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Happy Birthday to Steam as it turned 20 today

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Where has all that time gone? It's pretty hard to believe that it was 20 years ago that Steam arrived, and with it that glorious green interface.

They weren't even close to being the first digital store to provide games, but requiring Steam to run Half-Life 2 regardless of digital purchase or a boxed copy was likely the defining moment that helped push it to success for Valve. This was likely my own introduction to Steam as well, back in the day where my PC could only just about run Half-Life 2 when you had long loading screens between sections. How time flies huh?

Pictured - Steam homepage back in 2004 after Half-Life 2 released

Valve has a long colourful history of expanding Steam from a basic launcher to a full store and later adding in the Steam Workshop, Early Access, Greenlight, Steam Direct, User Reviews, Virtual Reality, Steam Machines, Steam Deck, Remote Play, Points Shop, Movies and TV, Soundtracks and the list goes on and on.

Not everything Valve has tried went well like the original Steam Machines, and killing off their ambitions for non-gaming video content but they keep on trying and expanding and it seems there's really no stopping it. It grows every year with Valve's 2022 overview noting they had seen 83,000 new first-time purchasers every day of the year.

Naturally, without Steam and Valve, Linux gaming wouldn't be where it is today so we're doubly thankful for its existence. Just look at how Valve's Proton has changed things in the last 5 years.

Whatever will they announce next — more new hardware perhaps?

Do you have any especially fond memories of Steam over the years? Share them in the comments.

Article taken from
Tags: Misc, Steam, Valve
About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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rcrit Sep 12
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Apparently I opened my account almost exactly 4 months after introduction. I have the 19 year badge.

I remember the frequent struggle keeping Steam working in Cedega. Finding and installing the Tahoma font for wine. The early days were really quite rough. I still have my Orange Box around here somewhere. My first games were imported from that.

I remember the excitement when I was included in the Linux beta (sorry work, I *cough* *cough* am not feeling well today).

I remember when I had more games on CD/DVD/direct download than on Steam. I still have shelves full of them but they are dwarfed by Steam keys now. It's really too much. I've never even launched some of them (blames Humble Bundle).
Obscure Sep 12
20 years already!! It only seems like yesterday that I signed up by my account is a little over 14 years.
Bogomips Sep 12
Yep, we are getting old, 20 years account anniversary at the end of the month. With an ugly username based on an email address long gone after the provider disappearance.
fabertawe Sep 12
I just logged in to check... 18 years! The Orange Box was my introduction to Steam as well. I had a lot of fun playing Day Of Defeat (pre Source) back then.
kuhpunkt Sep 12
I've had my Steam account now for literally half my life. I don't need to explain the joke.
mrazster Sep 12
Since September 15, 2003 yeah, it's been a while !
Good times !
Wow, 20 years already. I've been with Steam for over 14 years now, a little less than half my life – what a journey that has been so far. And yes, I'm also incredibly happy about Steam's contributions to Linux gaming! Let's hope it'll even improve.
Linux_Rocks Sep 12
NeptNutz Sep 12
I had long since retired from PC gaming, and PCs in general, by the time Steam came along. (I guess that makes me a PC Master Race Titan or something. Imagine how I viewed Nintendo players back in those days.)

Fast forward to 2010, when a buddy of mine suggested we try Left 4 Dead. "Sure thing!" I figure. I bought the disc at a box store and immediately upon loading it I was confronted with some DRM launcher thing called Steam. Well, if my head didn't explode at that moment, I'm certain I almost put my fist through a wall, or two.

Of course, all is forgiven since we discovered our digital overlord is kind and benevolent. Here's hoping for another twenty years of gamer-friendly rule!

PS - My wallet still hates me.
Pengling Sep 12
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The Steam website is mean and green today, too!

Happy Birthday, Steam!
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