Steam: the achievements will remain useless forever?

Steam: the achievements will remain useless forever?


Steam has been the main reference point for PC gaming for years now. Since this is the most popular digital video game distribution platform, and also the oldest among the major exponents of the market (we are talking about a software that was released almost two decades ago), the user has now reached disproportionate numbers, composed of players from all over the globe.

Like any self-respecting service, Steam has also evolved over the years, gradually adding new features to keep the platform always fresh and full of content that they can build user loyalty, thus not only exploiting the (already mammoth) playground offered by the software, but also other features to make the offer more attractive. And today one of those features that have this purpose concerns precisely the achievements, a side of the videogame world that sees the community of players split in two, between those who adore them and those who despise them with passion.

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This is a more than legitimate doubt, especially considering two important factors, namely the fact that the software has been on the market for nearly two decades and how other digital video game distribution platforms do so. Let's analyze these two elements in detail to better understand the situation.

The evolution of Steam over the years

We are not here to talk about the entire history of Valve software, so we will a small summary. Steam was born in 2003 with the intention of gathering all the video games of the development house in one place. Over time, however, the project begins to redeem an unplanned success, and begins to welcome titles also from other companies, to become what it is today: the largest digital video game distribution platform on the entire planet.

The software, of course, in its early years was a far cry from what it is today in terms of functionality. All the features that are present now have been introduced after years and years, and in particular the achievements have seen the light in the platform since 2007. Since the day of their introduction, however, there has been no concrete news regarding this feature, which has remained among the few factors that have not yet undergone any type of update on Steam.

Steam valve And what about the achievements instead? As already mentioned, the news regarding this feature are very few. For example, a bulletin board has only recently been implemented, which can be purchased through Steam points, for your profile where you can showcase 100% completed games. About a couple of years ago, however, the total achievement counter was adjusted, excluding almost all those obtained from "achievement farming games", ie games made with the sole purpose of giving the user literally thousands of objectives simply by starting the game.

The achievement system on other distribution platforms

How is the situation for Steam's major competitors? In reality it is not very different. Let's take Epic Games as an example: the platform introduced the achievement system only last year, and a few months ago it was updated by implementing the possibility of showing them on your profile with dedicated experience and relative to the number of objectives obtained.

Although Epic Games (as a digital distribution platform) has been on the market for much less time than Valve's service, it already has something more that could further motivate users to get achievements in games. An EXP system, in fact, is much more tempting than a mere percentage of platinum titles. And let us remember that the objective system on Epic is still quite recent, so we can expect new updates in this regard in the coming months.

It is not excluded that Epic even reaches the point of offering real advantages through achievements, such as small discounts for the purchase of other products on the platform. Let's be clear, it is a very unlikely hypothesis and certainly not at all easy to implement, but never say never.

Ubisoft logo This is in fact the case of Ubisoft, publisher of some of the most renowned sagas of the gaming world such as Assassin's Creed, Rainbow Six and Far Cry. The software house, through its dedicated launcher, offers a loyalty program based on weekly challenges, which confer Units, a useful currency for obtaining bonuses in some of the titles on the platform, but also discounts on future purchases. The Ubisoft system, however, does not include achievements, at least not anymore; in fact, until a couple of years ago, it was thanks to in-game objectives that rewards could be unlocked, so users were more motivated to try and platinum a game. The program was then replaced by the one just mentioned, removing any kind of concrete usefulness from the achievements also in this case.

There are, therefore, cases in which the achievements actually conferred some kind of advantage to the player, ergo the the possibility of this happening again in the future cannot be ruled out. When it comes to the made by Valve platform, however, can we really assume that such a function will ever be introduced? The answer is more uncertain than ever.

This is why achievements on Steam could remain useless forever

Analyzing the hottest digital distribution platforms of the moment, it is impossible to compare them to Steam, not if we take into consideration the quantity of titles present on each of them. Taking those mentioned in this article, Ubisoft Connect for example currently has just over 200 games, while Epic Games exceeds 1300. And what about Valve's platform instead? At the time of writing this article, it has well over 67,000 titles, excluding other non-gaming content and DLCs (with the latter the number would exceed 100,000).

It goes without saying that the situation on Steam is decidedly much more complicated to manage. The platform is in fact the number one choice for all PC game developers, especially independent ones, and this has led the software to host a disproportionate number of titles. And creating an achievement-based loyalty system for such a disproportionate amount of video games is undoubtedly a tall order, probably downright impossible.

Such a system could have been devised when Steam hosted only the games of Valve, which are "only" about fifty and, above all, all of the same software house. Even today such a thing could only be done with this list of titles, but it would almost certainly be very inefficient for two reasons. The first is that the company has stopped devoting itself to video game development, which means that it would create a loyalty program which development would have already finished from the start. The second, however, is that these are very dated video games, which would only attract a small niche of players who do not mind recovering old pearls. There would be no modern work included in the program, which would automatically exclude a more than significant slice of users.

What if instead a loyalty program were added only for a certain category of games, such as triple A? There, too, there would be difficulties, and let's get back to the point: Steam hosts titles from practically any software house, and creating such a system could involve the involvement of a disproportionate amount of companies, which could become a rather heavy hindrance. If ever such a program really worked, then the exclusion of some qualifications would be mandatory. This is because Steam is very well known for the "achievement farming games" already mentioned in the course of this article, which would completely bust the system (even if the platform has already taken some measures in this regard, excluding this genre of games from the achievement counter. of users).

Steam valve Should we give up hope that achievements on Steam will be of any use in the future? Not necessarily. Most likely, however, creating a system on this platform that rewards users with in-game content or even discounts (therefore with an economic reward), at the moment, is more of a utopia than anything else.

In the future However, it is not excluded that the achievements may take on some kind of functionality that brings advantages, for example, to one's Steam profile. As already mentioned previously, in fact, the platform is constantly evolving and probably the most "user-friendly" on the market in terms of what it offers to the community: speaking of the objectives, in fact, it is possible to compare oneself with those of one's friends and all users of the service to compare themselves with others. The software is in fact much more than a simple container of games, and today it could be considered a full-fledged social media. It must be said that it would still be very complicated to achieve such a thing for all the reasons already listed, but it would undoubtedly be more feasible than a system that confers some sort of economic advantage.

It is therefore not difficult to imagine that even the objectives sooner or later become concretely useful for your account, although it must be said that at the moment there is not even the shadow of a clue about this. We just have to wait for any news from Valve, which after the implementation of the Points Shop a couple of years ago left us dry-mouthed.

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