Valve’s Alden Kroll was at Indigo 2017 to talk about Steam and the changes they’re working on. The talk covered the business side of Steam as well as some specific features available for game makers. The company wanted to meet developers face to face, answer questions, and hear feedback and suggestions as well.
The slides of the talk are available at the link (thanks to Valvetime.net), and interestingly enough, the slides states Valve is working on a “overall UI refresh & update” of the Steam client – which I applaud greatly. I hope it’s more than just a new skin, and that they are actively going to address the performance issues and UI complexity – preferably by making the clients on the various platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) feel like proper, native applications.
In addition, one of the slides also shows that Steam is still growing, with 33 million daily users, 67 million monthly users, and 26 million new purchases since January 2016 (so 1.5 million per month). Those are healthy statistics.
I almost never use the Steam client when launching games, I have links on the desktop for the games I’m currently playing and I launch those instead. So by far my biggest gripe with it is that it takes a while at startup to launch. This wouldn’t be much of a problem for most gamers but I usually work in Linux and switch to Windows to play so I’m really bothered by having to wait for Steam to be connected before I can play my games.
As for the shop I regularly use their webpage instead of the client, it’s a much better experience with the only (stupid) limitation that you can’t see the list of the games you already own. For all I care they could drop the store from the client entirely.