Friday, November 4, 2011

Is Steam Worth My Time?

No, not steam that powers generators.  I mean Steam, http://store.steampowered.com/.

Steam is an application that is downloaded onto your PC or Mac.  You can buy games from Steam.  Usually you can find a good deal.  They have many sales going on all the time.  After you buy a game, Steam downloads it to your computer, and then you can play it.  "BUT WAIT," you say, "I do not have a REAL copy of the game!"  Then I say "Hold on. Everything will be okay."  No, you do not own a physical CD.  Yes, you really own the game.

This is where steam seals the deal for me.  I bought the game, downloaded it, and played it.  But my computer decides to die, all that hard work, and the game itself, gone.  So I get a new computer, I download Steam, again.  I re-download the game, and BAM,  I am playing the game right from where I left off!  In fact you can play the same game on two computers, without them ever being connected together in a network.  Steam has a record of all the games you own, and you can upload you save games to the servers, so you can download them again some other time.

Steam offers some other social networking aspects.  I do not use them.  I use it to game.  You can connect with friends, and I do.  You can always see what they are playing, and if it is a multi-player game (and you own it),you can usually very easily play with them.

Is Steam perfect.  No.  It has some issues, and as I have used it over the last few years, it has gotten less buggy.  I look for the pattern to continue.  One of the biggest issues is this:  Every time I visit the store page, I want to buy a game that I can not afford.  Their sales are wonderful, but other than that, the games are not that much cheaper from anywhere else.

Steam is "Powered by Valve."  That is the catch line, meaning, every game Valve has ever released is available for purchase (That may or may not be an exaggeration.).  "Only Valve games! That sucks." you say.  And to that I say "Nay, they sell other games too."

I like valve games, but lets be honest, even EA can make a good game (given a month after release to work out the bugs).  Steam does offer non-Valve games, even free games.  All games ever made?  No.  Why? Well because some suck, but mostly it has to do with the plans the game-maker has for the game.  For instance, Steam does offer Battlefield Bad Company 2 for purchase, but not Battlefield 3.  Why?  EA (at the time of release for Battlefield 3) was getting ready to launch their own "Steam," called Origin.  So they denied Steam access to force computer gamers to download Origins to play Battlefield 3. It was a way to get Origins out, and in use.

So, is Steam worth my time? Yes.  I do lots of gaming and love the fact that when this computer stops, I still own my games, without ever having to worry about where I put those CDs when I installed the games 4 years ago. In fact, I only see two possible bad endings.  1)The Internet ends.  Yeah, like that will ever happen.  The ONLY way that happens is if the world fights itself in another world war, and we go into a nuclear winter. 2) Valve goes out of business.  I do not see that as an issue, as long as people keep buying games from them.  I will continue, and I think you should check it out.

Maybe you do not like Valve.  Okay, try EA's Origins, or the Microsoft's version of Steam (the name escapes me and of which I have looked at once, and never used, just saying).