In the great span of things, there are only a few companies that come to mind when considering the breadth to which online content has flooded our homes and lives: Google, Facebook, and, for gamers the world over, Valve’s Steam.

For those of you unfamiliar with the behemoth that, for all intents and purposes, has proved their mettle in the industry to which I owe my bread and butter, let me take a second to delve briefly into the belly of the beast – if only to enlighten you and the other individuals reading this article who have made a stringent effort to negate all form of contact with the outside world: Valve is a Seattle-based software developer which you can credit for some of the most influential titles of the past decade including the Half Life series, Team Fortress series, Counter Strike series, Left 4 Dead Series, and Portal series alike. If none of the previously mentioned titles ring a bell in that prostrate noggin of yours then I heavily advise you to crawl from the decrepit state that you have forced yourself to be in for the last decade and smell the carcinogenic aroma wafting from the nearest game shop near you.

To think that Valve had already made its mark with Half Life and Counter Strike (just to name a few) at the time of their subsequent release of the online/mobile platform Steam is incredulous. I mean, what more did they have to prove? A talented development house with a number of triple-A titles under their belt all within a short span of time (in comparison to the older ones in our industry) who wished to now take their reign of supremacy to the online retail market? Crazy. Yet, here we are almost a decade later with most mainstream titles finding their way on the service due to the fact that it is so dang popular.

Personally, it wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school that I discovered the majesty that was Steam. Boy was I surprised to uncover the sleeping gem that was merely a click or two away from making its home on my hard drive. Unfortunately, the constant pestering of my close friends from high school wasn’t enough to encourage me to pick up the service. It wasn’t until the summer prior to attending my freshman year in college that I got my first laptop and fell in love with Steam. Who can honestly deny the level of awesome-ness associated with a service that gives its users incredible deals 3 to 5 times a year (deals that sometimes make no sense in terms of profit) and  still allows for the systematic proliferation of a thriving community along the same lines as Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network? No one? That’s what I thought. Sure their chat service needs some work but that is what Skype’s for, right?

This level of commitment to delivering great content to some of their most fervent fans should be acknowledged and, quite frankly, appreciated.

In short, thanks Valve and don’t let us down anytime soon.

P.S. Where is Half Life Episode 3?