How Does Steam Work?

By Tiffany Ameh

Steam touts itself as the ultimate online game platform, where users can download from a selection of more than 1,100 games for the PC and Mac. Developed by Valve Corporation, Steam allows you to purchase games, keep them organized, chat with other gamers and stay up to date on the latest happenings in the game industry. Best of all, the service is free to use. You just have to download the client to your computer and you're good to go.

How It Works

To use Steam, go to the Steam website (steampowered.com) and download the client if you haven't already. Go to the “Store” section and type in the name of a game or browse games by genre. There are games in the under $5 and under $10 categories while some are free to play. Click on a game to download and follow the instructions. During the download, you'll be directed to a page with the terms and conditions of the download, such as re-downloading the game if it doesn't work the first time and requesting refunds.

Community

The Steam community consists of millions of PC game players who interact with each other via the organized groups, chats, hosted matches and more. You can create your own Steam profile and locate your friends' profiles as well. There's also a Steam forum where members can post comments.

Steam Videos and Demos

Steam Videos is where you can see video previews and trailers of new games. Try out a preview of newly released games in the Demos section.

System Requirements

Steam recommends Windows XP or later for PCs and OS X version Leopard 10.5.8 or Snow Leopard 10.6.3 or later for Macs The computer should have 512 MB of RAM, 1 GB hard disk space, a broadband connection and a two-button mouse if available.