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Advertisement 4. Steam’s primary service is to allow its users to download games and other software that they have in their virtual software libraries to their local computers as game cache files GCFs. Valve intended to “make DRM obsolete” as games released on Steam had traditional anti-piracy measures, including the assignment and distribution of product keys and support for digital rights management software tools such as SecuROM or non-malicious rootkits.
The CEG technology creates a unique, encrypted copy of the game’s executable files for the given user, which allows them to install it multiple times and on multiple devices, and make backup copies of their software.
Normally this is done while connected to the Internet following the user’s credential validation, but once they have logged into Steam once, a user can instruct Steam to launch in a special offline mode to be able to play their games without a network connection. In September , Valve added support for Steam Cloud, a service that can automatically store saved game and related custom files on Valve’s servers; users can access this data from any machine running the Steam client.
Users can disable this feature on a per-game and per-account basis. Steam also offers a framework for selling and distributing downloadable content DLC for games. In September , Steam introduced the ability to share most games with family members and close friends by authorizing machines to access one’s library. Authorized players can install the game locally and play it separately from the owning account.
Users can access their saved games and achievements providing the main owner is not playing. When the main player initiates a game while a shared account is using it, the shared account user is allowed a few minutes to either save their progress and close the game or purchase the game for his or her own account. In accordance with its acceptable use policy , Valve retains the right to block customers’ access to their games and Steam services when Valve’s Anti-Cheat VAC software determines that the user is cheating in multiplayer games, selling accounts to others, or trading games to exploit regional price differences.
The Steam client includes a digital storefront called the Steam Store through which users can purchase computer games. Once the game is bought, a software license is permanently attached to the user’s Steam account, allowing them to download the software on any compatible device.
Game licenses can be given to other accounts under certain conditions. Content is delivered from an international network of servers using a proprietary file transfer protocol. Since , the Steam Translation Server project offers Steam users to assist with the translation of the Steam client, storefront, and a selected library of Steam games for twenty-eight languages.
In February , Steam began to open similar options for in-game item purchases for third-party games. In conjunction with developers and publishers, Valve frequently provides discounted sales on games on a daily and weekly basis, sometimes oriented around a publisher, genre, or holiday theme, and sometimes allow games to be tried for free during the days of these sales. The site normally offers a large selection of games at discount during its annual Summer and Holiday sales, including gamification of these sales to incentive users to purchase more games.
Users of Steam’s storefront can also purchase games and other software as gifts to be given to another Steam user. Prior to May , users could purchase these gifts to be held in their profile’s inventory until they opted to gift them. However, this feature enabled a gray market around some games, where a user in a country where the price of a game was substantially lower than elsewhere could stockpile giftable copies of games to sell to others, particularly in regions with much higher prices.
The Steam store also enables users to redeem store product keys to add software from their library. The keys are sold by third-party providers such as Humble Bundle in which a portion of the sale is given back to the publisher or distributor , distributed as part of a physical release to redeem the game, or given to a user as part of promotions, often used to deliver Kickstarter and other crowd funding rewards. A grey market exists around Steam keys, where less reputable buyers purchase a large number of Steam keys for a game when it is offered for a low cost, and then resell these keys to users or other third-party sites at a higher price, generating profit for themselves.
In , Steam began to accept player reviews of games. Other users can subsequently rate these reviews as helpful, humorous, or otherwise unhelpful, which are then used to highlight the most useful reviews on the game’s Steam store page.
Steam also aggregates these reviews and enables users to sort products based on this feedback while browsing the store. In particular, Valve announced in March that it mark reviews they believe are “off-topic” as a result of a review bomb, and eliminate their contribution to summary review scores; the first such games they took action on with this was the Borderlands games after it was announced Borderlands 3 would be a timed-exclusive to the Epic Games Store. During mid, Valve began to offer free-to-play games, such as Global Agenda , Spiral Knights and Champions Online ; this offer was linked to the company’s move to make Team Fortress 2 a free-to-play title.
Later that year, Valve added the ability to trade in-game items and “unopened” game gifts between users. Steam Coupons can be provided to users by developers and publishers; users can trade these coupons between friends in a similar fashion to gifts and in-game items. For example, Team Fortress 2 —the first game supported at the beta phase—incurred both fees. Full support for other games was expected to be available in early In October , Steam introduced non-gaming applications, which are sold through the service in the same manner as games.
