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Steam has turned 18 years old and PC gaming has never been the same since

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It's truly hard to imagine just how much Valve managed to change what PC gaming is thanks to Steam. On September 12 2021, the Steam client celebrated 18 years. Steam is now old enough to buy alcohol in the UK.

Do you remember what Steam originally looked like? I sure do. It was a much simpler time, with none of the fancy tricks Steam does now. There was no Steam Play, no Linux client, no macOS client, no reviews system and just — not much of anything. A few games, a couple of buttons and that was mostly it. This was long before the likes of GOG, Humble, Epic, itch.io, Origin and so on.

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Not only was it a bare-bones client, a lot of people really didn't like it either. This was back in the days where most people went into a real-life game store, picked up a box and took it home to insert a CD and read the manual while it took forever to install. The idea of needing the internet and a client to register and play was just weird. Back then Steam had a bit of a history for being unreliable too, with all sorts of server and login issues.

It wasn't long until Steam was a requirement with Half-Life 2 releasing in 2004, which truly set the stage for PC gaming digital distribution from that point to slowly become the norm. Later in 2005, the first externally developed titles arrived on Steam like Rag Doll Kung Fu but Steam remained a firmly closed system with Valve firmly curating the titles until later in 2012 when Steam Greenlight appeared for indies to submit their games, get votes and eventually (hopefully) get accepted.

Things are vastly different now of course. There's over 51,000 games on Steam and thousands release every year, thanks to Steam Direct allowing developers to pay $100 to get their game listed.

Looking at my own purchase history, looks like Day of Defeat: Source was actually my first purchase on my own account back in 2008. What was yours?

Happy Birthday, Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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63 comments
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MoneySpider 14 Sep
Had my account since 2008 but before that my granddad would let me play on his account every now and then, was introduced to Half Life 2 (As well as Risen and Bioshock) from watching him play it and several years later finally played through it myself. First game on my own account was The Wonderful End of the World.

link

From looking through my history I think I've managed to pinpoint when my Sonic phase happened.

[ed: changed image to the actual png so it shows up inline]


Last edited by scaine on 14 September 2021 at 6:46 am UTC
ElectroDD 14 Sep
I have the 18 years badge...
I was playing on windows counter-strike since beta 5.0 ( a time where dual berettas and automatic sniper rifles were not in the game ).
PLayed a lot of CS 1.5 and 1.6 on steam ( day one steam account ).
It's only recently that i migrated fully to linux ^^( almost exclusively, there still are some games i can't play on linux )
Eike 14 Sep
Quoting: ElectroDDI have the 18 years badge...

Do you happen to know how rare that is?
scaine 14 Sep
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Quoting: Eike
Quoting: ElectroDDI have the 18 years badge...

Do you happen to know how rare that is?

I have the 16 year badge right now, which will turn 17 mid November... but to have an 18 year badge only 2 days after Steam itself turned 18 requires you to have signed up for it practically on the day of its release. It must be incredibly rare.

16 year badge in Steam
Eike 14 Sep
I boycotted this evil thing called Steam until 2011, when the retail box of Skyrim forced me to install it, Then Steam forced me to install an update so big that I couldn't play the game the evening although I had the DVD. Man, I hated you, Steam. Call of Duty Black Ops 1 and 2 and XCOM followed next year, and then, what a surprise, Steam for Linux beta! I found two Windows games I bought in 2013, Bioshock Infinite and a Fallout New Vegas Ultimate pack for IIRC 5 bucks, and then everything was Linux.


Last edited by Eike on 14 September 2021 at 12:24 pm UTC
Eike 14 Sep
Quoting: kellerkindtSo next up is the Steam Linux half-time celebration, where steam is half of it's life available on Linux (since Feb 14, 2013).

@Liam, you must not miss this one!

If I (and LibreOffice) didn't miscalculate, 14th of Feb 2013 minus 12th of Sep 2003 is 3443 days, so the "break even" should be 20th of July in 2022. Which is incredible, as it feels like Steam is there forever, and while Steam for Linux doesn't feel brandnew anymore, I can still remember well how surprised I was when I first read about it.
I'm not sure I'd actually heard of Steam before it launched on Linux. I'd pretty much given up on games for the most part when I dumped the dual boot, and I'd never been much of a gamer to start with. But I came to the conclusion that lack of games was one of the big things still blocking widespread Linux adoption on the desktop, and nobody much was talking about the desktop any more, and there was this website called "Gaming on Linux", which I started following to see what the prospects might be for a breakthrough on the games front that could make my preferred OS a more viable desktop competitor.

So then a while after I started following GoL, there was all this talk about how Linux was getting a Steam client, and this was supposed to be a big deal. I rapidly assimilated why it was a big deal, and a while after that it showed up on my distro as a thing you could just install, and Valve was pushing Linux, and there were games, commercial games I wanted to play, actually available by pressing a button! It was a breakthrough moment for me. I had basically played zero computer games since Loki went belly up.

Now I'm so used to Steam that it weirds me out when I'm trying to think of something family members could get me for Christmas and I say "Well, um, you could go on Steam and buy me a game" and they're like "What's Steam?" and I realize it's possible to not know . . . like I didn't back when the Linux client first arrived.
ElectroDD 14 Sep
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: ElectroDDI have the 18 years badge...

Do you happen to know how rare that is?

I have the 16 year badge right now, which will turn 17 mid November... but to have an 18 year badge only 2 days after Steam itself turned 18 requires you to have signed up for it practically on the day of its release. It must be incredibly rare.

16 year badge in Steam

18 years badge
STiAT 15 Sep
What I realized - I'm always getting a few KB updates for numerous games daily. Has that to do with Valve tweaking games / game configs for the Deck, or is that again some bug like the 0kb downloads?
Vulphere 15 Sep
Got introduced to Steam thanks to TF2 although I have seen the Steam client in cybercafes thanks to Counter Strike.
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