The Steam subreddit has suddenly become all about actual steam and steam trains

The Flying Scotsman train goes over a bridge, lots of steam coming from its funnel.
(Image credit: John P Kelly via Getty)

The Steam subreddit has long been one of my go-to checks of a morning, for the simple reason that the crowd there really, really care about what's going on with Valve's omnipresent PC gaming platform. As one should, of course! It's a community that pores over small changes and is constantly coming up with potential improvements, complaints, and Gabe Newell memes, and honestly I kinda admire anyone who thinks this much about a gaming client.

Check out the Steam subreddit today, however, and you will find no detailed arguments about how achievements are displayed or chart discussions. Instead you will find a whole bunch of enthusiasm for and posts about steam. You know, a substance containing water in the gas phase that has a million different applications, the harnessing of which is one of the most important technological revolutions in history.

Rate my setup from r/Steam
This Canadian Pacific Steamship (same line as the RMS Empress of Ireland) is currently being restored in Canada, pretty neat Eh? from r/Steam
Very steamy from r/Steam
Just upgraded from an RTX 2070 Super to this, any thoughts on further upgrades? from r/Steam
Turbine or Piston? from r/Steam
Breaking News: Valve announces all new Steam Car from r/Steam
Look at this beautiful valve: from r/Steam
Shrunk the set up, thoughts? from r/Steam

The community is leaning into the whole Valve/Steam versus valve/steam misunderstanding because of Reddit's ongoing battle with large parts of its own userbase and third-party developers: who for many years have been able to use the site's API for free in creating third-party applications (which a lot of people use, because reddit's official app didn't exist for ages and when it arrived was rubbish). The large-scale protest saw over 7,000 subreddits going dark, though the Steam subreddit is one of many joining in the protest in its own way.

"As ya'll likely know, we've been dark to support the blackout against reddit's antagonistic behavior towards its own userbase," said a post from the moderators. "The admins sent us a message saying we must open or get removed, so here we are". It ends by pointing users towards the Steam discord which remains active but, honestly, please don't all move to Discord: It's an awful replacement for forums.

The real Steam is currently running Steam Next Fest, a chance to try out hundreds of new games, and yes we'll be trying to sort the wheat from the chaff as best one can amidst the flood.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."