I like steam quite a lot (http://steamcommunity.com/id/combatineffective/games?tab=all
). Since many of you don't see how someone could like steam, I thought I'd provide some enlightenment - not that there hasn't been plenty of good reasons proffered already.
1. Steam sales: buying games awhile after release is usually just fine as far as I'm concerned; I can and will pay full price for major multiplayer titles because getting into a game for the first time when others have been playing it for months can be a little rough.
2. Persistent backup, anytime/any computer access: I really like that if I build a new computer, I can just download games at my leisure, the steam cloud often keeps my prior game saves. Try backing up 950 GB to DVDs. Imagine 340 DVDs of games. It would take up masses of space and good luck finding the right one easily unless I want to spend half my time organizing them.
3. Games are always up to date: Automatic updates are so, so nice. They have drastically changed patch release schedules in my opinion. Red Orchestra 2 has been patched probably 5 times since release (not saying this is a good thing, but what a pain in the posterior if I had to go download and install each patch manually). And now, you can even check for video card driver updates through steam; what a great idea!
4. Friends and community: starting a clan, making friends, finding a game that has friends in it, and starting a group/clan was never easier. The community features are a strong component of steam.
5. Offline play: I don't have
to have an internet connection; I can just start steam in offline mode and play to my heart's content.
6. Indie titles: without steam, I would never have tried many of the indie titles that were great fun (zombie driver, flight control hd, defense grid, nation red, magicka, etc.)
7. Support forums: I really like that if I'm having a technical issue, I can go to the product's steam page, click on forums, and very often the answer is 2-5 minutes away.
8. It's the leader because it was the first (and for a long time only) and was well executed: steam has been constantly improved throughout its life; it started out as a place where you could buy valve games, but Gabe Newell was a visionary. I really thought the idea would flop, but the fact that people are complaining about it being the 800 lb gorilla tend to negate that.
9. Low barrier to entry: the steam executable is what, like 2 MB? Additionally, it's easier to take a chance on a sale special when you know you're paying less (I realize the sales aren't always
as good as they appear), or if there's a demo it's just a couple clicks away. No worries if you buy it that you'll have one more game case to alphabetize after you'd installed and updated the game. If it wasn't that great, oh well, cost a few dollars and some bandwidth. It's surprising how many great games are out there that will surprise you though.
10. Retail CD Keys: For those games that are too expensive on steam, many can be bought retail and are accepted on steam as if you bought the game on steam. Therefore, games like Deus Ex: HR can be purchased at the Amazon price and yet you can still enjoy all of the advantages of steam if you so desire (see a list of games that support this method here: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7480-wusf-3601
11. Miscellaneous: Little touches like the system requirements, videos and screenshots all on the product page make shopping easier. Gifting is a pretty cool feature. Your game library is searchable, and the library view is configurable. Moderate system requirements mean you don't even realize steam is running (my computer's been on for about 2 days and steam has used 2 minutes of cpu time). Achievements are fun, and it's kind of interesting to compare your achievements to the masses (what percentage attained which achievements). Steamguard is a relatively new feature, but it's a great security measure that requires a code from your email address to use steam on a different computer, even if the user has the username and password (see https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=1266-OAFV-8478#steamguard
). Steam support has been very good in my experience. I love having all of my games in one place; no digging out the DVD and realizing I've lost the license key somewhere, or vice versa. I used to lament that all games have to be installed in one directory, but since learning of symbolic links/junctions, that's not a problem at all.
I am sure there are plenty of those reasons that are not compelling to one person or another. Feel free to comment, but just remember that your comment won't change my mind about my good experience with steam. I do understand that not everyone has had a good experience with steam, and that fact is dependent upon a lot of factors (where you live, the quality and reliability of your internet connection, exchange rates, VAT/sales tax, the rampant hijacking of accounts by clicking a untrustworthy internet link before steamguard was implemented, and who knows what else). I don't think that saying that you don't "understand" how someone would like/love steam is intellectually honest. We are all in different stages of life, situations (economic, familial, etc.), have different priorities that shape our decisions and opinions, and we may not agree
with someone's reasons for appreciating something, but certainly we can understand why they might like/love it.
Jason181 aka CombatIneffective