Valve have also added the ability for publishers to rent and sell digital movies via the service, with initially most being video game documentaries. Entertainment offering the Mad Max films alongside the September release of the game based on the series ,  Lionsgate entered into agreement with Valve to rent over one hundred feature films from its catalog through Steam starting in April , with more films following later.
While Steam allows developers to offer demo versions of their games at any time, Valve worked with Geoff Keighley in in conjunction with The Game Awards to hold a week-long Steam Game Festival to feature a large selection of game demos of current and upcoming games, alongside sales for games already released.
A Steam Points system and storefront was added in June , which mirrored similar temporary points systems that had been used in prior sales on the storefront. Users earn points through purchases on Steam or by receiving community recognition for helpful reviews or discussion comments. These points do not expire as they had in the prior sales, and can be redeemed in the separate storefront for cosmetics that apply to the user’s profile and chat interface.
The popularity of Steam has led to the service’s being attacked by hackers. An attempt occurred in November , when Valve temporarily closed the community forums, citing potential hacking threats to the service. Days later, Valve reported that the hack had compromised one of its customer databases, potentially allowing the perpetrators to access customer information; including encrypted password and credit card details.
At that time, Valve was not aware whether the intruders actually accessed this information or discovered the encryption method, but nevertheless warned users to be alert for fraudulent activity. Valve added Steam Guard functionality to the Steam client in March to protect against the hijacking of accounts via phishing schemes, one of the largest support problems Valve had at the time.
Once locked, activity by that account on other computers must first be approved by the user on the locked computer. In , between Steam-based game inventories, trading cards, and other virtual goods attached to a user’s account, Valve stated that the potential monetary value had drawn hackers to try to access user accounts for financial benefit, and continue to encourage users to secure accounts with Steam Guard, when trading was introduced in To improve security, the company announced that new restrictions would be added in March , under which day holds are placed on traded items unless they activate, and authenticate with Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator.
In July , a bug in the software allowed anyone to reset the password to any account by using the “forgot password” function of the client. High-profile professional gamers and streamers lost access to their accounts. In April , Valve added new privacy settings for Steam users, who are able to set if their current activity status is private, visible to friends only, or public; in addition to being able to hide their game lists, inventory, and other profile elements in a similar manner.
While these changes brought Steam’s privacy settings inline with approaches used by game console services, it also impacted third-party services such as Steam Spy , which relied on the public data to estimate Steam sales count. Valve established a HackerOne bug bounty program in May , a crowdsourced method to test and improve security features of the Steam client.
The vulnerability was then reported to Valve via the program, but it was initially rejected for being “out-of-scope”. Following a second vulnerability found by the same user, Valve apologized and patched them both, and expanded the program’s rules to accept any other similar problems in the future.
The Anti-Defamation League published a report that stated the Steam Community platform harbors hateful content in April Since November , Steam has allowed for users to review their purchased games and organize them into categories set by the user and add to favorite lists for quick access. The Steam interface allows for user-defined shortcuts to be added. In this way, third-party modifications and games not purchased through the Steam Store can use Steam features.
Valve sponsors and distributes some modifications free of charge;  and modifications that use Steamworks can also use VAC, Friends, the server browser, and any Steam features supported by their parent game.
For most games launched from Steam, the client provides an in-game overlay that can be accessed by a keystroke.
From the overlay, the user can access his or her Steam Community lists and participate in chat, manage selected Steam settings, and access a built-in web browser without having to exit the game. As a full version on February 24, , this feature was reimplemented so that users could share screenshots on websites of Facebook , Twitter , and Reddit straight from a user’s screenshot manager. Steam’s “Big Picture” mode was announced in ;  public betas started in September and were integrated into the software in December Newell stated that Big Picture mode was a step towards a dedicated Steam entertainment hardware unit.
In , Valve announced Steam for Schools, a free function-limited version of the Steam client for schools. It was released alongside free versions of Portal 2 and a standalone program called “Puzzle Maker” that allowed teachers and students to create and manipulate levels.
It featured additional authentication security that allowed teachers to share and distribute content via a Steam Workshop-type interface, but blocks access from students. In-Home Streaming was introduced in May ; it allows users to stream games installed on one computer to another—regardless of platform—on the same home network with low latency.
The Steam client, as part of a social network service , allows users to identify friends and join groups using the Steam Community feature. Users can participate in forums hosted by Valve to discuss Steam games. Each user has a unique page that shows his or her groups and friends, game library including earned achievements, game wishlists, and other social features; users can choose to keep this information private.
