I've been an avid user of Steam for my gaming needs and necessities. Like Netflix, Steam has changed the technology (specifically gaming) industry in terms of how we play games. Long gone are the days when you had to stand in line to purchase a game, get home, pop it into your console and enjoy a few hours of gaming.
Even though Steam was not the first software to offer digitally distributed video games, it quickly gained a massive amount of users, and by 2011 was the top largest platform for finding, buying and playing games on PC, Mac, and Linux. Today, Steam hosts thousands of games, and has over 125 million active users.
However, Steam sucks! First off, I am not the biggest fan of the client. With the vast amount of users Steam cultivates, could they not create a client that is more user-friendly? Navigating around Steam can be a huge pain. Say that you are on page 5, looking for a fun game to purchase. You see a game you might be interested in, and you click on it to view further details about it. But if you dare to click the back button, you are navigated all the way to the first page! It makes browsing Steam that much more dreadful if you do not know what exactly you are looking for. Another problem that makes navigating agonizing is the fact that Steam is SO. SLOW. You sit there and watch the loading circle go around several times before you get onto the page you actually want. And with our generation being focused on fast internet, the last thing we are okay with is slow gaming.
There is a website called GOG.com that is similar to Steam, however, also wonderfully different. Steam games are NOT DRM-free. Yes, of course you can download the client on several laptops and login to your own account on a different laptop, and share your Steam library with another person, but Steam makes these tasks incredibly burdensome. Steam does not save your game data on the cloud. All of your game data is saved on a local file, on that specific computer. If you choose to start a game on your friend's computer, and continue the game on your own computer the next day, you will have to start at the very beginning. Nothing is worse than having to take the local data file, put it on a USB drive, and take it to another computer. There is offline mode, which allows two people to play different games from the same library on different computers at the same time. Although, there is no easy way for two people to play the same game at the same time. GOG.com, for example, allows you to buy the game, and download it as many times as you want, on as many computers as you wish. You paid for the game, and now you own it. Steam is not quite as easy.
Understandably, I will continue using Steam for my gaming necessities. However, I am not dedicated to the software. There are so many details that I wish we could improve in this software. Regardless, some people see Valve as saviors of PC gaming, even though it is purely capitalized by business people who saw an opportunity. There is no real competition, even with services like GOG.com, because several games, for example Bethesda games, are only available on Steam, therefore Steam will continue to dominate the PC gaming market.