Steam just turned 20, and Valve is celebrating with a sale

Shawn Knight

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Staff member
What just happened? It's been 20 years since Valve launched Steam, the (initially controversial) digital distribution service that would eventually become the de facto PC gaming platform. Valve is celebrating with a look back at some of the biggest moments from the past two decades and of course, a sale.

Steam arrived on September 12, 2003, a little over a month after the launch of MySpace and just before Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California, as a way to more easily deliver Valve game updates. It would be another year before Valve's seminal first-person shooter, Half-Life 2, launched on the platform, arriving in the same year as Facebook and the iconic Motorola Razr.

Interested parties can complete the walk down memory lane over on Steam, but let's get to the sale, shall we?

Several memorable Valve games are heavily discounted for a limited time, and the price cuts are palpable. Most Half-Life games are marked down by 90 percent, as is Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike, and Counter-Strike: Source. Half-Life: Alyx is a notable exception, but it is still 66 percent off as part of the sale, bringing it down to $20.39.

Some non-Valve games are also on offer with substantial markdowns including Mass Effect Legendary Edition at 80 percent off, 75 percent off Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Tekken 7, and 89 percent off Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Platinum edition can be yours for $15.12 after a 91 percent instant discount and one of my all-time favorites, Terraria, is down to $4.99 after you take half off.

It also just so happens that Activision is celebrating 20 years of Call of Duty with deals of their own. For a limited time, you can score up to 67 percent off select CoD games including Black Ops II and Black Ops III, Infinite Warfare, and Ghosts, and half off titles like Vanguard, the original Black Ops, Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered, and the very first CoD.

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I remember when Steam first came out. It was crap, servers could never handle the load and things were always a problem. I bought HL2, but on CD/DVD because I didn't want to deal with the Steam issues at the time. After a few years they got all the bugs out and it was pretty solid, this because of the ease of installing and maintaining game updates, combined with some decent pricing and sales, it took off and became the benchmark.

A competitor later came out, Origin by EA... it was crap as well, and took them a few years to get the bugs out then it finally worked decent. Then, JUST when they got it working well and we were enjoying a solid game, they abandoned it and gave us this EA App crap. It is still buggy and I have issues launching Battlefield 3 and 4 with it. Very frustrating that we can't just keep using Origin since it was working fine.

EA and Valve have very different philosophies when it comes to selling and distributing games. While I enjoyed the games DICE made, the publisher ruined the experience everywhere they could, it seemed. Valve was always open minded, providing modding capabilities and once they got something working they didn't touch it. Steam has been pretty much the same for 20 years, very little has changed. Sure it is boring and stagnant now, but it works, and good sales continues to generate revenue for them. I understand the hate for the cut they take on third party games they sell, but damn the platform has been solid I think.
Depending on your needs.

I find it awful, but that's because it doesn't fit my needs. Others find it useful and love it.
exactly. I have never used Steam or any other service or launcher, I have not found any of them useful, rather useless. annoying, and completely unnecessary, and I've played every game I've wanted in the last 30 years. Of course, for a good part of the players/users it is an "ease", they are not about making things work by themselves. gamming has been "democratized" a lot for years
Depending on your needs.

I find it awful, but that's because it doesn't fit my needs. Others find it useful and love it.
I like mods. I play shitty games that have a lot of mods. And Steam has reviews. Other platforms don't, and I know exactly why.