Dead, Valve Corporation is one of the most valuable game developers. It’s not because of the major success of its games since some of them are free to play. It made most of its money via the revolutionary Steam, which was initially launched as a software client for Valve’s games.
It quickly expanded its services to more than automatic game updates. Valve signed deals with various providers and allowed their games to release first on the new platform. Not every player welcomed it with open arms, but in the years to follow, Steam grew into a giant that gave birth to new services.
A True Trailblazer
We do everything online these days. We play slots and casino games in Casumo and buy, play, and stream games via online services too. Steam does it all while providing players with automatic updates, cloud saves, and features such as DRM (Digital Rights Management) anti-cheat measures, and social networking which are great for developers. There’s no question that the service is a win-win for everyone, and that’s why its popularity hasn’t dwindled since its release.
Its success led to the development of the ill-fated Steam Machine, which includes the Steam OS and the Steam Controller. It wasn’t received well, but Valve came back in early 2022 with the Stream Deck, a kind of a hybrid handheld that can handle Steam games. Who says you need to be on your PC to play your favorites?
Steam has ruled the video game distribution service for more than a decade, but other services are finally catching up. It still is the home of online games, but it may not be for more with numerous services either up and running or making their debut soon.
Stadia is not that much of a distribution service as a game streaming service. Launched in 2019 by the software giant, it’s a cloud gaming service accessible through Android TVs (and mobile devices) and Chromecast Ultra. It allows players to play games via browsers without any specific hardware.
Stadia didn’t receive the success it hoped for, but it still has many fans. With further updates, it may become a giant that dethrones Steam.
Epic Games is quite a similar solution to Steam which gained steam (pun intended) with its list of free games. It gives registered members access to the store and shells out free games on a weekly or monthly basis. We’re not talking about indie games – so far, it has given free copies of AAA titles such as GTA V and NBA 2K21.
It’s the best solution for Steam’s client right now, although software bugs have kept customers out.
GOG (short for Good Old Games) is the brainchild of CD Projekt, the studio that brought us the Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077. Old-school gamers will find a lot to like, but compared to Steam, the list of games and developers on the platform is smaller.
On the other hand, the games are DRM free, so that’s a big plus.
Xbox Game Pass
Many have called Xbox Game Pass the best video game subscription service. Microsoft did itself a lot of favors by promoting it with a special price of $1 for three months. The cloud game service works on PC and the Xbox console, providing players with access to hundreds of premium titles. And yes, many of them are living on day one as long as you’re paying the subscription fee.
It’s a fantastic alternative and probably the future of these services unless Valve thinks of something better.