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Steam (Valve Software)
Steam is a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation for purchasing and playing video games. It was first released in 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates. However, as it grew out in features and offerings from third-party developers and publishers. It became a global giant.
Firstly the software provides a freely available application programming interface (API) called Steamworks. Therefore allows developers to integrate many of it’s functions into their products. This can include networking, matchmaking, in-game achievements, microtransactions, and support for user-created content through the Workshop.
The platform is the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming. As a result in 2013 it was believed to have 75% of the market space. By 2017, users purchasing games through Steam totaled roughly US$4.3 billion, representing at least 18% of global PC game sales. Finally in 2019, the service had over a billion registered accounts with 90 million monthly active users.
Before implementing Steam, Valve Corporation had problems updating its online games. Games such as Counter-Strike. Therefore providing patches would result in the online user base disconnecting for several days. Valve decided to create a platform that would update games automatically.