Data is the new ‘Intel Inside’ – Steam


Steam is a digital distribution platform based entirely online. Developed by Valve software and released in September 2003 Steam provides millions of users around the world with a virtual store, social networking, automatic updates, cloud saving and a free VOIP service. While Steam was initially developed to provide updates to users who had purchased games developed by Valve, by 2005 other third-party games were being sold on Steam.

In 2012 the Steam Workshop and Steam Greenlight were released. The Steam Workshop allows users to create and share modified game content such as new maps or skins, while Steam Greenlight allows small game development companies to submit their game to be tested. If a game is well received on Steam Greenlight it will be added to the Steam store and sold.

Although Steam is a platform which is based entirely online it is comparable to other platforms such as Amazon an eBay.

Steam eBay Amazon
Creates and sells its own products?
Allows unregistered vendors?
Allows users to review products?
Platform for users to create content?

Steam’s strength comes from its constant updates which are making it easier for users to create, share, buy and sell their custom content. Users can also rate and comment on all pre-existing content.

Steam has managed to encourage and thrive on both explicit and implicit user participation. The most obvious being the ability to create video games or modifications for existing products. Steam also allows users to rate any content which they have purchased or used and actively encourage this with Steam Greenlight. The users decide if the games which appear on Steam Greenlight are good enough to be sold on the Steam Store.

The passive participation comes from simply buying and playing games. Steam will recommend games based on your previous purchases and on the purchases of your friends. This data is a valuable marketing tool as it allows Steam to recommend games based on the user’s personal interest.

Steam currently dominates the online games market and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future. With constant additions to the platform like Workshop and Steam Greenlight which explicitly encourage and reward users for creating and testing content, Steam is likely to remain competitive for years to come.


CDOXON. (2013, Feburary 13). eBay vs Amazon. Retrieved from cdixon

Valve. (2015). About Steam Workshop. Retrieved from Steam Community

Valve. (2015). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from Steampowered

Valve. (2015). Valve Legal Info. Retrieved from Valvesoftware

Valve. (2015). What is steam greenlight? Retrieved from Steamcommnity

Wikipedia. (2015). Retrieved from Wikipedia

Wikipedia. (2015). eBay. Retrieved from Wikipedia

Wikipedia. (2015). Steam. Retrieved from Wikipedia

Valve. (2015). The Steam Logo. Retrieved from


9 thoughts on “Data is the new ‘Intel Inside’ – Steam

  1. The steam market place is pretty interesting. Users can speculate on certain items going up or down in value, find ways to circumvent price limits for really valuable items or even use third party websites to gamble with these items. All this for digital goods that may not even affect your ability to play a game.


    1. Yeah gambling has become a big part of the community, even though it is completely legitimate it can bring a darker side to esports and the steam community. With the most recent happenings in CS:GO match fixing.
      But hey i’m a sucker for those steam holiday sales! great way for Valve to cash in on some notable (and some not so much) holidays. Also for Valve to document spending amongst its users.


  2. I agree with jimmyhegarty, with frequent content being added to some of steams premium titles such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 the steam marketplace has quickly become a legitimate way to invest in future returns. A recent example I’ve noticed is with one of the newly released knifes for Global Offensive. At it’s time of release you could purchase it off the market place for $230 US, which for a virtual good is expensive, yet the steam community is willing to purchase these virtual goods, which is why this product is now selling on the market place for over $500 US. Steam even helps promote this ‘real’ marketplace experience by providing users with key data in the form of graphs displaying purchasing patterns.


    1. This is very true, due to the size of the steam platform I did not have the word count to explain all of the specific features however the steam marketplace has been widely used by players since its implementation. As you said today using the market place almost feels like using a stock market.


  3. I find it is very interesting the way Steam has been dominating the online game marketplace. I think because they keep updating and adding new features to the platform the end result will be their service remaining popular for longer. Even with additions like SteamOS and the Steam Machines, it seems like Valve is focusing on the future of gaming instead of just focusing on the present. That is why I strongly agree with your point that Steam is likely to remain competitive for years to come.


  4. Steam has improved a lot since I was first using it. The marketplace is absolutely an attractive feature to the platform and allows user to trade their items. As a platform to hold large amount of games, Steam makes users can manage their games, and this also leads Steam to a popular game platform.


    1. Thanks Justin, Having used steam since 2003 the only reason at time time was because it was required to patch valve games. Today I feel as though valve have completely changed the appeal of steam from just a necessity to something that people actually want.


  5. Interesting post, Edward. I find it interesting the way that steam has been the leading actor in bringing the games market online. The way that they have brought the prices down and most of all made it convenient for the users means that we have come a long way in eliminating the piracy games market. I, for one, used to download games illegally, but now it’s just easier and not too expensive to buy the games through Steam. It is the same trend that we have seen with music and the introduction of Spotify and similar streaming services, and the film and TV industry is also getting there with services like Netflix. To me, this shows that piracy is not something you can beat with laws and legislations, you just have to up your game and give the customers more value.


  6. Great post Edward. I was drawn to the table as I scrolled through your blog page and had to click on the post!

    I am a long time user of Steam and I agree that it adheres to many of the principles set forth for an ideal Web application. In particular, the content on the Greenlight Store by principle is unique; this value cannot be underestimated when considering maximising strategic value of data, providing users with access to data exclusive to its own platform.

    Also, great referencing at the end!


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