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In April 2015, Valve began allowing developers to set bans on players for their games, but enacted and enforced at the Steam level, which allowed them to police their own gaming communities in customizable manner.
The Steam client includes a digital storefront called the Steam Store through which users can purchase computer games.
At the time, Steam's primary function was streamlining the patch process common in online computer games, and was an optional component for all other games.
In 2004, the World Opponent Network was shut down and replaced by Steam, with any online features of games that required it ceasing to work unless they converted over to Steam.
Developers are not limited to Steam's CEG and may include other forms of DRM and other authentication services than Steam; for example, some games from publisher Ubisoft require the use of their UPlay gaming service, In September 2008, Valve added support for Steam Cloud, a service that can automatically store saved game and related custom files on Valve's servers; users can access this data from any machine running the Steam client.
When the main player initiates a game while a shared account is using it, the shared account user is allowed a few minutes to either save their progress and close the game or purchase the game for his or her own account.
English, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Russian, Romanian, Spanish (European and Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese Steam is a video game digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation.
It was launched in September 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates for their games, but eventually expanded to include games from third-party publishers.
Initially, Valve was required to be the publisher for these games since they had sole access to the Steam's database and engine, but with the introduction of the Steamworks software development kit (SDK) in May 2008, anyone could potentially become a publisher to Steam, outside of Valve's involvement to curate games on the service.
Prior to 2009, most games released on Steam had traditional anti-piracy measures, including the assignment and distribution of product keys and support for digital rights management software tools such as Secu ROM or non-malicious rootkits.