Gabe Newell On Removing Valve From Steam

By Jim Rossignol on February 1st, 2013 at 6:00 pm.


The news-owls at VG247 spotted that there’s a video (below) of Gabe Newell’s recent talk at the University of Texas. In it he covers a wide range of issues relating to games, and particularly to Steam – discussing things such as the market for Team Fortress 2 hats. But what is perhaps most remarkable is that around 44 minutes, he talks about the problem of Steam being a curated store, and goes on to suggest that Valve are a bottleneck for publishing on the platform, and then even more radically, that they should remove themselves from the equation entirely: “So rather than having this curated store we’re going to say, “OK if we are thinking about this correctly, it really should be sort of a network API.” There should be this publishing model – and yes you have to worry about viruses and malware and stuff like that – but essentially anybody should be able to publish anything through Steam.”

That’s a download from the future right there. And there’s plenty more. Go watch it.

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176 Comments »

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  1. CaspianRoach says:

    He’s a communist, I say!

    • circadianwolf says:

      Valve’s internal organization is more anarchist than communist (not that the two are mutually exclusive).

      • sinister agent says:

        Valve’s internal organisation makes me want to cry. It’s like reading a postcard from Eden.

        • Bhazor says:

          I don’t know.

          Have you listened to the commentaries? People spend 6 months to 2 years working on a project only to have it completely scrapped. This happens again and again and again.

          Add to that the glacial turn around, group think and endless rounds of focus groups and I’d imagine it’s no better than many other studios.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            And yet Valve remains consistently successful in it’s developer work as opposed to many other studios.

          • Vagrant says:

            Inferred: They remain consistently successful through scrapping mediocre projects after years of work. This is a poor use of expenses, which is something that very, very few studios / publishers can risk continuously.

          • P.Funk says:

            Some would suggest that if you can afford to scrap a mediocre project in order to maintain the integrity of your brand, that that’s just a smart way to do business.

            Some publishers spam the market every single year with a bunch of stuff hoping it’ll be the next big thing. Valve however knows that if you take 10 years to release Episode 3 then you’re guaranteed it will be not only the biggest seller of the year but possibly the biggest release even of the half decade.

          • benkc says:

            As someone who’s worked in tech for nearly a decade, projects getting scrapped after months or years of work is really not out-of-the-ordinary. It’s certainly not unique to valve.

          • JackShandy says:

            HisMastersVoice: They can afford to hire the best people, and avoid releasing a game unless it’s good. Given those constraints, the games they release are going to be good no matter what their management structure is. The question is: does their structure allow them to make good games as efficiently as possible?

          • Moraven says:

            Just look at what Xcom went through.

            http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/1/31/3928710/making-of-xcoms-jake-solomon-firaxis-sid-meier

            It was 5 years full time work in the making. 9 years for when talks and prototypes were being thought about.

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            Wisq says:

            Scrapping a game may seem like a waste … but it’s much less so than taking a crappy game through all the final polishing, certification, publishing, and marketing steps and getting bad reviews, minimal money, and a bad reputation.

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            jrodman says:

            And yet: they make more money per employee than almost any other company.

          • Grey Poupon says:

            And how much of that income comes from steam? Wonder if they’re above average on income per employee with their development branch. Though small companies do have less management overhead.

          • Josh W says:

            The act of creating a game is that of scrapping mediocre games and creating new ones, you constantly replace code and learn things from the previous versions.

            The same is true of art assets, to a lesser extent, because people often recreate sections of their models as they go.

            If you are restricted to “get funding for a product” “make a product” “cancel” “start again” then there is a special category of abrupt changes, that really get in the way, whereas if you are designing a game as an amateur (or presumably, within valve) the game can change utterly without twisting anyone’s nose out of shape, because there isn’t any point where you will renege on some original promise that you created before you really knew the game you were designing. You can follow the design process until your game meets it’s own potential.

            Sequels and franchises within a studio will restrict this a bit, which I think is why creative people often try to add a bit more flex to the idea of a sequel, to give them this kind of room to move.

        • Premium User Badge

          Continuity says:

          Yeah, with an aggressive firing policy apparently. So be superhumanly productive or you’re out the door.

          Eden.

          Sure.

          • sinister agent says:

            Hey, Eden had a pretty aggressive firing policy, too. Eat one lousy apple and you’re fucked for all eternity.

          • sigma83 says:

            Hiring policy. They have an extremely strenuous hiring policy. Their turnover is something like 10 people total if I recall correctly.

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            Continuity says:

            So… you’re disagreeing with Gabe about his own company?

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            As well you should be. Anyone who gets hired at the most competitive game developer in the world should be able to deliver or they shouldn’t work there. Valve isn’t a charity. But if you’re talented and smart enough to get through the door and not get voted off the island, it sounds like about the best gig around.

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            Continuity says:

            I’m not saying its a bad thing, I’m just saying its not some work place nirvana.

        • 00000 says:

          Anarchist structures emerge naturally in situations with overwhelming wealth (generated from the Steam platform.) Although this situation existed before Valve developed the Steam platform, it explains why it’s still implemented despite some of its shortcomings. The only other example of a functional anarchy, that I know of, are on independent islands that serve as tax havens but in which local law required major corporations to employ their citizens in order to be able to evade tax, resulting in lucrative deals with the population. In those places people didn’t need to bother with private property – think of how in certain places bicycles are considered common good, but with SUV’s.

          • dbspin says:

            @00000 Actually you’re completely wrong. Anarchist structures are actually relatively common. For example worker owned co-operatives like building societies or farmers co-ops. Another large scale anarchically structured company (similar to valve in that they have whats known as a BDFL) is Brazil’s ‘Semco’. Interestingly, just like valve the companies structure pre-dates it’s incredible financial success. Naturally enough bright, highly motivated people work better when allowed to follow their own interests. Not necessarily more quickly, but with a greater degree of context and initiative to their actions. Source: I’m a psychologist, and also volunteer in a variety of horizontally organised community organisations.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            There’s very little of anarchy in Valve. I take a bit of issue at this discussion. There’s a clear method coming of the ideas put forth by Gabe Newell as to how increase productivity. The company is run as a tight ship, very controlled. It’s a fun place to work. But fun here is clearly used as an incentive towards productivity; Valve main focus.

            Anarchy as a means to run a corporation the size of Valve is probably only have been attempted successfully on one company; Atari. There used to be Marijuana Review Board meetings announced on the intercom. A guy would come to work with an half-shaved beard, they’d all get seriously pissed on Fridays Party, someone used to walk the hallways with a bullwhip. There were no bosses or project managers. Developers were told to do what the hell game they wanted, but had it done in 6 months.

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            Wisq says:

            I think we’re operating under multiple definitions of “anarchy” here. Do keep in mind that some people use it to refer to a non-hierarchical organised association or society, while others just think it means chaos and rebellion and whatnot.

            Makes it rather hard to have a meaningful discussion when the key term means two very different things …

    • Engonge says:

      He said “collective good” !Tie him to the stakes and burn him!

    • Josh W says:

      Valve actually are communists, or at least gabe is.

      Valve is a company that focuses on productivity, and assumes that markets in games should be created such that the primary value creating activity, creativity and production, is privileged above arbitrage and trade.

      In other words, although they hold to “use value” rather than “labour value”, they believe that the primary contribution towards “use value” is not putting things in the right people’s hands, but in creating new things for them to have in their hands, and they design game economies under that assumption, that improving things for producers is primary, and the ideal world is one in which distribution and locating things is very easy and the process of doing so is commodified and low margin.

      Next, unlike many other glib US groups, they do not assume that value creators are people who create companies, but that they are primarily people like coders and artists, and that creating value by improving other people’s productivity is conditional and hard to measure. That kind of value creation is a skill, another kind of productivity and work, and does not come purely from being at the top of a company.