Using them, players can trade with other Steam users on the Steam community Marketplace and use them to craft “Badges”, which grant rewards such as game discount coupons, emoticons, and the ability to customize their user profile page. This requirement can be fulfilled by making any purchase of five dollars or more on Steam, or by adding at the same amount to their wallet. Through Steamworks, Steam provides a means of server browsing for multiplayer games that use the Steam Community features, allowing users to create lobbies with friends or members of common groups.
Steamworks also provides Valve Anti-Cheat VAC , Valve’s proprietary anti-cheat system; game servers automatically detect and report users who are using cheats in online, multiplayer games. In September , Steam Music was added to the Steam client, allowing users to play through music stored on their computer or to stream from a locally networked computer directly in Steam. A major visual overhaul of the Library and game profile pages were released in October Associated with that, Valve gave developers means of communicating when special in-game events are approaching through Steam Events, which appear to players on the revamped Library and game profile pages.
Valve provides developers the ability to create storefront pages for games ahead of time to help generate interest in their game ahead of release. Valve offers Steamworks, an application programming interface API that provides development and publishing tools to take advantage of Steam client’s features, free-of-charge to game and software developers. The API also provides anti-cheating devices and digital copy management.
Developers of software available on Steam are able to track sales of their games through the Steam store. In February , Valve announced that it would begin to allow developers to set up their own sales for their games independent of any sales that Valve may set.
Steam conducts and partially publishes a monthly opt-in hardware and software survey since and Valve added the ability for developers to sell games under an early access model with a special section of the Steam store, starting in March This program allows for developers to release functional, but not finished, products such as beta versions to the service to allow users to buy the games and help provide testing and feedback towards the final production.
Early access also helps to provide funding to the developers to help complete their games. Developers are able to request Steam keys of their products to use as they see fit, such as to give away in promotions, to provide to selected users for review, or to give to key resellers for different profitization. Valve generally honors all such requests, but clarified that they would evaluate some requests to avoid giving keys to games or other offerings that are designed to manipulate the Steam storefront and other features.
For example, Valve said that a request for , keys for a game that has significantly negative reviews and 1, sales on Steam is unlikely to be granted. Valve enabled the ability for multiple developers to create bundles of games from their offerings without the need for Valve’s staff to create these on their behalf in June The Steam Workshop is a Steam account-based hosting service for videogame user-created content.
Depending on the title, new levels, art assets, gameplay modifications, or other content may be published to or installed from the Steam Workshop through an automated, online account-based process.
The Workshop was originally used for distribution of new items for Team Fortress 2 ;  it was redesigned to extend support for any game in early , including modifications for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
SteamVR is a virtual reality hardware and software platform developed by Valve, with a focus on allowing “room-scale” experiences using positional tracking base stations, as opposed to those requiring the player to stay in a singular location. Up until , Valve would handpick games to be included onto the Steam service, limiting these to games that either had a major developer supporting them, or smaller studios with proven track records for Valve’s purposes.
Since then, Valve have sought ways to enable more games to be offered through Steam, while pulling away from manually approving games for the service, short of validating that a game runs on the platforms the publisher had indicated. Valve announced Steam Greenlight to streamline game addition to the service in July and released the following month. Developers were able to submit information about their games, as well as early builds or beta versions, for consideration by users.
Users would pledge support for these games, and Valve would help to make top-pledged games available on the Steam service. Those fees were donated to the charity Child’s Play. The initial process offered by Greenlight was panned by developers because while they favored the concept, the rate of games that were eventually approved were small.
Steam Greenlight was phased out and replaced with Steam Direct in June Once they apply, a developer must wait thirty days before publishing the game as to give Valve the ability to review the game to make sure it is “configured correctly, matches the description provided on the store page, and doesn’t contain malicious content”. Valve anticipated that the volume of new games added to the service would further increase with Direct in place.
Without more direct interaction on the curation process, allowing hundreds more games on the service, Valve had looked to find methods to allow players to find games they would be more likely to buy based on previous purchase patterns.
Curators can set up descriptors for the type of games they are interested in, preferred languages, and other tags along with social media profiles, while developers can find and reach out to specific curators from this information, and, after review, provide them directly with access to their game.
This step, which eliminates the use of a Steam redemption key, is aimed to reduce the reselling of keys, as well as dissuade users that may be trying to game the curator system to obtain free game keys.
