There are approximately 120.4 million active monthly Steam users in 2022, according to EarthWeb.com. Daily, that’s about 69 million players use the platform. In September 2021, Steam reached its peak of 26.09 million concurrent users. Steam offers digital rights management (DRM), matchmaking servers, video streaming, and social networking services. It also provides the user with installing and automatically updating games and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.
The Steam client was first made available for public beta testing in January 2003, and a full release followed in September of that year. The client and service became available for Microsoft Windows platforms in 2004, with Mac OS X and Linux versions in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Mobile apps were later released for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone in 2010, 2012, and 2014 respectively. The platform has over 150 million registered accounts as of May 2019. But recently, there have been reports from users complaining about it. Thus, we provided several advantages and disadvantages of the Steam platform.
Advantages of Steam
Let’s look at some benefits of using Steam, making it clear why it’s the best platform for gamers.
1. Steam is the Largest Gaming Store
One of the features that most distinguishes this platform is its vast selection of games. We can discover games in various genres and categories, both paid and free. It also makes purchasing much easier for users, as they may download and install them on their PC (also Linux-based SteamOS).
2. Automatic Updates
You don’t need to worry about manually updating your games on Steam. The client will automatically update them if you have an internet connection. This means you can always enjoy the latest features and bug fixes without needing to do anything. The timing and speed can be configured, too.
3. Convenient Community Features
The community features in Steam are also very convenient. For example, the friends list lets us see which of our friends are online and the games they play or have played. We can also join them in their game or chat with them directly through the client. There are also groups where gamers with similar interests can join and discuss various topics.
4. Steam Offers Cheaper Games
Another plus point to talk about the Steam client is that it offers cheaper games than other platforms. This is because of the frequent sales and discounts offered on the Steam store. We can also find many free games if we’re on a budget. Steam and the developers handle all the fees.
5. Better Quality Games
The quality of games on Steam is generally better than on other platforms. This is because developers tend to focus more on PC gamers willing to pay for high-quality games, and there’s a large user base. In addition, many indie developers release their games exclusively on Steam.
Disadvantages of Steam
Now let’s take a look at some downsides of Steam and reasons it might not be the best platform for gamers.
1. Steam Can Have Security Issues
The biggest issue with Steam is its security. There have been many reports of hackers gaining access to people’s accounts and stealing their money. There have also been reports of malware and other viruses being distributed through the platform. This is why it’s essential to be very careful when using Steam and never share account credentials. Users must ensure they have a good antivirus program installed, too.
2. Poor Customer Support
Another downside of Steam gaming is its unsatisfying Customer Service. Many users have complained about how difficult it is to get in touch with a Customer Care representative. There have also been reports of them being unhelpful and unprofessional. This needs to be improved if Steam wants to keep its users happy.
3. Limited Selection of Games
Although the selection of games on Steam is vast, it’s still not as good as other platforms, such as GOG (Good Old Games) and console stores. Many developers choose to release their games exclusively on other platforms. This means that you might be unable to find the game you’re looking for on Steam.
4. Steam May Have High System Requirements
Before you start using Steam on low-spec PCs, know this. Though not a problem on newer machines, Steam can have high system requirements and download in the background. To clarify, the client is resource-intensive and can demand a lot of RAM and CPU power. That’s something to keep in mind if we’re using an older computer or on a budget.
5. Annoying Ads
Although they’re not as bad as they used to be, they can still be quite intrusive and distracting. Again, this is something that needs to be changed if Steam wants to keep its users satisfied. We’re talking about pop-up windows.
6. Regional Pricing
One last thing to keep in mind is that Steam has regional pricing. This means that the prices of games can vary depending on where we live. For example, a game might be cheaper in the US than in Europe. This is something to keep in mind when looking for deals on Steam.
In conclusion, Steam is an excellent platform for gamers who want to purchase and play video games. It offers many advantages, such as user-friendliness, game discounts, and an extensive library of games. However, there are also some temporary disadvantages to using Steam, such as its requirement for a broadband internet connection and occasional server issues. It comes down to the individual gamer’s needs and preferences to decide whether Steam is the best option for them.