Software You Should Have: Steam
Platform: Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS (Store and Friends List Version)
Download it from Here: http://store.steampowered.com/
Cost: Free (You have to pay for the games though Dummy!)
“Video Games” now there is a popular idea. Whilst the console giants battle it out generation after generation, there is one platform that is always changing and evolving thanks to the ability to open up the guts and tinker inside of it and no it is isn’t the Ouya. What I am talking about is the PC (Personal Computer). Whilst there are probably thousands if not millions of downloadable game storefronts on the internet the one which is arguably most popular is Valve Corporation’s Steam and this will be the focus of this weeks article.
This is quite a hard one to write about, due the fact I think everyone who would read this article already has the software in question so instead of going into deep detail about every aspect of why its awesome I going to just say the few key features that I think make it awesome. Awesome.
Obviously being a digital game store, the goods they should have a lot of is, well, games. Steam has hundreds and hundreds of titles to choose from soon as you register with them and they all differ from the latest Triple-A release Call of Duty to a small indie release like McPixel. Something that separates Steam from the PSN and Xbox stores however is the sales that they throw. These include “Daily Deals”, “Midweek Madness” and even massive seasonal sales and really are consumer friendly to the wallets. They also have the Greenlight program where indie games can submit their games for a chance to be in the store and make some of that Steam dollah’. Ultimately though this just means good games for all.
Buy Once Play Anywhere
Recently Steam has made a big push to try and be independent of the Windows OS and to help ease the pain of this when you purchase a game one platform it will be available on the other (on the condition it is available on that platform). I know this does not sound like a big deal but for people that have portable Mac and a full windows desktop this features really come in handy especially with cross-platform compatible cloud saves at no extra cost too.
The Steam Overlay
Not only can you play Steam games in the software but also you can add “Non-Steam Games” to your library which helps massively if you have a big friends list. The Overlay is as simple pressing the Xbox or PS button (in reality it is two buttons on the keyboard Shift+Tab) still simple though. This essentially opens up a portal to the internet, showing you achievements, friends that are online, guides to help you through the game, your game time and discussion going on in the community right now. So from all accounts it is a tad more useful than the Playstation and Xbox overlay.
Big Picture Mode
The Big Picture Mode is for those who want to connect their PC up to their television. With lots of games in the Steam library now available to work with a controller it makes sense that some people would want to hook their machines to their television. To make it easier for you to launch a game without a mouse and keyboard Steam created “Big Picture” which essentially is a full screen, television and controller friendly version of itself. Pretty cool if you ask me!
Thanks for reading this week’s very bizarre “Software You Should Have”. Not sure what next weeks will be yet. Until then however, Keep it Geekily.
Note: Header Image by TheGreatJug.