This decision was met with concerns about software ownership, software requirements, and issues with overloaded servers demonstrated previously by the Counter-Strike rollout.and Valve announced that Steam had become profitable because of some highly successful Valve games.Canadian publisher Strategy First announced in December 2005 that it would partner with Valve for digital distribution of current and future titles.Valve's Half-Life 2 was the first game to require installation of the Steam client to play, even for retail copies.The steam battlestaff or mystic steam staff provide an unlimited amount of these runes when equipped.
The software provides a freely available application programming interface (API) called Steamworks, which developers can use to integrate many of Steam's functions into their products, including networking, matchmaking, in-game achievements, micro-transactions, and support for user-created content through Steam Workshop.
Although digital distribution could not yet match retail volume, profit margins for Valve and developers were far larger on Steam.
Since 2007, Valve has continued to expand Steam's functionality and services for consumers and developers.
The Steam platform is the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming, estimated in 2013 to have 75% of the market space.
By early 2018, the service had over 150 million registered accounts with a peak of 18.5 million concurrent users online.
The success of the Steam platform has led to the development of a line of Steam Machine microconsoles, as well as the Steam OS operating system.