Valve has attempted to deal with “fake games”, those that are built around reused assets and little other innovation, designed to misuse Steam’s features for the benefit only to the developer or select few users. To help assist finding and removing these games from the service, the company added Steam Explorers atop its existing Steam Curator program, according to various YouTube personalities that have spoken out about such games in the past and with Valve directly, including Jim Sterling and TotalBiscuit.
Any Steam user is able to sign up to be an Explorer, and are asked to look at under-performing games on the service as to either vouch that the game is truly original and simply lost among other releases, or if it is an example of a “fake game”, at which point Valve can take action to remove the game.
In July , the Steam Labs feature was introduced as a means of Valve to showcase experimental discovery features they have considered for including into Steam, but seek public feedback to see if it is something that users want before fully integrating that into the storefront.
For example, an initial experiment released at launch was the Interactive Recommender, which uses artificial intelligence algorithms pulling data from the user’s past gameplay history, comparing it to all other users, as to suggest new games that may be of interest to them. The September Discovery update, which Valve claimed would improve the visibility of niche and lesser-known games, was met with criticism from some indie game developers, who recorded a significant drop in exposure of their games, including new wishlist additions and appearances in the “More Like This” and “Discovery queue” sections of the store.
In June , Valve created a formal process to allow purchasers to request full refunds on games they had purchased on Steam for any reason, with refunds guaranteed within the first two weeks as long as the player had not spent more than two hours in the game. For example, the Steam version of From Dust was originally stated to have a single, post-installation online DRM check with its publisher Ubisoft, but the released version of the game required a DRM check with Ubisoft’s servers each time it was used.
At the request of Ubisoft, Valve offered refunds to customers who bought the game while Ubisoft worked to release a patch that would remove the DRM check altogether. Though the developers Hammerpoint Interactive altered the description after launch to reflect the current state of the game software, Valve removed the title from Steam and offered refunds to those who had bought it.
Valve has full authority to remove games from the service for various reasons; however games that are removed can still be downloaded and played by those that have already purchased these games. With the launch of Steam Direct, effectively removing any curation of games by Valve prior to being published on Steam, there have been several incidents of published games that have attempted to mislead Steam users.
Starting in June , Valve has taken actions against games and developers that are ” trolling ” the system; in September , Valve explicitly defined that trolls on Steam “aren’t actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone” and instead use “game shaped object” that could be considered a video game but would not be considered “good” by a near-unanimity of users.
In addition to removing bad actors from the service, Valve has also taken steps to reduce the impact of “fake games” and their misuse on the service. In May , Valve identified that there were several games on the service with trading card support, where the developer distributed game codes to thousands of bot-operated accounts that would run the game to earn trading cards that they could then sell for profit; these games would also create false positives that make these games appear more popular than they really were and would impact games suggested to legitimate players through their store algorithms, affecting Steam’s Discovery algorithms.
Subsequent to this patch, games must reach some type of confidence factor based on actual playtime before they can generate trading cards, with players credited for their time played towards receiving trading cards before this metric is met. Valve plans to use the same approach and algorithms to identify these types of games, limiting these games to only one thousand total achievements and discounting these achievements towards a user’s statistics.
Other actions taken by developers against the terms of service or other policies have prompted Valve to remove games. Valve has also removed or threatened to remove games due to inappropriate or mature content, though there was often confusion as to what material qualified for this, such as a number of mature, but non-pornographic visual novels being threatened.
For example, Eek Games’ House Party included scenes of nudity and sexual encounters in its original release, which drew criticism from conservative religious organization National Center on Sexual Exploitation , leading Valve to remove the title from the service.
Eek Games were later able to satisfy Valve’s standards by including censor bars within the game and allowing the game to be readded to Steam, though offered a patch on their website to remove the bars. However, Valve later rescinded its orders, allowing these games to remain and telling the developers Valve would re-evaluate the games and inform them of any content that would need to be changed or removed.
In June , Valve clarified its policy on content, taking a more hands-off approach rather than deem what content is inappropriate, outside of illegal material. Rather than trying to make decisions themselves on what content is appropriate, Valve enhanced its filtering system to allow developers and publishers to indicate and justify the types of mature content including violence, nudity, and sexual content in their games.
Users can block games that are marked with this type of content from appearing in the store, and if they have not blocked it, they are presented with the description given by the developer or publisher before they can continue to the store page. Developers and publishers with existing games on Steam have been strongly encouraged to complete these forms for these games, while Valve will use moderators to make sure new games are appropriately marked.
