April 23, 2012 · 0 Comments
Steam is top dog when it comes to the digital distribution of PC games, and for many people it’s the one and only way to purchase PC games. Although it was maligned by most everyone when it was first released and made playing Half-Life 2 at its launch a real hassle, Valve was smart to enter the market when it did: it’s had the better part of a decade to figure out what does and doesn’t work. And being as early as it was, it’s become the definitive example of how digital computer games should be distributed.
That puts everyone else at a fairly significant disadvantage. Because it’s not as if Steam was merely the first; it is, in many ways, the best option available as far as these sorts of services go — as long as you can look past the inherent DRM of using something like Steam. As other companies launch competitors, they have to worry about getting the fundamentals right. While they’re doing that, Valve is free to spend its time developing things like the Steam Workshop that make the competition look bush league by comparison.