Valve makes 30% on the majority of the games and micro transactions they sell. On top of that, they have their own line of games like Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2 that will forever make them money in micro transactions. They will not be closing down anytime soon if ever. They have a strong foothold on the online marketplace. In fact Steam is the mountain other online stores and game developers get a foothold on to make money.
But what would happen to our Steam games if Steam and Valve closed down? What if there just was no more Steam someone asked, what would happen to our games? We would all still have Steam on our computers. Steam has an offline mode that we can all play games offline. The only problem is that after 30 days we need to log into Steam. If there were no more Steam servers, we couldn’t log in. Nor could we download games that we own that are not on our hard drives. Our games would cease to function.
If our games cease to function, then the patches would come out in droves. Either official or unofficial patches for the games we already have on our computers. These patches would make them work without Steam. Official patches from developers would probably make them work as long as Steam is open. Unofficial patches would just be similar to piracy. There is already piracy to circumvent digital rights management, so why not use it for the games we’d already own?
Competitors like Origin, or UPlay may even honor Steam games simply to get you to jump to their service. After all, every time you want to play a game that you own, is just another chance for them to sell you a new game and make 30%. Perhaps if there was no Valve or Steam anymore, that would mean that they’ve been ultimately bought out by some other company. However, when you’ve got something that just prints money, why would you ever sell it?
If Valve can’t be bought, there’s the thought of the nuclear apocalypse at the headquarters. The secret gnome powered nuclear reactor could melt down destroying all of Valve. While their servers are located all around the world, without the head and money, would the servers continue to function? Its all outlandish speculation.
If Valve went defunct, would we all run to Origin for our top tier $60 games and head to Desura for our budget indie titles?
Not just that, but what would happen to our progress and game saves? Progress and game saves can be copied and pasted. For the most part they’re stored on your computer. There are a few games with cloud synchronization, but they’re still on the computer. Multiplayer stats would most likely be lost. Along with all leader board standings. Some games have their own private leaderboards outside of Steam servers, but there are some that host them on Steam.
Not having leader boards is the least bad part about not having Steam or Valve. The games are for the most part online multiplayer. The infrastructure of Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike, DOTA 2, Day of Defeat, Left 4 Dead and Portal 2 would collapse with other games that use Steam user names. Some games like Battle Nations allow you to either make an account with them or use your Steam account as a guest pass. All information stored with that account name. No account, no save data.
The achievements would be tricky. Steam keeps track of the achievements. I’ve played and achieved several things offline only to have them count, but Steam never recognized them. Some games recorded achievements once I logged back into Steam and played the game. Other games like Tropico 4 have their own achievements sytem that notify private servers and then those servers notify Steam. Those would not be changed. Still other games like FTL have their own in game servers that don’t even use Steam itself.
There are also people that supposedly make a living playing games. Traders in Team Fortress 2, big money tournaments in DOTA 2 and CS:GO and even Youtubers that would suddenly be out of what they consider a career. While personally, I don’t care about them, that would affect their lives for more than just entertainment like the rest of us. Youtubers would just make money elsewhere. Tournament players would just drift over to League of Legends. Pro traders would maybe end up in games like EVE Online, Runescape or World of Warcraft.
I have put all of my marbles into Steam. I own more than 1,000 games. If Steam collapses and is no more, I don’t care. Its fun while it lasted. Like old Nintendo games that I still own, but haven’t played for 25 years.