Twenty years ago, on September 12, 2003, the Steam Client burst onto the PC gaming scene. Valve didn’t just introduce a new application; it unveiled an indispensable platform for a generation of gamers. At the time, its modest system requirements of 256MB of RAM and 1GB of storage were in line with the technology standards of that era. Let’s delve into the history and impact of this game-changing platform.
Before Steam, buying a PC game usually meant going to a physical store and purchasing a disc. That changed dramatically with a brief announcement on Steam’s news page on the same day it launched, titled “Steam Client Released”. Termed initially as a ‘distributed file system,’ Steam was more than a mere convenience. It was a revolutionary digital distribution platform that extended the reach of indie developers and altered how games were distributed.
While the platform was groundbreaking, it wasn’t without its initial challenges. The added RAM consumption made some gamers reluctant to make the switch to Steam, as it could slow down their systems. Despite these hiccups, the innovative concept and potential outweighed the early practical concerns for most users.
DOTA 2’s release became a watershed moment for Steam, pulling in gamers from all corners of the world. Not only did the title bolster Steam’s user numbers, but it also cemented the platform’s status as a go-to destination for quality gaming. DOTA 2 served as a catalyst, converting hesitant gamers into loyal Steam users and reinforcing the platform’s robust reputation.
Today, Steam’s library has expanded to over 50,000 games, ranging from blockbuster hits to indie treasures. An interesting tidbit: Users who registered on the first day received a special ’20 Years of Service’ badge to mark the anniversary.