The Future of Steam

As many of you know, I am addicted to Steam. I spend far too much money because of it, I spend to much time logged in, and I infect all my friends’ computers with Steam installations. But Steam is getting even better! (They should be paying me for this.)
Recently, Valve released the Steam Community, which makes Steam much more effective when trying to stay in contact with your friends. It also allows users to join multiplayer games with friends, keep up with what everyone has been playing, and even chat WITHIN games! Outside of the community, Steam has been growing rapidly, with mega-publishers like Ubisoft and TakeTwo jumping on board and adding their massive game libraries.

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Steam grows its user base 191% year over year – if there was ever a company I wish would go public it would be Valve (as it is, Valve is privately owned by it’s founders). Soon, Steam will release the Steam Cloud, which will save all your save games and settings for Valve games (hopefully other games will follow suit) on the internet, making it possible to recover or transmit from any location all your saved game data. At some point, Valve plans on adding an in-game movie capture system which will be instantly shareable over your entire Steam account or personal blog. *wink wink* In the future, Valve has also considered adding games based around the primarily Asian micro-transaction system, where the game is free to play, but it costs a small amount of money to buy things like customizable armor and weapons. Also, Steam will soon open up in the Russian market, which contains over 17 million PCs capable of running Steam.

Piracy is fairly rampant in Russia, but it is partly because many games are never released there. Russian gamers understand English, and are willing pay to play hyped titles from the US and other countries, they just have no honest way to do so. Steam will do to Games what services like iTunes, Zune Store, and eMusic have done for Music, Movies, and TV Shows. People rarely WANT to hurt music/movie/game developers, and given opportunity and convenience, they will purchase games/music/movies legally.

Some corporations and individuals still claim PC gaming is dying. Apparently they keep forgetting that World of Warcraft pulls in $120 million dollars a month. And, to quote IGN’s Charles Onyett, “Steam boasts 15 million registered users, 1.25 million peak concurrent users, a 191-percent growth year over year, and is available worldwide in 21 languages. It certainly seems like it’s been a success so far.”

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