Steam launched on September 12, 2003, and back then the PC distribution network was something different than it is today. Because it was downright hated because it had a reputation as a copyright measure. 20 years later things are different and Steam is celebrating its anniversary – with memes, among other things.
20 years ago Steam was viewed differently
Nowadays, Steam is undisputedly the platform for games. But that was anything but the case in the early days. In 2003, digital games were at best a curiosity; we still bought games on data storage media, whereas Steam was considered DRM. No wonder, after all, the concept was: You had to register a game on a special manufacturer portal and generally couldn’t play at all without an internet connection.
From today’s perspective, this is almost unthinkable; almost the entire gaming business is now based on downloads and digital stores. Steam itself is now looking back on 20 years with the help of memes. For each year of its history, Valve had Claire Hummel create an illustration that highlights a game from that year.
Valve also provides the story behind this game on the corresponding page on Steam. This begins with Counter-Strike: Condition Zero in March 2004 and a little later Half-Life 2. A particularly important year was 2007 because that year Valve released The Orange Box, which included Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2: Episode 2.
On the anniversary page, you can also find numerous games from the respective year, many of which are discounted in light of the 20th birthday, sometimes by up to 90 percent. The top games of the respective year are heavily discounted accordingly.
Nowadays, of course, Steam doesn’t want to know anything about the carefully worded, bumpy beginnings and writes: “Steam’s success is a direct result of the players and developers around the world who use it.”
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