      In other words, they are run by workers, not merely in the sense of the people working there having a lot of say about their lives, but because the company mindet implicitly behaves according to the mindset of a dedicated worker; increase productivity, work better. Rather than a mindset that focuses on ownership of assets (including positions of market advantage you get by sitting on a market problem) and maximising your rent on those assets.

      That they are actually trying to create markets with real money from that perspective is a total inversion of any classical marxist perspective, but it follows the more philosophical end of things that suggests that people with a mindset focused around working for others are in the perfect position to improve society, compared to those that are focused on pulling benefits from it; the classic position of an investor.

      For example, they explicitly want to monetise things for other people, so that other players can get an income for doing things they did before as a sideline, but that were very effective, and can be supported in increasing their own productivity in improving the community.

      Of course, this focus on producers over distributors can be seen in their attempt to destroy their own powerful position as distributors, and might result in them de-emphasising the various things that give them the power to enable such changes, like a revolutionary who gives up his power so fast as to open things up to warlords. The commoditisation of commoditisation itself could bring some odd side effects, like creating a situation of conflict of interest for reviewers with their own stores. Or importing all the issues of IP landgrabs of previously commonly held creative ideas.

      But in a nutshell, they want to cut back the position of distributors, marketing predictors, and basically everything a publisher does apart from giving big pots of cash to people, undercutting their own position at the same time, because they don’t really want to be publishers, but they do want to be taking tiny slivers of money from the actions of improving the general markets ability to do good things.

      Effectively a recursive approach to worker productivity that in theory goes all the way up to investment, and, assuming they get their prediction markets online and working, it probably will.

      edit: whew, I’m writing a lot lately!

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Do not want.
    Floodgates, shite.

    Look at what Greenlight turned into for the first week. I like having Valve curate.

    • ChromeBallz says:

      There’s a positive to this idea: This would also mean that ALL games would need to be Greenlighted, not just indie games. You’d have to raise the positive votes, but this would also mean Greenlight gets more usage and thus indie games get more exposure, even equal compared to high budget corporate games.

      • Xocrates says:

        “indie games get more exposure, even equal compared to high budget corporate games.”

        No, it means they get equal exposure on Steam. Having Indie and AAA games competing for entry in a popularity contest like greenlight is a terrible idea, because the limited amount of games getting accepted means the top slots would always be reserved for the games with the largest marketing budget, not the most deserving ones.

        • Shuck says:

          Yeah, exactly. Greenlight, in any form that remotely resembles its current form, forces developers to create a following outside Greenlight that they then bring in to support the game. So games with marketing muscle (outside Greenlight) will always have more support inside Greenlight.

    • Bhazor says:

      The fact good games have to beg to get on says something.

      Also their “curation” doesn’t stop garbage getting on there like the hundreds of hidden item games.

      • RakeShark says:

        The definition of a “good” game tends to vary from sample to sample.

        • The Random One says:

          If your definition of “good” includes WarZ your sample has probably been contaminated.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        @Bhazor – And yet, people buy hidden item games. “Good” is in the eye of the player. I hate Mah Jong games. My nan loves them.

        I am not talking about reserving steam only for “gets RPS all frothy” level games, I am talking about not having to click past 8 pages of WOT I MADE WITH MY FIRST BASIC PROGRAM like in the first week of greenlight.

    • Sam says:

      Indeed, just look at YouTube.
      They let any old schmuck upload stuff, and as a result it is a terrible site that no one uses.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Presuming sarcasm here, but who said anything about people not using it? I just don’t want to wade through 5 pages of “Jewish Rapist Taliban Simulator LULZ”

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        HighlordKiwi says:

        I discovered recently that there are plenty of great/insightful/interesting videos on YouTube, they may be in the minority but once you find them it’s great. You subscribe to the channels you want and ignore the crap, for example search for “sixty symbols”.

        I imagine Steam would have to go the same way. Plenty of rubbish games but people who want to will find the good ones and aggregate them.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          For me, I think of Steam as a shop. Shops have items chosen by a shopkeeper and placed lovingly on a shelf. They don’t invite people to rummage through their cupboards and prop their old broken bong up next to the products. So yeah, I like steam as it is. Apart from exclusives to consoles or Origin, I’ve never not been able to buy something I wanted. If its not on Steam, it’ll be on a website. I’m not so sure that its such a big issue that every game ever may not have access to steam.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Though many shops also have rubbish things in them you’d wonder why anyone buys them, as you just know they do.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Kids Stationery kits in newsagents. Seriously, no one buys them. Thats why they say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Buck Rogers on them.

            Also there is a corner of every PoundStretcher that has items from 1981 in it. I am sure I saw a Boris Becker signature pink dayglo Space Hopper only last week.

          • P.Funk says:

            I think your impression of how shops work is lacking in imagination given the world we’re living in now.

            This is the age of digital shopping. Why do you care if some game you don’t like is on a server where not only can you filter for games you want instead of the ones you don’t want, but where you shopping habits automatically filter the games you want to the top.

            When I think of “shop” I think of a bunch of console idiots in Gamestop who don’t even know anything about their own products. Try and talk to them about an MMO’s early release, when the beta keys get released, when your promotional stuff comes through, and they look at you like they’ve never heard of it.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Because if I want that model, I have amazon. And god have I spent a long time wading through pointless dross just to find a quality product on that site, filters or not.

            Why does steam need to become a digital download Jumble Sale? I reject your ‘any old bollocks is fine’ model and say “I’ll keep steam and maybe embrace a separate marketplace version of greenlight”.

            And don’t be rude about people in GameStop. They’re people too. Just slightly hairier people.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Anytime I’ve bought a game off Amazon, it was actually just a Steam key.

            And that’s the point. You think of Steam as a curation service. But it also functions as a download/distribution/payment processing service. And as a community platform. And God knows what else.

            To you, the curation service is most important. To me, it’s worthless–even Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought this” and various algorithms have brought much more good content to my attention than Valve has (more books than games, for games I hear about stuff on blogs).

            So we have a situation where I as a customer like other services Valve provides–but not curation. Other companies might like to use those services to sell their games. Judging from what Gabe is saying, Valve would like to provide those services.

            There is no good reason for all of Valve’s services to depend on their curation service. I am certain that Valve will still have a set of “recommended games” or whatever for people who like Valve’s tastes or filters. Then everyone can be happy.

          • JackShandy says:

            Watch the video. Their solution to this is to place the users themselves in position of shopkeeper. Users will apparently create their own lovingly curated versions of steam’s front page.

          • RaiderJoe says:

            @jackshandy so, the reddit of video game stores? That couldn’t end poorly.

          • whorhay says:

            I honestly don’t get the “curated” angle of Steam. There is a ridiculous amount of games on there and a disturbing percentage of them are crap. It’s a given that any game from a large publisher will be available there if they want it sold through Steam. The only curated games are possibly from small studios and even then there is no real curation going on. Once a game is on Steam it stays there for ever, it’s like a curated warehouse of infinite size. The whole point of a curated store is to offer goods within a limited scope that match the curator’s tastes.

      • Jason Lefkowitz says:

        They may have had different results had they been building a place where you had to spend between five dollars and fifty to view each video. People are much more willing to wade through dreck to find diamonds when it doesn’t cost them anything to do so.

      • pipman3000 says:

        this is steams future

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Even the Mac App Store, which IS curated, is a bit of a cesspit. I dread to think what this brave new steam would be like

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Apple also produces maddening instances of erratic policy enforcement (letting direct clones, stolen code, soft porn, fart jokes, Tim Langdel, etc, while genuine stuff gets ignored/removed).

