Steam is a game platform offered by the Valve Corporation. Users can purchase games through Steam, plus organize all their games for a more complete gaming experience. Games and other related media content are distributed online. Once installed, users can automatically manage the software across all their computing devices. Steam offers community features like a functional chat board, friends and group lists, plus in-game voice to enhance the game playing experience.
The Steam Store is a digital place to purchase computer games. Once the game is purchased, the software license is permanently associated with the user’s account on Steam. This allows Steam members to transfer the download of any game they purchase to any compatible device they own.
Part of the Steam Store feature is the ability to purchase games, and then offer them to other players, friends, or family members. To guard against those who abused the opportunity, all games purchased as gifts must be delivered immediately. This prevents the unethical stockpiling of games to generate a profit.
In 2013, Steam began to allow player reviews of games. The review system is set up where all users can rate these reviews on helpfulness. This feature means that the most thorough reviews are included on the Steam user review page. Users can sort feedback based on various criteria as they search for games to purchase.
Initially there were some issues with Valve being hacked by unscrupulous types. In March 2011, developers enacted the Steam Guard feature to guarantee privacy and security for their users. Steam Guard allows Steam users to lock their account to a particular computer.This means that all access to this account must be coordinated through the user’s designated system. Steam Guard employs two-factor authentication through a Steam mobile app called Steam Guard Mobile Authentication.
Late in 2013, Steam opened the door for users to review Steam titles and organize all their game purchases into personalized categories. This user interface added additional features, namely the ability to add games purchased outside the Steam platform to these same categories.
The Big Picture mode is a 10-foot user interface that will allow users to optimize their gaming experience on high-definition televisions. Users can still control their Steam games with a keyboard, mouse, or gamepad.