Bang The Drum: Portal 2 Did Best On PC

It did best on PC because console gamers are tooooo stoooooopid loooooooool. That is my reasoned argument.

So says Gabe Newell, as part of a long and fascinating interview at Gamasutra about Valve’s current state of play. Of their recent games’ commercial success he claims that “We can never predict; I mean we just try to build good games and then we tend to be surprised. Portal 2 did better on the PC than it did on the consoles; Left 4 Dead did better on the consoles than it did on the PC.”

He seems pretty philosophical about this: “We’ve never had a situation where we said, “We really, really want to build something that is more popular for the console guys. Because usually we have a bunch of other higher priority problems we want to solve. So we’re glad that people want to play our games wherever they want to play.”

I shall be less philosophical, and more crudely celebratory: hooray for PC games!


  1. Chuck84 says:

    Splendid news. However I fear an influx of insecure pc gamers lining up to show how stupid this proves console gamers are, since Portal 2 is a more cerebral game than Left 4 Dead.

    • Choca says:

      I don’t know, shooting zombies in the head feels pretty cerebral to me (and to them).

    • Schelome says:

      Also, its not like portal 2 was a great mental challange, look there is a portalable are there, and another there. There are no other ones in this entire test. Maybe I should put my portals there?

    • shoptroll says:

      Bah. Foiled again!

    • yutt says:


      Well at least you are mature enough not to stereotype groups like insecure PC gamers based on the type of technology they play games on.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @ Schelome

      I keep hearing this criticism, and the people making it always seem to conveniently leave out the fact that portals are just one small part of the game, and that there are a whole bunch of other puzzle mechanics.

      The argument that the game is dumbed down is just ridiculous. It’s generally way more complex and difficult than Portal, even if that still leaves it a bit on the easy side.

    • Barnaby says:

      Split screen is awful. It boggles my mind that anyone enjoys playing that way. The last (possibly only) fond memory I have of split screen is Perfect Dark on N64.

      *Snap, reply fail. Imagine this is at the bottom of the next post.*

    • Jahkaivah says:

      Not to mention co-op, having to not only solve much more complicated puzzles but also explain your solution to your partner is a whole differant ball game.

  2. Choca says:

    That’s weird, since Portal 2 is pretty much the same game on PC and consoles while Left 4 Dead is much better on PC than on consoles.

    • Balobam says:

      Yeah but, most people that play those games on consoles either don’t PC game, or have shitty computers, in which case they have no clue what they’re missing out on.

      We on the otherhand have the curse of knowing the full potential of a game, so when we play it on a console it just doesn’t feel right, and possibly lacking.

    • Chuck84 says:

      On the consoles you can play split-screen though. If you have a friend with another copy and the bits needed, you can play 4 player local co-op, which is tremendous fun. L4D’s better on PC technically, but TS isn’t a match for a big couch of people.

    • Balobam says:

      Actually, with Valve games, if you screw around with some config file you can activate split-screen on the PC.

      link to

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      Yep I’ve played L4D split screen very successfully on PC.

    • Kaira- says:

      L4D demo on PC had the option of split-screen without console commands, but it was cut from the full release for some reason.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      @Kaira – It’s still there in the full version, and L4D2 I believe.

    • Joshua says:

      That still leaves the question why it was not included in the main menu. It is weird that the PC is treated unfairly in this case.

    • mechabuddha says:

      Splitscreen is a huge bonus for me. My wife and I like to play games with each other — why should we have to buy 2 copies of a game when we’re sitting right next to each other? I was glad that Portal 2 and the Left 4 Dead games had it, but was upset that it was so difficult to use. Just because I’m a PC user doesn’t mean I play by myself or only online.

  3. Hideous says:

    What a coincidence! I purchased this fine electronic entertainment package for my personal computing device, as well! Splendid news.

  4. HalNeinThousand says:

    Very good news, although this might also hold true because Portal 1 was only available in the Orange Box on consoles, and the PC version was distributed for free during one week.

    • Shark says:

      Portal 2

    • Balobam says:

      At a guess I’d say he’s referencing Portal as a lot more PC gamers played it, rather than console gamers, so they were actively excited and waiting for Portal 2, whereas a lot of console gamers probably didn’t even know it existed until the ads for it were broadcast

    • Shark says:

      Ah, that makes sense

    • Choca says:

      @Balobam : “whereas a lot of console gamers probably didn’t even know it existed until the ads for it were broadcast”

      Yeah, I doubt that. I mean the whole “cake is a lie” overhyped meme was pretty much impossible to avoid for almost three years.

    • Balobam says:

      Yeah true, but if Facebook is anything to go by, half the people that use don’t even know what it is they’re referencing, but just say it because it’s so LOL RANDUM XD.

