Steam can be hard to definitely define. It means different things to different people. For the social person it can be a program to talk with and meet fellow gamers. For the mobile person it can be the perfect to sync all your games in one place (Cloud Sync). For the cheap person it can be the perfect place to find Free To Play (FTP) games. You could say that Steam is a technological multi-tool for the average gamer.

Steam is home to some of the most popular games on the internet such as Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and Garry’s Mod. Funnily enough most of the most popular games are by Valve which made Steam. Steam’s functionality, luckily, extends to more than just running these games. Should you need to be elsewhere on a different computer Steam can sync the progress of the game you are playing (If it’s single player) or your stats and other things (If it’s multiplayer). So let’s use an example: Let’s say I’m playing Team Fortress 2 and I’m getting a new computer. That new computer won’t have Steam preinstalled on it but at least your synced so you don’t have to start again or lose your items.

Speaking of items another feature on Steam really encourages player trading. It’s called the Community Market. It’s somewhat like a market you might find in Dalston: Cheap prices except it doesn’t smell like a fishmongers or butchers-And no bad quality or fake products. Instead of buying items from the company that made the game you can buy from other players (With real money online). Again, let’s put this into context: “I really need a Soda Popper to complete my set! If only it wasn’t so expensive in the Mann Co.”(Team Fortress 2’s virtual weapons store) Well, with the Community store instead of paying 59p-£5.60 in the Mann co. you can instead pay 1p- 30p (Some of the items are extremely cheap).

Another fundamental feature to Steam is the social aspect of it. On steam you can add people as friends. You also have a profile page which is similar to Facebook but it’s not this part of Steam that is very useful, it’s the voice calls. Those are the most essential things to any Steam gamer. There’s a very common gaming proverb (Maybe not so common- I thought it up) and that is: A “Help me!” by voice is better than a “Help me” by typing it. That really is true especially since others will almost never get the message on time.

This isn’t really a feature but definitely the best thing about steam are the steam sales. There are different kinds of sales mainly depending on the time of year such as the summer sale and the winter sale. There are also sales usually on certain events that might be happening. In any of the steam sales games are usually discounted by at least 50%, 75% and even 90%. Newer games might be discounted by 20%. Personally I’ve bought a lot of games during a steam sale. The game Garry’s Mod on a normal day would be around £5.99 but during a steam sale the price was reduced by 75% which made the game £2.99. I also bought the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. On a normal day it would be £15.99 however I bought it during the Christmas sale! It was reduced by 50% and made the game £7.99. Ah lovely savings! Luckily if you miss a sale, Steam does sales very often! So, even if you’re not really a serious gamer it’s still worth getting steam as its social aspect makes this a gaming multitool for all gamers, whether you’re a hardcore or a mobile type of person- Any type of gamer actually!

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About Amin B

I'm Sharp Magazines technology editor.

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