      • JP says:

        Maybe curation isn’t this magic wand of quality that completely solves difficult marketing and accessibility problems, then, eh?

    • MattyFTM says:

      I think it could work if you have some sort of curated store AND an open area where the floodgates are opened. I.e. take greenlight and turn it into a store. Make it so you can buy games on Greenlight. They are attached to your Steam account, are downloaded via the Steam client and function just like Steam games.The only difference is that you buy them through greenlight.steampowered.com instead of store.steampowered.com. Games with the most purchases get greenlit and end up on the main Steam store. You get the best of both worlds.

      No one wants Steam to become like the Apple or Android app stores – cluttered by nonsense apps that makes the good stuff hard to find. But at the same time there are a large number of cases where I want a game on Steam, and I can’t buy it there. I like having everything on Steam. Everything on one service so if I want to play a game, I know where I can find it. Turning greenlight into a store would go a long way to making that possible.

      • thecat17 says:

        And yet, his take on Dishonored is so laughably off the mark that I don’t even know if he played the same game I did. The main issue being, he’s so blinded by how he feels women should be portrayed in a game, that in Dishonored he rails against their portrayal in a shallow way, instead of thinking that maybe there was a point that the creators were trying to make with how women were treated in Dunwall.

        He got that so wrong that honestly, it’s turned me off from watching any of the rest of his videos.

        • Phantoon says:

          Turns out it’s possible to be against sexism and also sexist.

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      Continuity says:

      I think the idea, if I understand it, is that any company, or any individual could step into that curator role with their own store on the steam API.

      • Consumatopia says:

        That’s exactly what he seems to be saying starting at 46:10.

        I am very pleased.

    • discordance says:

      Theres this thing called the search function, that involves rankings and all these algorithms to serve up the most popular and relevant content.

      WELCOME TO THE INTERNET. I assume you just arrived.

      Ofc you can’t really do the necessary kinds of search very well in steam atm but its something they will have to spend a lot of time improving on to make this awesome free for all work.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        @discordance, you just presented an idea and confirmed why it’s a bad idea all on the same post.

        Search features are never a solution. For one they actually need to be implemented, which they aren’t. For another, how exactly do you pretend to filter the garbage from the metal on a wide search for games you may want to purchase? It’s not that there ever will be a filter for junk.

        • discordance says:

          Search improves via use and work, yes its hard work and frankly many people don’t even bother putting the work in (wikipedia search lol), such poorly developed searches are hardly representative of whats possible, if you know how to search with google for example it is highly accurate (and usually how you search wikipedia). You could build something similiar for games with a great deal of effort. It is a better alternative than steam as it is now. They will have some solution in mind whether its simply letting people setup steam stores on their own website and relying on google search and traditional games search via popularity and reviews or maybe they will actually bother to write some algorithms and rankings which is absolutely possible.

          With the multiple stores model your search is for a reviewer you trust and then simply plundering his store as he has done the more extensive search for you.

          My fundamental point was its stupid to dismiss an open steam just because closed steam couldn’t handle it, closed steam doesn’t have to handle it and won’t until its ready to emerge as open steam. Complaining that its impossible for them to make it work is a lack of imagination.

      • noodlecake says:

        Lot’s of people are idiots… Just look at the user scores on Metacritic. Really fantastic games getting poor average user scores because the ending to a story wasn’t exactly what they wanted. I think this sort of thing should be kept out of the hands of the general public. The Internet is full of fucking morons, essentially. :)

  3. Belsameth says:

    This excites and scares me at the same time.
    I rather like how being on Steam is (somewhat of) a sign of quality and I fear it becoming the PC equivalent of the Android market if everybody can use it. On the other hand, there’s a lot of great games that’re not on there currently.

    • mehughes124 says:

      That’s not really what he’s talking about. At least, I don’t think he is. This is more of a “let’s turn Steam into a back-end service that other people can leverage” kind of thing. As in, a set of protocols that allow developers and distributors use the Steam servers and technologies (DRM, payment verification, etc.) to sell their own digital goods and services. I don’t think he’s at all talking about a change in how Steam itself (as we think of it today) functions as a curated store.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      “there are a lot of good games not on steam”

      Except there are not really. There is Origin games which EA doesn’t try to get on steam, and there is Matrix games, also games not trying to get on steam, and other than that a handful of decent but nothing special indie games. Steam is already getting a bit permissive for my taste honestly. If the past 30 releases are all crap pretty soon you stop checking.

      • Poliphilo says:

        Oh but there are. Indies and non-indies alike, AAA or not (more often not), Steam is still “missing” thousands, if not tens of thousands of absolutely magnificent games (old and new). Unless of course you’re only interested in a (very decent) selection of games (which until a few years back, was mostly focused on American-made games) that is. And if Steam had it all there wouldn’t even be a place for GoG and others. It’s presumptuous to say the least to state that all those games you’ve never even heard of are bad just because they’re not currently on Steam, don’t you think?

        It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just how the transition to digital download goes, gradually and in occasional strides, with a lot of issues like language barriers, technical, legal etc. to solve or circumnavigate.

        And it’s not like Steam don’t have any bad games on offer, so personally I’d prefer seeing more games on Steam at the ‘risk’ of also having more bad games on offer (you don’t HAVE to buy them you know, not even when they’re on sale). Of course it’d be nice if Steam retain that air of quality gaming, but they can still easily keep out the nasty stuff like casino & compulsion games, Facebook & social exploitware and so on, while simultaneously becoming more open to use as a platform.

      • malkav11 says:

        Valve has consistently turned down some of the best indie developers around. You’ll likely never see a Cryptic Comet (Armageddon Empires, Solium Infernum, Six Gun Saga) game on Steam – they’ve turned him down repeatedly and he’s lost interest in beating his head against that particular wall. Spiderweb Software was rejected for years until he finally got Avadon on, after which the floodgates opened. Steven Peeler managed to get Depths of Peril on, but none of his subsequent games have made the cut, even though Din’s Curse and Drox Operative (which they told him “eh, maybe if Greenlight works out for you”) are significantly better games. There’s no sign of Deadly Rooms of Death (though the latest entry is now on Greenlight), even though its various incarnations are among the best puzzle games ever made. Wadjet Eye struggled for years to get their games on, finally did get a few, and then when their next title came along got told to put it on Greenlight instead.

        Etc.

        • RSeldon says:

          *Din’s Curse did get on at last.

          But yeah, then Drox Operative had to go into Greenlight anyway. Steam’s approach has definitely been a bit mystifying at times, to put it lightly.

          • malkav11 says:

            Oh, right. But still, it took forever to happen and didn’t guarantee any further games from him getting accepted, like you say. So, yeah. I’d be fine with a curated service if it meant that every game that was good got on and broken shovelware crap got kicked to the curb. But it hasn’t meant that at all.

          • RSeldon says:

            Yeah, agreed.

  4. Neurotic says:

    I like Valve ‘being’ Steam. Makes me feel safe, secure, confident and happy. Don’t go, daddy!

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      @OP Not sure if serious but actually agree

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      Eleven says:

      Seriously, my different opinion of Origin as compared to Steam is due to the level of trust I have in their management. Valve’s track record of never (deliberately) screwing up my enjoyment of games, never spamming me or otherwise compromising my personal info, and eight years of mostly good continuous service means I trust them. I have lost count of the number of times I have been disappointed by EA.

      I can’t frankly see any other company having both the financial clout and the general public trust to replicate Steam as a digital publisher you might actually want to buy from.

      • The Random One says:

        I can, and already prefer to buy games from GoG if they’re available there, even though I’m in Brazil and they’re cheaper through Steam.

    • DXN says:

      Well, if I’m understanding things correctly, Valve can still “be” Steam for you if the Official Valve Steam Store is the only steam-powered store that you use. They will still do their process of curation and if anything will be able to afford to be more selective.

