Valve have produced a teensy digital booklet about the history of Steam and the Steam Deck as they prepare to introduce it to potential customers in the Asia-Pacific region. The 50-ish-page guide to everything Steam Deck also features a rundown of Valve’s relatively short history of manufacturing hardware such as the Steam Link and Steam Controller, and the Valve Index VR headset.
You can read the digital version of the Steam Deck booklet in English here, but it’s also been translated into Japanese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. It’s an interesting potted history of Steam, the Deck and Valve in general. However, when the RPS team was discussing the booklet this morning, Alice0 had a rummage in her files and managed to find Valve’s very first press release about Steam from way back when the storefront was first announced at 2002’s GDC. In it, Valve detailed how they envisaged it working for PC owners, and aww, it's all quite quaint in 2022:
WHAT CAN STEAM DO?
Once you've installed Steam, all of the following features are available on your desktop and while you're playing Steam games.
EASY AND FAST ACCESS TO GAMES
After installing Steam, you'll have instant access to Valve's full library of games. And when you choose one to play, you don't have to wait for the whole thing to download -- you can start playing in a matter of minutes.
Say goodbye to game patches forever--they're a thing of the past. Steam will keep all of its games up-to-date for as long as you want to keep playing them. No more hunting for download sites just to get up and running!
INSTANT MESSAGING, EVEN IN GAME
Keep in touch with your buddies through "Friends," Steam's instant-messenger. It even works while you or your friends are playing games -- you don't have to stop playing to communicate.
SERVER BROWSER - FIND YOUR FRIENDS' GAMES
Now it's incredibly easy to find a quality game server -- one that's fast, that's running your favorite game, and even one that has your friends already playing on it.
Maybe you're dodging your homework. Maybe you're just bored while waiting for another turn in Counter-Strike. Either way -- why not enjoy a nice game of Chess? Or Checkers? Or Go? Or Hearts... Or....
Ah, memories. Fast forward to 2022, and the Steam Deck booklet gives a similar potted history of the storefront, but also just seems like a lovely little artefact of gaming in and of itself. I still treasure some of the cover-mounted booklets that games magazines used to come with, such as CVG’s The Complete History Of Computer And Video Games. You can read that here by the way. I can imagine if I’d got hold of a copy of the Steam Deck booklet as a kid I’d be dreaming for months about somehow affording the hardware.
If you happen to be passing by Tokyo Game Show next month then you might be able to grab a copy of the Steam Deck booklet at Valve’s booth there. Then, when we’re all hopping around inside the Metaverse’s distant cousin twenty years from now, we can all look back and wonder what books were even for.