Steam is a video game digital distribution service which is operated by Valve. It is incredibly popular and basically synonymous with PC gaming. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who plays PC games but doesn’t know about Steam.
But is actually free to use?
The answer is: yes. Steam is free to download and does not have any monthly cost.
However, there is a caveat. While there is no charge to download Steam, to utilize it fully, you must have spent a minimum of $5. This can be part of a game purchase; the money doesn’t go to Steam. Additionally, if you add $5 to your Steam wallet, you will also gain access to all of the features of your account.
What Features are blocked?
If you have yet to spend $5 or put that amount on your Steam wallet, you won’t be able to vote on game reviews or workshop items, gain profile levels or trading cards, post frequently on Steam discussions, add friends as well as some other restrictions.
These features are blocked to ensure that spam accounts are kept to a minimum.
What about on the Creation Side?
If you wish to make your own game and put it on Steam for sale, you will have to pay a one-time fee of $100. If your game exceeds sales of $1,000, the fee is returned to you. The fee is applied to each product you want to put on Steam. Once again, this is done to keep spam titles to a minimum.
Do remember that Steam takes 30% of all sales so you as the creator will only receive 70% of your game’s sales.
Steam’s online gaming platform is free to download and use with no monthly payments of any kind. There are some stipulations in place to reduce the number of spam accounts and games but that is all.