      What this change would mean is that, for example, Giant Bomb could also set up a steam-powered store. They could select what games they think are good, structure the pricing, promotions, deals etc. how they like, presumably organize their front-end how they like, provide their own reviews… so if you trust Giant Bomb’s opinions on things or feel they might be able to bring interesting games to your attention, or just give you a good deal on them, then you can go there. Or to PC Gamer’s store. Or Yahtzee’s. You get access to their curatorial expertise, while Valve take care of the backend stuff.

      Steam still profit by being the service provider, and their own sales might not even go down despite the competition — the Steam Store will still have a lot of pull, and different stores will to some extent just be catering to different, untapped markets.

      It’s damned fascinating stuff, anyway. In the future I would not be surprised to see Valve start to spread out into markets other than games, and for their practices to have far-reaching effects on commerce and maybe even politics. They really seem to get how deeply the internet can affect an industry.

  5. kimadactyl says:

    I could see them going the Ubuntu/modern linux route here. By default it has Valve approved software, much like now. But by adding extra repositories you can widen the net, just without the safety blanket. Yet again Linux distros are years ahead on this kind of thing ;)

  6. rb2610 says:

    Maybe offer a “show approved games only” mode for people who prefer Valve’s quality control…

  7. eks says:

    Look at that glorious neckbeard.

    Also, IMHO getting on Steam hasn’t really ever been a sign of quality. It would probably get worse if there were no standards at all, but lets not kid ourselves here, there is lots of trash on Steam.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Nah, it’s a full beard. Reminds me a little of how Jeff Bridges looks now if he’d become a games developer rather than a Hollywood actor.

    • Poliphilo says:

      Exactly, and I can’t figure out where this almost superstitious belief originated. I mean I get why trusting a ‘brand’ is important in the case of digital publishing (because you know, it’d be nice if Steam and all those games I own on Steam still existed in ten, twenty years’ time) but it baffles me why people extend this to mean that “Steam” is some kind of “Seal of Quality” like in the days of SNES and stuff.

      Could it be that because Steam games allow for automatic updates, or perhaps because it provides an official (but third-party!) forum where users can air grievances or get tech support, people perceive “Steam games” as being “more reliable” or something?

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        I think “quality” here is being used as a relative concept to simply mean games that Valve sees as having a selling value. This allows us consumers to have some confidence that the platform won’t be flooded with fakes or seriously questionable games in terms of quality that will be nonetheless marketed as superior products. Consumers can have some modicum level of confidence they won’t be had.

        Eks is being unfair. No one is referring to “quality” as to whether a game is good or not. It’s pretty obvious everyone agrees there are bad and good game on Steam. No one will ever agree on which ones exactly, though. Everyday at RPS games are being judged from personal opinions and nonetheless many of them figure on Steam lists. No one is being an hypocrite. It’s just that “quality” in the context of steam store being a controlled space has a different meaning.

  8. CmdrCrunchy says:

    In the first photo i swear it looks like hes in the middle of a rather perplexing genital exam…

    Now I think about it the second photo before you play the video makes it look like hes grasping a nice firm pair of invisible buttocks too…

  9. Brosepholis says:

    I daresay whatever they do to divorce Steam from Valve they will still take a 30% cut. THAT is the root of Valve’s problem- Since Steam prints money there is no pressure to create videogames anymore. They used to innovate on gameplay; now they innovate on business models. I miss Valve pre-steam.

    • soco says:

      Valve has released the Portal games, Left 4 Dead games, two episodes for Half Life, and Team Fortress 2 since Steam came out.

      That doesn’t seem so bad.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        They don’t get off the hook until there’s an awesome Half-Life 3 in my Steam library. Then, they can take a bow, but not before.

  10. mehughes124 says:

    They’ve sort of already done half of this, by providing merchants like the Humble Bundle guys to sell keys for however much they want.

    Essentially, they’re turning their incredible resource of worldwide Steam servers into cash generation machines by allowing people to use them as a distribution engine for whatever they want (within reason). Sort of like a less gated Amazon A3 service. Come to think of it, this all seems like a very Jeff Bezos thing to do. I wonder if it will take off?

  11. Strife212 says:

    I like that Steam isn’t filled with shovelware and nonsense. The apple app store for example is filled with so much junk and it gets really tiring to wade through it.

    • malkav11 says:

      The App Store is curated – every app on there has to go through Apple approval process. It’s often just a rubber stamp, but it happens.

  12. InternetBatman says:

    The one problem I see with this is that as vendors they have to maintain a specific quality. So they might be able to morph Steam into a hugely successful thing like Amazon, where individual vendors sell different games etc., but they’ll also need to build a huge claims department to go along with it, and that will require a more corporate management structure (no one wants to deal with claims all day long).

    It’s a bit of a pickle.

  13. Stardog says:

    Don’t like the idea of lots of “shite” appearing? Then stick to your nice and diluted “Top 20 Most Popular/Hottest/Top Selling/Recent Top Selling” lists and stay the hell away from the rest.

    Let PC developers actually have a proper marketplace for a change. Risking $200k+ on a PC-only game is too risky when you have to pray that Valve/Greenlight let you through the gate. With an open store we’ll see much more money invested in PC gaming.

    Me and deano2099 called it. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?6013-Steam-Greenlight&p=185753&viewfull=1#post185753

    Feel free to hire us, Valve.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I wasn’t aware PC games ever stopped having a proper marketplace, what about, you know, the actual marketplace?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      @stardog – The flaw in your thinking is that you are saying that in its current incarnation Steam is a guaranteed conduit of gamer interest and revenue generation, and that will continue to be exactly the case no matter what happens. This is a faulty assumption – the Top 20’s you seem to despise may in fact be the biggest reason that games do so well. Maybe Its the top 20 your devs want to be in? The fact the choice is limited may be the very reason that games who get in actually do well.

      Let anyone at all in, and you may kill the golden goose. Like the sales at Harrods, you end up with one very ugly, slightly trashed shop after the stampede has been through. Perception and brand is all in sales – and when literally anyone can sell on it, it changes the perception of the brand and so the very thing that drives its popularity. You cannot guarantee that opening Steam up to all devs won’t actually kill the very thing that makes all devs want to be there.

      EDIT: See Mario’s comment below mine, he put it a lot better.

  14. Mario Figueiredo says:

    The overabundance of titles, many of terrible quality, was exactly what killed the gaming industry back in the 80s that led to a recession in the industry and put many companies out of the business, including nearly destroying Atari. The channel was then gaming stores, but Steam is the equivalent of that channel right now and an indisputable leader.

    I’m not too eager to see Steam publishing anything. I think Greenlight has its problems, but it’s at its heart the right way to go about this business of putting up games for purchase.

    I do not understand however what exactly he means by removing Valve of the equation. It resounded with an article I read a long time ago about someone being of the opinion that the reason Valve doesn’t produce more titles is because it’s occupied with Steam.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, it’s weird – the sort of “Steam” Gabe’s talking about wouldn’t be a shop anymore – it would be like the web (or rather another set of APIs that could be used to distribute and sell games on the internet). The advantage of selling through Steam is that it is a shop. Presumably Valve could continue to offer a curated (through whatever means) “Valve Store” that uses Steam, but I don’t see any real advantage to opening Steam up like this – it doesn’t really help PC gaming any.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Only now finished watching the whole movie and have a better sense as to why he was saying these things. He’s right that Steam is becoming a bootleneck between creative people and companies and their desire to have their products on Steam. The solution would be to constantly increase the team behind this decision making and content generation process, but that collides exactly with Valve structure he so much loves. He gives an example early on how companies felt that the answer to their sales through retailer problems was to hire 500 new people to talk directly to customers. That clashes with Valve’s organization.

