A digital distribution platform, also known as an Electronic Distribution Platform (EDP) is an online space such as a website that allows users to create, publish and distribute the content created over the Internet. It consists of all the required resources and systems which facilitate the online purchase and sale of digital products and services. Digital distribution platforms bring together creators, developers, investors, publishers, distributors and end-users allowing them to create, upload, publish and monetize their content. They also allow users to purchase and download the content created by other users.
Digital distribution platforms are a form of an online community. The content hosted by digital distribution platforms may vary according to their industry and area of expertise. It could be audio, video, documents, audio-visual, graphics, video-games and any other form of software. Every industry can have dedicated online distribution platforms to it. Just like Spotify is a digital distributor for music, Steam is an online video game distribution service.
All about Steam
When it comes to the online video gaming industry, the worldwide digital games market is growing strong with each passing year. According to a January 2020 report by Super Data on the video gaming market, the industry’s revenue rose by a total of 3% as compared to last year’s, amounting to $9.4 billion. The report also indicated an upward trend in mobile gaming and listed the top 10 games according to various gaming categories.
While there are so many promising figures being reported about the industry, there are still many developers out there searching for digital distribution platforms to associate themselves with in order to put their talent to use. At the same time, video game publishers are also facing a hard time looking for promising talent to publish their games. To facilitate video games, developers and publishers, many online distribution platforms such as Xbox Live Marketplace and Origin emerged in the past. However, Steam, by far, remains the best video game distribution option, especially for desktop games.
Steam was launched in 2003 by Valve which was previously a video game development platform. Steam allows its users to play, discuss, publish and distribute their games online. However, the platform charges an entrance fee worth a USD100 to allow developers and publishers worldwide to enter its platform as registered persons.
Steam for Publishers and Developers
Steam provides publishers a chance to carefully select the type of video games they want to publish. It allows them to communicate with developers and have a thorough knowledge of the type of game they have decided to invest their time, money and marketing efforts in.
Similarly, Steam’s platform allows developers a chance to develop, create and find publishers for their games without any further hassle. Steam allows both these parties to come together under its umbrella and work in unison promoting the online gaming industry for desktop. Steam returns the initial $100 fee once the publishers’ and developers’ earnings cross $1000 bar, making it the right choice for both parties.
Steam for End Users
Since Steam facilitates not just developers but also end-users. It allows them to purchase games online and download them directly on to their computers. However, this requires making an account with the website and making online payments. Once the users have paid for the game, they can download it to as many devices as they want, provided they have Steam installed in them.
Steam can be installed on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The installation does not require any special provisions to be made and can be done by anyone smoothly. Once installed, the next step requires users to create an account with the website online to gain access to thousands of games online.
What Makes Steam the Best Choice?
Steam hosts a range of different kinds of games from AAA to Indie; any kind of game can be accessed easily on its platform. According to its website, Steam has approximately 17,763,169 users online from different parts of the world simultaneously at a specified time of the day with 5,352,492 of them playing online games. These figures reflect Steam’s popularity and trustworthiness among video game industry professionals and consumers which is what makes it the best video game distribution service.
Other Benefits of Using Steam
Many benefits of using Steam have been mentioned already but they are mostly for developers and publishers. When it comes down to end-users, they have an added advantage of freeing up space in their CDs and DVD racks alongside getting rid of the frustration of storing them. It also ensures end users’ safety over their platform since they need to make online payments for purchasing Valve games.
Challenges for Steam Users
While almost everyone who uses Steam is all praises for it, there are some downsides to using the software. First off, the huge amount of space it needs to download games and run smoothly can become a real ordeal for people who are running low on disk spaces.
Secondly, something which the Steam owners really need to work on is the quality of its community support. Many new gamers complain about the lack of support they experienced while using the platform. If a person whether a developer, publishers or end-user asks for help, Steam’s community must be supportive and responsive enough to help them out. After all, it is the leading video gaming distribution service on the internet.
Another challenge for Steam users is that they need to burn their games on DVDs if they wish to store them in physical backups. Steam does not provide games in physical forms. This means it does not ship end-users’ games on CDs and DVDs. It only lets you install and download the game on your PC once the end-user has purchased their copy.
Steam developers have put in a huge amount of sincere effort to get their platform to the number one spot. In addition to their sincere efforts, honest dealing and fair pricing are also the reasons for its extreme popularity among all factions of the video gaming industry. From developers to end users, everyone is satisfied with Steam and its services.