      I don’t even get how or why it became a meme, it was never intended to be funny in the first place

    • Aemony says:


      It was at first used merely as a reference and an insider quote by us, the fans of the game. Saying “The Cake Is a Lie” was a way to communicate with other Portal fans, as only they would understand the meaning. This was then done on random places, such as YouTube and the like….

      The problem was, as it ever is, the mainstream… The mainstream was unable to comprehend the meaning behind the quote and as such read something in it which we did not. They then continued on repeating our behaviour and when the quote suddenly had countless of meanings EVERYONE used it…

      I like the quote, but I hate those whom have only used it due to its popularity. I still only use it as a qenuine communication to other Portal fans, no matter how tarnished it becomes by the countless of mindless drones.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That mainstream, man. *adjusts witty-phrase T-shirt and thick-rimmed spectacles*

      Rather, people who endlessly quote “funny” things to associate themseleves with actual good humour by that little glimmer of familiar recognition will eventually destroy it. See: Monty Python. PARROT IS DEAD LOL.

      You could even say that it was some kind of shame.

    • Bilbo says:

      Yeah, when they do it they’re being mainstream retards who don’t get it, but when you do it you’re “legitimately communicating” (communicating what, exactly? that you’ve played a game that another person has played? good for you. you can expect a telegram from the queen any day now.)

  5. NaN says:

    I still cant believe L4d made it better in console than PC, If you check the numbers back in the day, the number of steam users and Versus match going on, and compare to the games you could find in xbox live back then, is ridiculous.

  6. Bilbo says:

    …We know, you already covered this.

    link to


    • LionsPhil says:

      Damn, beaten to being a “deja vu” smartarse.

    • Bilbo says:

      Not being a “smartarse”, just pointing out that we’ve already been told this once. It’s irritating getting the same story repackaged. Like being on one of those other, lesser sites.

      If I had said “deja vu”, I would’ve been being a smartarse, as you said. I didn’t, so that’s still up for grabs – go, go!

    • Alegis says:

      This is a separate opportunity to celebrate PC gaming.

      Yay PC Gaming!

      I suppose I can understand why L4D did so well on consoles, but it’s really a game suited for play by PC communities (in for example steam groups). L4D2 is atrocious with pubbies, it’s a world of difference to play with friends/forum acquaintances.

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:

      Cool! I unblock a guy for one comment, just to see if he’s changed, and he gives me three whole helpings of aggressive, pointless negativity.

      Well done!

    • Bilbo says:

      Neither aggressive nor negative. In what way is saying “Hmm, you guys can do better than this” a negative thing? And how was I aggressive?

      Block me again, because I don’t want to talk to you. You’re aggressive and negative.

  7. soylentrobot says:

    I never liked L4D. If felt such a spammy game. the game spammed zombies as you and you spammed bullets back

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I agree. It just didn’t seem like there was very much in the way of tactics – just shoot and sprint. I wish someone would make L4D meets Project Zomboid – the intensity of first person perspective, with some actual survival elements for once.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      Why can’t you just talk to the monsters?

    • Bungle says:

      You’re supposed to play Versus, not co-op. Then you’ll begin to understand the true beauty that is L4D(2). It is a super competitive game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Except versus is just “legitimized greifing mode” with long spawn timers.

    • Glycerine says:

      I disagree entirely, 8-way versus (mainly on Campaign or Scavenge, although the others are pretty decent too) with people you know manages to be both intensely competitive and often completely ridiculous. Hilarity and brilliant war-stories ensue, in my experience.

      I guess it’s probably not so good if one team is significantly above the other in skill level (so either the specials become minor annoyances, or the survivors get obliterated a few metres from their spawn), but i think that’s probably the case in any game – calling it legitimised griefing is probably a bit harsh.

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      Of course, you can play something like Kokiri Forest campaign and have the focus change from shootin’ men to surviving while you figure out how you solved all of these goddamn puzzles thirteen years ago.

  8. Renfield says:

    I think Portal is a pretty quintessential (mainstream) PC ‘concept’ game, now with co-op; whereas L4D is by definition a co-op shooter – i.e. console territory, nowadays.

    Still, hurray for PC games! *waves mouse*

  9. Askeladd says:

    Isn’t it a bit pretentious of Gabe Newell to say:
    “We can never predict; I mean we just try to build good games and then we tend to be surprised. Portal 2 did better on the PC than it did on the consoles; Left 4 Dead did better on the consoles than it did on the PC.”
    He makes it sound like they don’t have a “complete” project schedule.
    “We just program this game here and then slap this on this or this.”
    I’m probably doing him injustice right now.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Valve are a pretty extreme example of anything in terms of how development normally works. I don’t know if it’s pretentious or simply recognising that Valve are unlike most other companies.

    • Theory says:

      Have you not noticed that Valve’s game take forever to make and are always delayed?