      It’s also became obvious he was thinking aloud. This is something they are talking about. Something that may not even end up existing in this shape. But it’s of course something they think they need to do. He even talked about the possibility of Steam to offer users their own store page. And of the fact it’s not only games that could be sold int it.

      I think the underline here is that Valve has realized that Steam has grown, or is about to grow, beyond their ability to properly operate it. That’s probably the title for this article. Whatever comes off it, however, I don’t think a straight move to access-for-all will be the answer. If that happens, Steam ceases to become a distribution platform to end up like Amazon that for some reason no one can understand also happens to require you to run a client in order to fire your application or game.

      My own answer to that would instead be make Greenlight a platform for Creator-Customer relationships and create the mechanisms for creators to operate their product on steam servers and write their content on the game page. What I think of Greenlight and what’s wrong about it would turn this into a big post. So I’ll leave that to another opportunity. But they could remove already some of the heat by putting some of the burden of product management on steam on top of the creator.

      • Consumatopia says:

        “If that happens, Steam ceases to become a distribution platform to end up like Amazon that for some reason no one can understand also happens to require you to run a client in order to fire your application or game.”

        I mentioned this above, but some games sold on Amazon are actually Steam keys. Clearly, Steam adds value to customers and developers even when the customer buys the game someplace other than Steam. I find it convenient that there’s a whole crap load of games I could immediately download and install if I wanted to without digging through my files or disks. I’ve definitely seen people saying “Steam or no sale” when they hear about some indie game not on Steam–what these people demand has nothing to do with curation, and everything to do with the convenience of Steam’s client.

        I guess some developers might be helped out by Valve imposing a de facto “cartel”, making it harder to get onto Steam means its more lucrative to be on Steam. That’s a shitty way for markets to operate, though–I can buy whatever books I want on Amazon, and nobody worries about whether the crappy books (there are many!) ruin things for the good ones.

  15. Ruffian says:

    Ah, Ole Gabey’s sure seems like a sensible guy.

  16. Terragot says:

    This will be interesting. A lot of indies moan about not bekng on steam but I don’t think poor sales are attributed tot that, I think it’s probably more a saturation issue. My thinking comes from the current state of thr mobile market (1% are stinking rich while 99% can’t break even). Although Im a terrible cynic and have zero expertise here, so it will be interesting to see the actual outcome.

  17. yabonn says:

    I like the idea of games on Linux, but I still don’t get precisely how that stack works.

    I get games with source engine can go Linux, Valve pays for the heavy lifting. But other games? Sourcified? That’s Not How It Works? Will there be Valve contribution to Linux graphic drivers ? Something else entirely? And is Steam only Tube, or also Engine? And what? And how are you doing?

    This is all very confusing. Educate me.

  18. D3xter says:

    I guess you won’t report about this? :P
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/185823/Consumer_group_targets_Valves_digital_resale_policies.php
    http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Valve-Modifying-Steam-EULA-VZBV-Files-Complaint-With-Court-Berlin-52002.html

    They will likely take this as far up as the European Supreme Court if they have to, and it has potential implications over not only Steam/Valve, but Digital Distribution in the future.
    RPS always seems to shy back a little when it’s something negative in regards to Valve being reported on though.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      How is that negative in regards to Valve? European Supreme Court makes an asinine ruling out of touch with reality, Valve responds by amending it’s TOS, some German customer organisation follows on the asinine ruling by suing Valve. They’re wasting the courts time, Valve’s time and our time.

      • seamoss says:

        Why would it be asinine for the law to enable consumers to be able to resell their own digital property, including games? Valve can make up all the TOS they want (e.g. you don’t own the games you buy on Steam, you’re just subscribing to them) but if the law says that Steam will have to allow you to resell your games then Valve will need to comply.

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          Because digital goods do not equal physical goods and applying rules governing the latter to the former shows a profound lack of understanding of the matter at hand.

          Our whole economic system relies on degradation of goods to sustain itself. It did since we started trading sharpened sticks for deer hides. Digital goods have no degradation. Suggesting they should be trade-able in the same way cars or washing machines are is like suggesting a cinema ticket should be re-usable as long as it’s a different person using it each time.

          • seamoss says:

            The music and movie industries seem to think otherwise, and I would say say they have a pretty good grasp of the matter: as far as they are concerned, a song or a movie that you buy digitally (i.e. a virtual copy) is exactly the same as buying CD or a DVD, along with the same restrictions on copying, etc. Countless lawsuits attest to this and the courts seem to mostly agree with them. They can’t have it both ways.

            I’m not saying that exactly the same rules should apply to virtual goods as to real goods, but to completely dismiss resale of virtual goods offhand is disingenuous. More and more of our property is moving to the virtual world and some rules for its legal resale and transfer need to be put in place. If I own a bunch of CDs and I die next week, my kids inherit a bunch of CDs. Yet if you take Steam’s TOS at face value, basically all my games on that service would essentially disappear and my kids would need to rebuy all those games for themselves. And Steam is just an example – this issue pervades all virtual good ownership.

            Finally, what I think most people on this site are directly worried about is that allowing resale of digital games will raise prices overall. This may indeed end up being the case, but I don’t believe it will be nearly by as much as people seem to think. And I, for one, am willing to put up with it.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            So you’re saying that digital video games wouldn’t have a degradation value if they were tradeable? Speculation at its finest.

            “Degradation” is irrelevant to the topic of digital trading.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            So you’re saying that digital video games wouldn’t have a degradation value if they were tradeable? Speculation at its finest.

            What? Look, digital good do not degrade in condition. That’s a fact no one can argue with. At the same time, condition degradation is the basis of our economic system. To apply rules created for that economic system to elements that do not follow said rules is quite frankly stupid.

            The music and movie industries seem to think otherwise

            Do they allow free trading of digital goods?

          • D3xter says:

            There should be no difference between buying a game in a game store, owning it and being able to do with it what you want and the same as “Digital good”. It costs the same price and offers the same functionality, the publishers even get larger margins from the “Digital sale”. I don’t see how you can argue that it is (or should) be less worth than buying the same product as a game box.

            Further, yes “digital video games” also degrade or devalue or you wouldn’t see the price go down after 1/3/6/12 months similar to how they do at Retail. There’s a general “newness” cost that degrades over time. Other than that, certain mediums like Blu-Rays don’t really have a (relevant in regards to market trends) degradation anyway and the same kind of data is imbued on that optical medium.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @HisMastersVoice: You mean physical degradation? That’s obviously not a problem for digital products, but I’m baffled as to why you even bring the idea of “condition degradation” into a discussion about digital products anyway. It’s irrelevant.

            Now, monetary — or perceived value — degradation is another matter, and of course digital video games would suffer from that. Nobody is going to pay full Day One price for a used serial key, especially if the publishers eventually start putting limitations on used keys like they do with certain console games.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            There should be no difference between buying a game in a game store, owning it and being able to do with it what you want and the same as “Digital good”.

            You really don’t see a difference between a physical disc that you buy along with your licence when you go shopping in a b&m store and a bunch of 0s and 1s you buy when you shop on Steam? You don’t see how one is naturally going to degrade in condition thus lowering it’s secondary market value beyond the software simply becoming outdated and the other wont?

            You mean physical degradation? That’s obviously not a problem for digital products, but I’m baffled as to why you even bring the idea of “condition degradation” into a discussion about digital products anyway. It’s irrelevant.

            People are constantly comparing physical good with digital goods and claiming the customer should have the same rights in relation to both categories. I’m pointing out that there’s a massive, economy crushing difference between the two and it’s irrelevant?

