Rebranding Steam For A More Casual Audience + Fun with Steam Logos

Refusing to make games for casual gamers has cost the game industry billions in lost revenue. Even today (post FarmVille, post Nintendo Wii), hard core gamers and developers still use the term “casual gamer” as if it were an insult, as if they were a lower form of life not worth acknowledging. I think it’s because the type of people most likely to become game developers are hard core gamers themselves, who in turn end up making games for other hard core gamers, because that’s what they assume the market wants. Thus completely ignoring the casuals when statistically, casual gamers make up the majority of overall gamers. This is why masterpieces like Mass Effect and Gears of War will only sell a fraction of as many copies as casual games like Cooking Mama and Nintendogs. Let me remind you that there are more people that play “Casual Social Network Games” than the combined number of PS3s, Xbox 360s, and Nintendo Wiis sold worldwide. Even looking at console sales, see how featureful Microsoft’s and Sony’s consoles are? Yet Nintendo’s dinky little Wii console outsold them both. Why? Because it’s simple, friendly, and looks easy to play. Likewise, If Valve wants Steam in every household, it needs to be simpler, easier, and more casual friendly.

Currently, I think Steam looks too “developer” & “hard core PC gamer” oriented. Slick and professional but but not very friendly. Perhaps, the average consumer doesn’t want professional they want friendly and simple.

So here’s all the mockups I made with various colors, shadows, and logo combinations…

I chose the cloud logo to represent Steam because:

  • Clouds are made of water droplets, which are made from water vapor (steam)
  • The water evaporation cycle (water, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, repeat…) also represents Valve’s development cycle in which games are made, released, iterated by listening to fans, re-released or updated, repeat.
  • Visually I see Steam as a giant media cloud, with music, movies, games, and software, that would rain down from it.
  • I chose a more friendly rounded font instead of the corporate-looking original one in all caps.

Personally, I think with the growing popularity of cloud computing, cloud logos are over-used but in this situation it might work.

There are literally countless combinations of tweaks that can be mixed and matched. If I uploaded all the different mockups this page would be loading till tomorrow.


  1. Max Monastyrev says:

    Good exercise, final result delivered is clear and concise.
    Steampowered’s logo is current, I’d prefer it to a steam cloud (play) solution, though thats just coming from someone who has become used to the logo.I guess the real question is, does it need to change? Maybe, in the foreseeable future, but in the status quo it works brilliantly.

  2. EliSklar says:

    I liked the middle one better (not the cloud one).

    The problem with the cloud one is that the |> symbol (Play) is usually used in video these days. It’s true that on console controllers you have that as a “start” or “play” button, but Steam is not consoles gaming company, they do games for PCs, and as such “we” – the PC gamers – don’t recognize that symbol as game related.