Some may argue that Steam
has a monopoly on the digital distribution of PC games, and while it is obviously the most well-known outlet for acquiring new titles without getting a physical disc, we can't help but say that our experience with the program has been great. There are obviously a lot of others out there feeling the same way, as the service has grown 200% (up to 25 million users) over the past year, with 12 billion player minutes being logged per month and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month.
That kind of growth takes a toll on an infrastructure, and Valve is making sure that they are well prepared for the continue influx. As the world continues to spin and more households procure broadband Internet access, it makes sense to think that gamers would shy away from physical discs and resort to downloading their games. It's quicker, there is less hassle and it satisfies the "instant gratification" itch. That's a pretty powerful combination of positives, and the newest Steam update looks to serve the hungry gaming community.
The new version of Steam, which is available now in "Public Beta," is an opt-in process being served to all users who want it. If you already have Steam and wish to see what the Beta is all about, just enter the program and select UI Update under Beta Participation. The new look will provide users with the ability to see what games their friends have purchased from Steam (sense a social networking aspect?), and news outlets can now integrate their feeds through Steam's all-new aggregator. Try it out and see if it's better or worse -- nothing to lose!
Steam Update Announced - Public Beta Open Now
New Features Advance Leading Gaming Platform
February 23, 2010 --Valve announces a new version of Steam which is immediately available in publicbeta.
In the last 12 months, Steam has grown 200%. There are now 25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month. To accommodate this growth, a new Steam client has been created.
This opt-in beta is available immediately to all Steam users. If users already have Steam installed on their computer, they can take part in the beta by clicking this link (steam://open/settings)and then selecting "UI Update" under Beta Participation. If they don't have Steam installed, they can download it here (http://store.steampowered.com/). To preview the new Steam client without taking part in the beta, a complete rundown of the new features is available here (http://store.steampowered.com/uiupdate/).
Increasingly the most effective way of reaching new gamers is through the existing players of a game. With the new Steam release, gamers will now be able to see which games their friends have purchased directly within the Steam storefront. 25 million gamers create a highly effective and knowledgeable source of purchase suggestions.
News outlets now have the ability to reach the Steam community through the new client's News aggregator functionality. Those organizations interested can contact Doug Lombardi at email@example.com.
With users purchasing more and more games through Steam, new methods of library management were needed. The new client introduces library customization tools to help gamers sort, group,and find games in libraries which for some hardcore players contain hundreds of titles. In addition to having lots of games, gamers needed methods of tracking all of their achievements in a standardized cross-game fashion, which is now possible with the new release.
"We made hundreds of changes to the Steam client as a result of customer feedback on the interface,performance, and functionality," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development at Valve. "For example, we swapped out the Internet Explorer rendering engine with WebKit, which gives us a bunch of size, stability and performance benefits. This release of Steam leaves us well prepared for another year of strong growth."
The leading online platform for PC games and digital entertainment, Steamdelivers new releases and online services to over 25 million PC users aroundthe world. For more information, please visit steamgames.com.e, software, gaming, update, gamer