Until these tools were in place, some adult-themed games were delayed for release. Dharker noted that in discussions with Valve that they would be liable for any content-related fines or penalties that countries may place on Valve, a clause of their publishing contract for Steam, and took steps to restrict sale of the game in over 20 regions.
In March , Valve faced pressure over Rape Day , a planned game described as being a dark comedy and power fantasy where the player would control a serial rapist in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Journalists questioned how the hands-off approach would handle this case; Valve ultimately decided against offering the game on Steam, arguing that while it “[respects] developers’ desire to express themselves”, there were “costs and risks” associated with the game’s content, and the developers had “chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them [find an audience]”.
Steam originally released exclusively for Microsoft Windows in , but has since been ported to other platforms. Steam on Windows also relies on some security features built into later versions of Windows. Steam support for XP and Vista were dropped in While users still on those operating systems are able to use the client, they do not have access to newer features.
Around only 0. Steam for Mac OS X was originally planned for release in April ; but was pushed back to May 12, , following a beta period. In addition to the Steam client, several features were made available to developers, allowing them to take advantage of the cross-platform Source engine, and platform and network capabilities using Steamworks. Some third-party games may require the user to re-purchase them to gain access to the cross-platform functionality. Valve announced in July that it was developing a Steam client for Linux and modifying the Source engine to work natively on Linux, based on the Ubuntu distribution.
The team developing the Linux client had been working for a year before the announcement to validate that such a port would be possible. From there, it began working on porting other games to Ubuntu and expanding to other Linux distributions.
In August , Valve released a beta version of Proton , an open-source Windows compatibility layer for Linux, so that Linux users could run Windows games directly through Steam for Linux, removing the need to install the Windows version of Steam in Wine. The software allows the use of Steam-supported controllers, even those not compatible with Windows.
This included working with various anti-cheat developers such as Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye to make sure their solutions worked with Proton. Support for Nvidia ‘s proprietary deep learning super sampling DLSS on supported video cards and games was added to Proton in June , though this will not be available on the Steam Deck which is based on AMD hardware. It would provide automatic updates, community support, downloadable content and other unannounced features.
Several features—including cross-platform play and instant messaging , Steam Cloud for saved games, and the ability for PS3 owners to download Portal 2 from Steam Windows and Mac at no extra cost—were offered.
The Xbox does not have support for Steamworks. Newell said that they would have liked to bring the service to the console through the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive , which would have allowed Valve to provide the same feature set that it did for the PlayStation 3,  but later said that cross-platform play would not be present in the final version of the game.
Valve’s Erik Johnson stated that Microsoft required new content on the console to be certified and validated before distribution, which would limit the usefulness of Steamworks’ delivery approach.
Valve released an official Steam client for iOS and Android devices in late January , following a short beta period. The application also incorporates a two-factor authentication system that works with Steam Guard, further enhancing the security of a user’s account. Newell stated that the application was a strong request from Steam users and sees it as a means “to make [Steam] richer and more accessible for everyone”.
On May 14, , a “Steam Link” app with remote play features was released in beta to allow users to stream games to Android phones, named after discontinued set-top box Steam Link. Prior to , industry analysts believed that Valve was developing hardware and tuning features of Steam with apparent use on its own hardware.
These computers were pre-emptively dubbed as “Steam Boxes” by the gaming community and expected to be a dedicated machine focused upon Steam functionality and maintaining the core functionality of a traditional video game console. That was discontinued in , but now “Steam Link” refers to the Remote Play mobile app that allows users to stream content, such as games, from a PC to a mobile device over a network. Valve released the Steam Deck , a handheld gaming computer running an updated version of SteamOS , with initial shipments starting on February 25, In March , Google offered a prerelease version of Steam on Chromebooks.
Valve included beta support for Steam Cloud Play in May for developers to allow users to play games in their library which developers and publishers have opted to allow in a cloud gaming service. At launch, Steam Cloud Play only worked through Nvidia’s GeForce Now service and would link up to other cloud services in the future though whether Valve would run its own cloud gaming service was unclear.
China has strict regulations on video games and Internet use ; however, access to Steam is allowed through China’s governmental firewalls. Currently, a large portion of Steam users are from China. Following a Chinese government-ordered temporary block of many of Steam’s functions in December ,  Valve and Perfect World announced they would help to provide an officially sanctioned version of Steam that meets Chinese Internet requirements.