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            You’re trying to point out the difference (one that we’re all aware of, BTW) by claiming a fallacy. You stated that “digital goods have no degradation”, which is provably false, yet you continue to rely on that bit of reasoning as your only prop in this debate.

            Stop trying to defend a specious line of logic. Better yet, come up with something that actually makes sense in the context of the discussion.

          • HisMastersVoice says:

            Digital good do not suffer from condition degradation. Even if there could have been any doubt of what I meant in my initial post, there can be none after I used the term twice in responses, one of those directed at you specifically. If you can’t be bothered to read what I say I won’t bother arguing with you.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Here’s the quote from your original entry:

            “Our whole economic system relies on degradation of goods to sustain itself. It did since we started trading sharpened sticks for deer hides. Digital goods have no degradation. Suggesting they should be trade-able in the same way cars or washing machines are is like suggesting a cinema ticket should be re-usable as long as it’s a different person using it each time.”

            You didn’t specify condition degradation until you were called on your theory. Even after it was pointed out (not just by me, mind you) that digital items can indeed have a form of price degradation attached to them, you continue to ignore that little factoid by trotting out the “condition degradation” straw man.

            At this point, you’re simply cherrypicking the discussion because you can’t go any further with it. I’m not going to respond to you anymore on this topic.

          • Emeraude says:

            Degradation ? No. Obsolescence ? Yes much, more than any other entertainment medium.

        • Narzhul says:

          Supporters of reselling games aren’t thinking things through. Do you REALLY want something akin to the console game market? Being able to sell a “used” game for scraps after buying it for 60 bucks instead of having insane discounts everywhere every holiday season? Publishers are not going to leave things as is if anything like that gets enforced.

          Look at GMG’s trade-in credit value. They’re friggin 50 cents at most.

          • Kaira- says:

            I’ll be willing to pay more for the ability to own, instead of “rent” or “subscribe” or whatever mumbo-jumbo the EULAs try to state despite shop saying “buy”.

          • TCM says:

            The idea of ‘owning’ purely digital media that is totally unrestricted by any physical supply limit is ludicrous at best.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            As much as I’d like to see a drastic change in Steam’s no-trade policy, you’re right. Forcing something like that on the digital sector of the PC video games industry would be an eventual disaster for the consumer.

            Publishers are always looking for an excuse to raise their prices. Let’s not hand them an easy one.

            You’re way off about the trade-in value of GMG games though. Depending on the publisher, some of those games can be traded in for up to $7.

          • Narzhul says:

            @kaira
            That’s besides the point, seeing as how even if they were to let you “sell” anything, it’d be selling a “subscription” or any other mumbo jumbo. You’ve never “owned” any games.

            We’re talking specifically about being able to resell said mumbo jumbo. I do not want the console market model for my mumbo jumbos, okay?

          • D3xter says:

            It’s as much about ownership as it is about resale. Personally I don’t really care about reselling games since I wouldn’t particularly do that (and haven’t done that in the past) anyway. But if Valve tries to argue that my account worth several thousand Euros spread over a variety of Retail and Digital shops isn’t my “ownership” and tries to take it away or basically argues that it can do what it likes with it, I would just as much sue them.

            They can be the friendliest company in the world, but as soon as they try to actively undermine my rights they become an enemy in that context.

            I wouldn’t have to if the VZBV or the ECJ forces them to acknowledge rights of ownership over the bought products and I can’t possibly see any detriment to that other than pure fanaticism.

            Here is the Original Press Release by the VZBV btw. (tried to translate it roughly): http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_2546.htm
            Valve locks itself away from resale of used software

            Partial success in EULA-changes

            The injunction against Valve Software from September lead only to partial success. At least Valve has committed itself to allow the use of the Steam platform without automatically making it dependent from players consenting to the amended terms and conditions. Valve will be introducing new mechanisms after 31.01.2013 other than the pop-up window, which fell under criticism previously.

            Valve insists on a lifelong forced marriage with Steam

            There was no agreement achieved in regards to the coupling of a game to the Online platform Steam and the non-transferability of playing privileges/accounts to third parties. Valve continues to hold fast to its business model and prohibits the transfer of the account to a third party in its Terms of Use. This has the consequence that, while the purchased game can be passed on or sold, the associated account cannot necessarily, which is essential for the use of the game.
            In this context, it does not matter whether the consumer buys a game on a disk or by download – he cannot actually sell it. The vzbv has for this reason in January 2013 filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer Valve to achieve the goal that consumers may continue to sell used games.

            Full purchase price and only half the ownership?

            For consumers, the difference of use between game software as opposed to board or card games are incomprehensible. For both, the consumer pays the full purchase price. As the owner of a board game he can give it away, sell it easily or allow others the right to use it. These possibilities are often denied for game software. Technical hurdles, the prohibition of transfer and prevention of sale hinder the purchaser of a game software to proceed using his property as he wishes.

            ECJ ruling strengthens the rights of consumers

            In the opinion of the VZBV, Valve undermines the acquired consumer ownership rights by prohibiting the transfer of the account. While the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) ruled in an action brought by the VZBV before the court in early 2010 that it was permissible that an account required to use a software product is not transferable. Due to the judgment of the ECJ, which affirmed the resale of used software, the VZBV now sees an approach by the courts and possibly the BGH, to reassess the situation. Thus, the consumer rights would also be strengthened in the online games market.

          • P.Funk says:

            @TCM “The idea of ‘owning’ purely digital media that is totally unrestricted by any physical supply limit is ludicrous at best.”

            You mean about as ludicrous as the current state of “Intellectual Property” rights?

          • malkav11 says:

            No, I wouldn’t want a Gamestop-like used game market, because Gamestop’s model benefits exactly one entity: Gamestop. But that’s not the only way for reselling to operate, as we see if we look at eBay, Half-Price Books, Craigslist, Amazon Marketplace and other venues for used product. (All of which already resell physical media copies of PC games, where possible, and have for years.)

          • Josh W says:

            I don’t think ownership is at all ludicrous, reproduction doesn’t change the fact that at least one copy is owned by you.

            “this is my game, there are many like it but this one is mine…”

      • D3xter says:

        Just because Valve or other companies argue that you don’t “own” something you’ve paid money for doesn’t make it so and doesn’t take your state-given rights away from you in favor of some company.

        A lot of people seem to be confusing restrictions bound in Copyright law preventing you to make additional copies of software to resell them, rights for distribution, including similar related rights like changing parts of code then giving it out as your own and making money off of it that are entirely unrelated to any licensing rights (they would apply just as much without ANY sort of EULA or ToS saying so) with the inherent ownership rights over the one copy that you buy and do own.

        They also plan to take it as far up as that very same “asinine and out of touch with reality” Supreme Court according to this:

        “According to the VZBV, they are seeking to take this as far as the Supreme Court in order to protect and strengthen the consumer rights within the digital distribution medium on a few conditions 1.) They feel it’s unfair that some products launch at full price but the consumer is unable to easily or conveniently refund or resell the product like any other consumer good on the market, such as a board game. 2.) The purposed technical hurdles put in place by digital distributors to prevent or prohibit the resale of digital software works against consumer interest for the long term and sustained growth of digital distribution (think 20 years from now where consumers will be tied by the balls by any and every major corporation who decides to jump into the digital game space with their own set of restrictions and purchasing conditions).”

        Fortunately for you that same “asinine” court has final word in the matter over the entirety of the EU and not Valve or any other (software) company.

        • HisMastersVoice says:

          Fortunately for you that same “asinine” court has final word in the matter over the entirety of the EU and not Valve or any other (software) company.

          That’s what I’m afraid of. That a bunch of EU bureaucrats with no clue as to what digital distribution is nor apparently with any basics in economics will tell us how we should be handling things. Like they often do. There are many things that EU does right, this is not one of them and I’ve briefly explained why a post or two above.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            EU Bureaucrats? No. Consumer rights!

