Just kidding! It’s quite the opposite for me actually. But quite often when I read the South African tech and gaming forums, someone will come along and say they hate Steam, thinking it’s cool to say that (no, it isn’t, we’ve moved on from 56K modems, just like we moved on from Apartheid).

Firstly, as a fellow South African, I understand why you may have issues with Steam. If you’re running capped ADSL, or heaven forbid, 3G, Steam updates are like a succubus. She’ll show you her treasures, lure you in, and then suck you dry! You’ll be left with no bandwidth on your ADSL account, or maybe a few grand in debt if you’re silly enough to have those 3G data bundles which charge you R2 for every meg you go over. For those of you who don’t know how bad it can get, I usually have at least 3 gigs of Steam updates a week. Some people have that amount of bandwidth for an entire month.

But things have come a long way since I first started playing PC games online. You can now get an uncapped ADSL connection for under R500 pm (even including the voice line bill from Telkom). If you’re an adult who is in the income bracket to afford buying PC games, R500 a month isn’t that much. If I had to choose between sitting home one weekend, or going out and spending that R500, you know damn well I’d sit at home for that one weekend so I could have internet the whole month.

If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, where there is no ADSL infrastructure and want to use Steam? Move.

Secondly, a lot of these “I hate Steam” comments are based upon people failing to get Steam to work. These are usually people with wireless connections. A dear friend of mine got wireless internet, and one day, she tried to install Steam. It failed to connect on most days, and when it did, it ran at speeds slower than my old 28.8k modem. She used to complain to me about how everything else worked fine, Steam didn’t, so it must be a problem with Steam. In all fairness, that’s a fairly logical conclusion, except for that fact that I know these wireless guys do weird shit with their ports (like blocking access to some) in order to control where bandwidth goes and keep costs down. I said to her it’s probably her provider and she should follow up with them. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I’m pretty sure they feigned ignorance. Eventually she just gave up.

Not too long after that Telkom had a 3 month free ADSL promotion. She signed up for it and lo and behold, Steam worked fine. She canceled her wireless service soon after that.

So in conclusion, before you try Steam, make sure you have at least a 384k uncapped ADSL connection. While you may be able to manage on capped ADSL, 3G, or wireless, I have no doubt that  it won’t be too long before you start screaming “I hate Steam!”

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