Perfect World has worked with Valve before to help bring Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to the country through approved government processes. It was made to comply with China’s strict regulations on video games , featuring only those that have passed approval by their government. On 25 December , reports emerged that Steam’s global service was the target of a domain name system attack that prevented users in China from accessing its site.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology MIIT later confirmed that Chinese gamers would no longer be able to use Steam’s global service as its international domain name has been designated as “illegal” due to “illicit activities” which were unspecified.
The block has effectively locked all Chinese users out of games they had purchased through Steam’s international service, and that they would only be able to go through Steam’s China-specific application. Valve reported that there were million active accounts on Steam by the end of Valve also considers the concurrent user count a key indicator of the success of the platform, reflecting how many accounts were logged into Steam at the same time.
By August , Valve reported that they saw a peak of 14 million concurrent players, up from 8. Steam has grown from seven games in to over 30, by , with additional non-gaming products, such as creation software, DLC, and videos, numbering over 20, Though Steam provides direct sales data to a game’s developer and publisher, it does not provide any public sales data or provide such data to third-party sales groups like NPD Group.
In , Valve’s Jason Holtman stated that the company felt that such sales data was outdated for a digital market, since such data, used in aggregate from other sources, could lead to inaccurate conclusions. Developers and publishers have expressed the need to have some metrics of sales for games on Steam, as this allows them to judge the potential success of a title by reviewing how similar games had performed.
This led to the creation of algorithms that worked on publicly available data through user profiles to estimate sales data with some accuracy, which led to the creation of the website Steam Spy in The change broke the method Steam Spy had collected data, rendering it unusable. Some have asserted that Valve used the GDPR change as a means to block methods of estimating sales data,  though Valve has since promised to provide tools to developers to help gain such insights that they say will be more accurate than Steam Spy was.
Steam’s customer service has been highly criticized, with users citing poor response times or lack of response in regards to problems such as being locked out of one’s library or having a non-working game redemption key. In March , Valve had been given a failing “F” grade from the Better Business Bureau due to a large number of complaints in Valve’s handling of Steam, leading Valve’s Erik Johnson to state that “we don’t feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now”.
Of those, requests for refunds were the largest segment, and which Valve could resolve within hours, followed by account security and recovery requests. Greenlight expanded this to about 70 per week, and which doubled to per week following the introduction of Direct.
Following the launch of Steam Direct, allowing games to be published without Valve’s curation, members of the video game industry were split on Valve’s hands-off approach. Some praised Valve in favoring to avoid trying to be a moral adjudicator of content and letting consumers decide what content they want to see, while others felt that this would encourage some developers to publish games on Steam that are purposely hateful or degenerate of some social classes, like LGBTQ , and that Valve’s reliance on user filters and algorithms may not succeed in blocking undesirable content from certain users.
Some further criticized the decision based on the financial gain from avoid blocking any game content, as Valve collects a cut from sales through Steam. Steam was estimated to have the largest share in the PC digital distribution market in the s.
Competitors emerged with Games for Windows — Live in and Impulse in , both of which were shut down in and , respectively. They purported that having such a percentage of the overall market can be detrimental to the industry and that sector competition would yield positive results for consumers.
Because of Valve’s oversight of sales data, estimates of how much of a market share Steam has in the video game market is difficult to compile. Steam’s predominance in the gaming market has led to Valve becoming involved in various legal cases.
In December , the French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir initiated a lawsuit against Valve for several of their Steam policies that conflict or run afoul of French law, including the restriction against reselling of purchased games , which is legal in the European Union. The decision is primarily based on the court’s findings that Steam sells licenses to software titles, despite Valve’s claim that they were selling subscriptions, which are not covered by the Directives.
The company stated that it would appeal the decision. In August , BT Group filed a lawsuit against Valve stating that Steam’s client infringes on four of their patents, which they stated were used within Steam’s Library, Chat, Messaging, and Broadcasting services.
In , the European Commission began investigating Valve and five other publishers— Bandai Namco Entertainment , Capcom , Focus Home Interactive , Koch Media and ZeniMax Media —for anti-competitive practices, specifically the use of geo-blocking through the Steam storefront and Steam product keys to prevent access to software to citizens of certain countries within the European Economic Area.
A January class-action lawsuit filed against Valve asserted that the company forced developers into entering a ” most favored nation “-type of pricing contract to offer games on their storefront, which required the developers to price their games the same on other platforms as they did on Steam, thus stifling competition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Video game service. List of languages. Content delivery Digital rights management Social network service Video streaming service.
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