            The right for second-hand sale in Europe is much older than Valve (I think it predates WW II) and it’s a right. The distribution rights (or lack thereof) imposed by these distribution models are against the law in many European countries. In fact, EU consumers have been getting the shaft by their politicians and bureaucrats in not seeing that right defended for them. If anything, it should be out politicians standing on that court house and answering for their apathy.

            That said, I do agree digital distribution requires a different set of laws that can somehow balance second-hand sale rights with this product apparent lack of value loss. Something we don’t have yet. But the solution is not remove that right.

          • theleif says:

            @Mario: “digital distribution requires a different set of laws that can somehow balance second-hand sale rights with this product apparent lack of value loss.”

            Just shooting from the hip now, but why not implementing something like the added fee on recordable media that goes to artists (or record labels) that exist right now? At every resale, the publisher/developer/store owner gets a (very) small percentage of the sale.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            I’m not sure. Never gave it a thought. In all honesty I don’t think i’m qualified to come up with a decent answer. But if we are only entertaining thoughts, I’d say the only entity allowed to take a share of the second sale would be the distributor channel since they are the ones implementing the necessary infrastructure for that sale and the transfer of registration to take place . The game creator has no saying on second sale happenings.

            The real problem here, It’s that digital content can be resold for all eternity. there’s no physical degradation of the product as discussed somewhere else on these comments. This creates an economical problem of a product that ends up generating more money between consumers than through the the established sales channel. I’m pretty sure this can greatly devaluate a product and companies would be forced to lower their prices greatly to remain competitive at the face of this parallel market. This would mean yeah the game creator and the publisher should also get a share of the second sale. But what percentage exactly? It’s one thing when we are discussing music sales that don’t generate much money individually. A typical song alredy sells for a very low price out of the poublisher. It’s another thing to discuss a game that is today being sold for $60. The fact it can be resold will force that price to go down or companies risk lower sales. The problem is that a meager percentage of the second sale will not help alleviate the company losses.

            The solution should instead be somewhere on the realm of structural solutions. For instance, the game creator and the publisher have no right to a percentage of the second sale. But by law a second sale can only happen once per registration key, for instance. That is, you limit the second sale reach and potential to circle the whole consumer base.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Far more interesting is this story regarding Valve’s policy of regional pricing discrimination within the EU:
      http://steamunpowered.eu/eu-commission-explains-pricing-availability-and-more/
      I’m looking at it with my normal human eyes, but I think it needs the cold steely stare of a lawyer to properly divine what it means. I *think* it means that it is up to individual member states to enforce this aspect of European law.

    • wodin says:

      I remember when there was a second hand rack at Game etc..I think you should be able to sell\trade or give away the games you own..

    • D3xter says:

      For that matter I love how these threads/discussions and basically most of the other content that even has a bit of criticism against Valve are predictably closed, or sometimes even disappear entirely without any comment or reason on the Steam forums (can’t possibly discuss anything related to Steam there as long as it has any negative angle to it xD)
      http://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/0/864958451452333900/
      http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3070577

      The forum moderators are a bunch of Steam fanboys given carte blanche to do anything they like and legitimized by Valve. As such they eliminate any dissent. It’s like its own little censorship regime. :P

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Its usually like that everywhere. Take a look at RPS own statement at the top of every comment box on this site.

        The good thing is that just a whole bunch of nothing and makes them just look bad on the picture. It doesn’t stop people from commenting about it on other public channels. I’m always thrown back to TrueCrypt horrendous forum policy. The fact they don’t allow people to even discuss bugs on the forums didn’t stop Peter Kleissner from developing an exploit and present it at the most prestigious security conference in the world.

  19. HothMonster says:

    “There should be this publishing model – and yes you have to worry about viruses and malware and stuff like that – but essentially anybody should be able to publish anything through Steam”

    I think this would be a big problem. If a game appears on steam I at least know it’s safe. I would hate looking through 5 pages of DMC: Devel May Cry; DMC: Devil Miy Cry; DMC: Devil May Ciy trying to find the one that is an actual game and not a virus. Not to mention just the torrent of crappy “my first game” titles like what flooded greenlight

    I think a better solution would be to leave the Steam Store as it is and also run a Steam Flea Market that anyone can post their game to. Much like greenlight now just instead of posting a plea for the game you can post the actual game and valve can still move stuff to the official store.

    This would leave the safe curated market for those who appreciate the bonuses of a curated store but also allow anyone to say “hey check out my game on steam.” This may mean that a lot of users never go to the flea market side of things and you might say that the whole point is to get more games into steam proper so they get more visibility. But opening the floodgates on steam proper will just end up drowning out the good games in junk imo. It would no longer give that amazing sales boost to indies because that special effect of getting your game on steam is washed away when it’s next to My First RPG and Cat Raping Simulator 2027.

    Steam makes indies sell well because appearing on the store front page means something and users see that as an indicator of quality level or at the very least, safety. Taking away that seal of approval remove any advantage of being on steam.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      So much agree.

      I like the flea market idea.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      I think by “you have to worry about viruses” he means that “as a company, this means that the provider (valve) has to worry about virues”. I could be wrong, but primarily he’s talking about “what works as as business model. And the “you” is mostly “the company operating this business model. So he just would plainly mean that Valve would then have to start doing some sort of scanning and flagging technology.

      Separately, this talk of steam being usable by anyone doesn’t *sound* like anyone putting stuff on the Steam store front page, but rather anyone using the steam delivery technology on their own page selling their own stuff, so you would maybe still have the same level of quality expectation (for whatever it is worth) for the page you’ve traditionally used.

      At least, that’s how I read all this.

      • malkav11 says:

        Also, I think a lot of the content discovery issue arguments come from the current state of the Steam Store where browsing is far more difficult than it should be, so you either have to search for something specific that you have in mind already (by title) or you have to monitor the front page for new/on sale games. If Steam’s searching and browsing functionality were dramatically more robust, it would not be nearly as big a deal to have an open door policy for new content.

  20. Onaka says:

    Hot damn, I want all my videos to begin with a minute and twenty seconds of Gabe Newell looking utterly bored while someone name drops various things nobody cares about.

  21. Yoshis95 says:

    Man that video is hard to stop watching, so much information and history

  22. wodin says:

    Sounds great in theory..but I’d imagine you’d never find anything you want due to loads upon loads of rubbish..also some gems will get lost within it I’m sure.

    I think maybe an independent committee should be set up who evaluate a game first…also that they be specialists in the genre..i.e five wargamers decide on wargames..five Simmers of SIms..five FPS..on FPs etc etc..

  23. Emeraude says:

    Fascinating watch – as almost always with Mr. Newell in such circumstances (I may dub him “The Enemy”, but at least it’s an enemy I can respect).

    The things that keeps me thinking about that new model he’s proposing here is, unless he has some new genius structural agency he hasn’t discussed yet for it, the level of integration with the software frame-work, and the level of control though it Valve would need just to account, measure and channel value within would be quite simply reaching totalitarian level were we speaking of a state.

  24. Joshua Northey says:

    Honestly I like the curation,and would miss it badly if it was gone. I guess I wouldn’t mind if they went to a two tier model where there was the “curated store” and the “state of nature/wildlands store”

    I doubt I would ever shop at the uncurated store.

  25. Nick says:

    Hmm, no thanks.

  26. PopeRatzo says:

    I’m OK a curated store, as long as I trust the curator.

    Until they disappoint me, I will continue to trust Valve and Steam.

    • Moraven says:

      And greenlight allows the stuff people want that Valve may not get to fast enough. Keep improving Greenlight and the system works great.

    • Consumatopia says:

      It seems weird to me to trust the curator when the curator himself doesn’t want to be a curator anymore.

