Not even a decade ago, placing a video game into the player’s hands was a difficult task. Developers first have to finish the game, then have it ESRB Rated, compress them into discs, package the games and then send them to retailers. Sending those games to retailers all depended on if the retailer was willing to give up shelf space. After all of that, the developer is lucky is they receive 20% of the profits. That means if a game was placed on the market for $40 then the developers would only receive $6.80. Then Digital Distribution made its way to consumers. Instead of having to go through a series of motions, developers had to simply developer the game and release it onto steam. This allowed for them to receive 80% of the profits and avoid gaining an ESRB Rating. Steam became the biggest game changer for the video game industry.
Valve, the creators behind Steam weren’t the first company to distribute games through an online platform. GameSpy controlled that market for five years before Steam came into the picture. Eventually, GameSpy had to shut their doors down in 2013. During the late 90’s and early 00’s players still wanted a physical disc behind their games. Still to this day, it’s a popular form of purchasing a game. PC Gamers & Console players have begun rapidly moving online to online distribution as physical copies hold no purpose anymore.
September 2003, that’s when video game developer/publisher Valve released Steam for PC Gamers. Steam wasn’t first accepted into the gaming industry, many hated the service and saw it be unnecessary. Steam eventually grew into its own, becoming the most popular distributor of gamers for PC Gamers. It’s also considered the cheapest way to purchase a video game as prices are deducted by a significant amount. This is because a disc isn’t available, the packaging isn’t needed and all the protocols towards releasing a game on a console is avoided. The best aspect of this platform is that the employee’s behind the service are gamers themselves. Not only do they develop games for their own platform but they know which games are best for their customers, meaning that sales of the top games on the market are always available.
Steam used to allow anyone to release a game onto their market. This has changed over the last few years, though, now when wanting to release a game on this platform, developers must go through “Steam Greenlight”. This is a service that allows for any developer to place their game into the hidden market where consumers can play them, vote on them and give advice as to how the developer can better the game. Those games which receive high ratings are placed onto the Steam Store while the others are thrown off of Greenlight. None the less, the abundance of indie games on this PC Gaming Store is astonishing. So much so that Steam holds claim to the title of “Indie Game Publisher of the Year” which they’ve received five years in a row.