Gabe Newell, founder of Valve and its digital distribution service, Steam, spoke to All Things D this week at Casual Connect, Seattle. Among his comments, Newell said video game distribution is increasingly becoming about creating value for users.
We love Gabe Newell, and we love Steam, and here’s what he has to say about video games
The Steam Summer Sale is over for another year, but it provided plenty of great titles for budget prices. Sale aside, Newell was at Casual Connect in Seattle this week and talked to technology website All Things D about the video game industry.
On digital distribution, which includes Steam, Newell said what Valve is doing now isn’t going to matter in the future. Newell added Valve is interested in creating a platform where one player’s action creates something for other players, the reason for hiring an Economist. The difference between a content creator and player is blurred, and non-games services like Photoshop need to look like free-to-play games, Newell said. Adobe didn’t warm to the Photoshop suggestions, unsurprisingly.
Newell also talked closed and open platforms, with Valve being in the latter camp. He said for innovation to happen on closed platforms, citing companies such as Google and Epic Games – creator of the Unreal Engine, and games such as Gears of War – as companies Valve has benefitted from, because the companies are open. Rumors earlier in 2012 said Valve is building an open source gaming console, which it denied to be happening soon.
Touch Not Permanent
A Linux version of Steam was revealed to be in development, and Newell was also asked about the operating system (which has been getting exposure through Kickstarter projects, though mainly as a non-essential feature).
Newell also said Valve wants to make its 2500 tiles on Steam run on Linux. It’s been difficult for Macs to get access to the latest Steam titles, but the service has unquestionably been a good move for a platform consistently criticized for its lack of games.
Newell also talked about touch: he predicts the input method will be stable for around 10 years, a way behind mouse and keyboard which has been going for 25 years. He said the post-touch era will be something like having a band on your wrist, and using your hands.