      I mean, I’ve found myself in other discussions saying “dang I wish Steam worked like blah blah blah”, where blah blah blah turned out to be pretty close to what the Gabe himself just said in the video up there.

      If you trust Valve so much, you should trust their new direction.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        “If you trust Valve so much, you should trust their new direction.”

        Careful! Put trust only on that you know. Not on that you have yet to understand. One reason companies that were once trusted ended up losing that trust is exactly because they decided to change something about them and it ended up being a bad decision. Valve is not immune to bad decisions that may cost their future.

        I trust Valve today. But that doesn’t mean I put my trust on Valve.

        • Consumatopia says:

          Okay, but now we’re in Liar Paradox territory–Valve is basically telling you they don’t want you trust them, at least not to curate. So you don’t trust them…which means that you trust them…head asplode!

          • Emeraude says:

            Trusting their intentions, and trusting the results of their actions are two different things. One may trust Valve only wishes to do well, yet not trust the changes they want to implement will have the results they expect.

  27. tkioz says:

    On one hand I say it’s a good idea, letting more and more people on steam… on the other hand it’s a TERRIBLE IDEA. Just look at all the utter crap on most app stores… there needs to be someone weeding out the shit, otherwise the value of Steam (games don’t need stuffing around to get working, one click installs, etc.) is gone.

  28. Moraven says:

    Only way it would work by Valve out would require a good recommendation on the front page (like Netflix).

    Apple picks and curates what gets promoted. If you allowed everything on Steam, there would be to many things to promote. That would require some curation still.

  29. karthink says:

    This is one of the less interesting things he said in the video. Towards the end, he talks about how video games are kinda showing the way for many other industries, which is fascinating. And his economics talk–oh, I could listen to it all day.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Actually I found that last part the typical self-importance speech we can live without. It’s more marketing talk than economics. Every successful business practice thinks they are key to the success of others. It’s the business equivalent of reading “How I got rich and you can do it too”.

      In the surface it all appears to make sense. Sure, other businesses can imitate this or that model! Sure, they will become successful! Sure, success is that simple! Wait…

      Live enough in your bubble and soon you’ll think the world looks just like it.

  30. Rapzid says:

    Very interesting talk. I can’t stop thinking about how these notions of productivity and lack of an internal hierarchical structure would stack up in the “real world” though. On one hand it makes some sense.. But is it the same kind of sense that cult leaders make with their half truths and smooth talking? On the other hand, it sounds like pie in the sky talk. Valve is an outlier company that has a gold mine in it’s basement. Akin to Apple’s(current) position with the app store and the iPhone. How well would these ideas work for companies who need to, you know, make games or other products on a regular basis to stay in business?

  31. zeroskill says:

    Your beard really suits you Gabe. Do not shave.

  32. Delusibeta says:

    Honestly, I’d far rather see Valve nick the Humble Store’s business model: have a widget for a game’s site that says “buy this on Steam”, send them through the checkout, Valve takes their cut, and once you get on the other side the game is now in your Steam account. However, it’s still not on the Steam Store itself, so Greenlight is still relevant.

  33. BlackAlpha says:

    About the Eden that some people talk about. Basically, one one hand there are people who lack initiative and are unlikely to do things on their own, those people need someone to boss them around to work effectively. On the other side of the spectrum are people who show a lot of initiative and can work independently if need be, those people need freedom to work more effectively. Then there are people in between. Judging by Gabe’s story, I assume Valve only hires people who are on the initiative side of the spectrum.

    Well, whatever the case, I’m now convinced Valve got some big, long-term plans. I already guessed so when they told us about Big Picture. Then like a year later they tell us they are working on an open system console. And all these years there’s all this new community-driven stuff coming to Steam. And now this talk about how they don’t want to throw everything in the users’ faces but instead give them the tools slowly and gradually and make them adjust.

    I wonder what the details are that we still don’t see that would make all of the things he said make perfect sense. Right now I’m basically imagining a Youtube for all sorts of software, but a lot more community driven.

    By the way, he seems like a pretty cool guy. I’d love to drink a beer with him and talk about stuff. I got to put that on my todo list: “Grab a beer together with Gabe.”

  34. checkthisout says:

    Is it just me or do Gabe’s random ramblings in the last 10 minutes make any sense at all?

    That aside, I find it interesting how – in the usual admiration of the greeeaaat American Entrepreneur – nobody dares to ask the question how exactly Valve differs from the pretty comparable Apple closed ecosystem, where the users are held hostage and each and every transaction (i.e. store->user or even user-user) grants them a 10-30% share (see the new Steam Market, where players trade virtual goods for REAL money, no barter anymore).

    If an economy is set up so every time a product is traded Valve makes money on it, Valve literally can’t lose… it’s like a fucking Casino, except the bank wins every single round!
    And then there is the lock-in effect: With each game and Steam friend you add, you are locked in harder and harder until there is no way out of that ecosystem anymore, because you’d leave ALL your years of purchases and acquaintances behind.

    Does that still sound friendly?

    Valve owns a life-stock of over 50 mio players and the funny thing is that they don’t even have to come up with good ideas or great games anymore – they will indefinitely profit from other people having them and taxing the shit out of the upcoming successes.

    Why do these new virtual stores (i.e. apple, google, amazon, steam) remind me of the infamous old protection money scheme run by the Mafia?

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      There are definite similarities, but also non-similarities.

      You can sell a product both on and off steam and Valve won’t complain.
      There isn’t a totally captured target platform.

      But it’s still an interesting question to ask, though I think not really very much related to the topic area of the rest of the talk.

  35. enobayram says:

    I think I’m growing an unhealthy fondness for Steam and Gabe Newell

  36. Mitza says:

    That part about users creating their own stores makes sense, as that is happening already. We are buying games because a friend or a blog we follow recommended it, and we buy games that come with a x% price off coupon from one site or another.

    I mean, I can totally see the RPS Steam store taking off quite fast, curating valuable AAA games and potentially awesome (but unknown) indie games.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      Maybe YOU buy games because a friends or website recommend it, but I buy games because I have an interest in it- sale or no (a sale is just a sweet deal if it ever happens on a game I happen to be buying).

      Freakin’ Sheeple. Maaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

  37. furikaju says:

    Bryson. I agree that Jeffery`s blurb is super… last monday I bought themselves a Toyota after having made $9349 this – 5 weeks past and-also, $10k this past munth. without a doubt it is the most-comfortable job Ive ever had. I started this 7-months ago and straight away started bringing in more than $73 per/hr. I follow instructions here,, http://www.Cloud65.com

  38. c4h5n2o1 says:

    Can somebody grab the frame from the vid where it looks like Gabe is cradling a giant hotdog/daschund? I need to make a TF2 spray.

    • DestroyYourEgo says:

      Oh, don’t lie- you just want to see him stuff a wiener in his mouthhole, you sick freak!

      If this were real life, I’d point and laugh here.

  39. CodeineFiend says:

    I live a few blocks from here and when I saw this article I was so disappointed I hadn’t heard about it.

  40. DestroyYourEgo says:

    Wait- that’s Gabe Newell?

    I thought this was an article about Randy Newman.

  41. arpkahn670 says:

    Well yes greenlight hasn’t worked too well, I think that the idea of making steam completely open is very bad. If steam were to become an open network API, just think about all the shit that would come flooding in, it would probably be as bad as the XBLA indie game section. Yes valve needs to find a method of allowing games onto steam that isn’t quite as restrictive as greenlight, but this would only ruin steam. Also, why would any company ever give up something that makes as much money as steam?

  42. DestroyYourEgo says:

    Good ol’ Gabe- he literally is the gaming Gandolf. “Low, he has spoken- the Steam is open to all!”