      Read this interview from “I am really surprised you don’t aggressively pursue the engine licensing business” onward.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Doesn’t sound pretentious to me, it sounds very intellectually humble. A pretentious person would say “We designed L4D from the ground up to target the console market and BAM it worked. Because we’re awesome and smart and understand the market completely.” Well, they probably wouldn’t use those exact words, but you catch my drift.

  10. Arithon says:

    I think maybe the whole “Playstation network was down” did a lot of damage to MP games during the Portal 2 release period.
    That said, it was just a better game with a keyboard and mouse. Controllers are so “special needs”…

    • SLeigher says:

      My roommate and I played coop splitscreen on the pc with me using the 360 controller and him using kb+m and i was finding it incredibly difficult to pull off the quick shots even though there’s hardly any in portal 2

    • soldant says:

      I think that’s the key point; playing a game like Portal with sticks is probably a bit too difficult for a lot of people. It’s one of the situations where mouse aiming dominates.

    • Eclipse says:

      @soldant: mouse aiming dominates in every situation I can think off actually

    • Outright Villainy says:

      I found the controller perfectly serviceable in Portal 2. There was absolutely no trick jumps like the first game, and there was never a point where I felt limited by it. Obviously it would have been easier with a mouse, but the controller was definitely sufficient.

    • Rii says:

      Of course gamepads work fine for Portal 2: the game was built around their limitations.

  11. Sorvin says:

    I wonder though if the numbers on PC is higher due to the PS3 activations on Steam or if PC actually did sell better unit-wise.

  12. Joe Duck says:

    I think the obvious needs to be stated again, so I’ll do it: Portal 2 is awesome.

  13. surv1vor says:

    I bought the PS3 version actually, but only for when playing splitscreen co op, otherwise I always use my PC, wouldn’t have touched if it weren’t for the free PC copy.

  14. Nallen says:

    So this is a repost of a repost then.

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah… Was wondering that myself. Thought the interview looked familiar. And it did, because the Hivemind posted it a few days ago, in the article on “Valve’s business plan: Don’t eat too many of those giant Pink cookies suck!” Either, there is a problem with the concurrency substrate matrix of the Hivemind, and the coordination homologate is broken… or, they’ve been paid massive amounts of those giant Pink cookies moneys to “pimp” this interview.

  15. Jimbo says:


  16. Sparks says:

    This is the kind of story that perpetuates the ‘PC gaming is dying’ idea. Hey guys, look! This one specific game sold better on PC than on consoles.

    This article should have been titled: ‘The exception that proves the rule’.

    If RPS exists to promote modern PC gaming, than this is exactly the wrong kind of news to be reporting on. As all it does is serve to highlight how few cross platform titles sell better on PC, leading many to misinterpret that as a harbinger of upcoming doom.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      “The exception that proves the rule.”

      Sweet Jesus I hate that phrase.

    • The Colonel says:

      Then YOU’re the exception that proves the rule

  17. boots says:

    While we’re talking about sales figures, was anyone else astonished to see that of the Witcher 2’s nearly 1m sales, only 20% were digital (link to ? I’d always assumed that for the last decade or so the lion’s share of non Sims/ Football Manager/WoW games were done digitally on the PC.

    • Urthman says:

      The Witcher 2 is on the shelves of every Wal-Mart and Best Buy in America. Amazon will ship a disc to your house faster than you can download it on most connections in this country.

      If you read an article about retail trends that mostly talks about stores like GameStop, the author has no clue.

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:

      Really? I thought Wal-Mart generally avoided games containing teh sex. Huh.

      Good to know that GameStop, which I imagine to be an even-worse version of EB Games, isn’t the colossus it’s made out to be.

  18. shoptroll says:

    Do the PC numbers include the licenses that were bundled with the PS3 version?

    • MeStinkBAD says:

      The game was pretty much identical regardless what platform you played on. I seriously wonder though… Gabe states that it “did the best” on PC. Well since the PS3 version includes a code that let’s you download the PC/Mac versions… and with the PS3 network down for a month the day after it was released, the only way people could play online multiplayer was thru the PC/Mac version. Of course once the network was back up, I certainly ran into more PS3 players than PC players while playing online.

  19. Bhazor says:

    One platform has a second hand industry. The other doesn’t.

    Also what Shoptroll said.

  20. ResonanceCascade says:

    I kinda have to wonder if the game underperformed a bit. When they say it sold three million copies it sounds like a big success, of course. But for a AAA game with a marketing budget of (I think I recall reading) $40 million, not to mention the production costs, I’d be surprised if it was a big money maker for them.

    Not that Valve is hurting for money.

  21. Yosharian says:

    L4D2 is absolute balls on console.

  22. fooga44 says:

    Left for dead was a first person shooter /w zombies, how many times have we done this on the PC? PC gamers have seen the rise of first person shooter games come to dominate the market, it could just be they get tired that every other game is a first person shooter unless there is some mitigating factor like the universe is the draw (mass effect).