80,000–300,000 gamers tested the system when it was in its beta period.
Around that time, Valve began negotiating contracts with several publishers and independent developers to release their products, including Rag Doll Kung Fu and Darwinia, on Steam.
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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.
Steam provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.
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.
The Steam platform is considered to be the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming, and was estimated by Screen Digest to have 75% of the market space in October 2013.