Building Steam: Digital system earns high marks

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management (DRM) system developed by Valve Corp. that is both multi-player and cross-platform.
  One of the advantages of purchasing games digitally through the Steam Store ( is that purchases can be played on any computer that has the Steam client installed. Software purchases are permanently tied to your Steam account, not a specific computer.
  I don't know how many times I've lost or damaged game discs or misplaced licensing documentation for games that I had previously purchased. With Steam, those potential problems are no longer an issue. Just download and install the Steam Client, enter your account credentials and you have full access to your library of purchased games.
  If the game software is ever updated or patched, it is automatically updated by Steam the next time you launch the game.
  As of July, there were more than 1,300 games and more than 30 million active user accounts, according to Valve Corp. figures. Impulse, a competing game distribution platform owned by GameStop Corp., estimates that Steam has a 70 percent share of the digital distribution market for video games.
  Another innovative feature that I've really come to appreciate about Steam is called Steam Play. This feature allows cross-platform (PC/Mac) play for one price on titles that support it. Buy a Steam Play title on either PC or Mac and you can download a version that will work on the other platform — for free.
  Currently, Mac titles on Steam are a fraction of the available PC titles, but the Mac library is growing, with many of the recently released titles supporting Steam Play. As a former PC user who recently made the move to Mac, I appreciate that I can play some of my previously purchased software without having to buy them again for Mac.
  Titles that support Steam Play will receive top consideration in my future game purchases.
  Another hot feature of Steam is its featured games list. I try to make a few minutes every day to browse through the Steam featured games list to check out the available titles, many of which are heavily discounted for a limited time.
  Steam has so much to offer the PC and Mac gamer, I'm only scratching the surface. Steam has also released a limited selection that is part of its “free to play” (F2P) service. The launch titles for the F2P service include "Spiral Knights," "Forsaken Worlds," "Champions Online: Free for All," "Global Agenda: Free Agent," "Alliance of Valiant Arms" (AVA) and "Team Fortress 2” (TF2), all of which are available now.
  These games are free to download and play but offer additional bonus items available for in-game purchase, similar to the system implemented in many Android and iOS games.
  For console gamers, the release of "Portal 2” on Playstation 3 marked the introduction of Steamworks for consoles, which also features Steam Play cross-platform features. Valve is hoping to expand its future console Steam Play titles, but only Valve's "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" for PS3 has been announced at this time.

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