Steam
Steam is a broadband business platform for direct software delivery and content management. At its core, Steam is a distributed file system and shared set of technology components that can be implemented into any software application. With Steam, developers are given integrated tools for direct-content publishing, flexible billing, ensured-version control, anti-cheating, anti-piracy, and more.

Steam consumers enjoy the benefit of starting their applications within minutes of confirming their purchase. They can access their applications from any PC. They are no longer challenged to find the latest updates for these applications. And they no longer need to wonder if their device drivers are compatible with the latest software.


The Steam Interface


Once you've installed Steam, all of the following features are available on your desktop and while you're playing Steam games.

Instantly access your favourite games
The full Steam library and all future Steam releases are at your fingertips. Choose from over 1500 games from various developers. After you've purchased a game, download it immediately and start playing.

Join the Steam Community
Now it's easy to find someone to play with, meet up with friends, connect with groups with similar interests, and host and join chats, matches, and tournaments. Best of all, it's all free.

Chat with your friends while gaming
With Steam's "Friends" service, you can talk to your friends while you play. You can also see when they're playing games and easily join the same servers together.

Easily browse multiplayer game servers
Steam's integrated server browser makes it easy to navigate thousands of Internet game servers.

Receive automatic game updates
Hunting for patches and downloading from unorganized web sites is so twentieth-century. On Steam, your games stay up-to-date by themselves. No hassles.

Play your games on any PC or Mac
Once you have a Steam account, you can sign in from any PC to access your games. Your games are associated with your account, not your computer. Steam is also compatible with the Mac with a growing number of compatible games.

Enjoy Steam-only special offers
From pre-release discounts to free-play weekends, Steam delivers what gamers value most.

Steam on the go
Steam is now available for both Android and iOS devices. Click here for more details.
The History
Pre-2002 gamers played their internet multiplayer games on the WON (World Opponent Network) system. The system mostly worked well but Valve had a growing problem with game updates. When an update was released users would have to go to a website to download a patch file. They would have to run the update to update their game to the latest version before they could play again. This left large portions of the community with incorrect versions of the game unable to play. Valve decided to fix this problem by introducing Steam in 2002.

Steam would update the games automatically, and implement better anti-piracy and anti-cheat measures. They managed their whole game catalogue on Steam and with its success attracted other publishers and developers to release their products on Steam.
The Games
Steam started out with simply Valve games. As of January 2012, there are 1504 games from various major publishers and developers including Sega, Rockstar Games, EA Games, Square Enix, and Activision. A digital store front is included in the client allowing you to browse the titles and purchase them online. Once purchased, the software is permanently attached to the user's Steam account or can be given as a gift to another user on Steam. Certain games can also be activated on Steam by using the CD key included in the game case.
Steam Support
Steam and Valve game support can be found at support.steampowered.com. You will find a massive knowledgebase packed with frequently asked questions and answers as well as get the option of contacting the support team directly. If you ever get some problems this is the place to go.