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No Exclusive Killer Apps For SteamOS, Says Valve

Jonathan Lester
SteamOS, Valve

No Exclusive Killer Apps For SteamOS, Says Valve

Valve promises that they won't develop major exclusive titles for Steam OS, though other studios can independently decide to release solely on the upcoming Linux-based operating system.

Which means, basically, that Half-Life 3 won't be exclusive to the platform. If it ever releases at all that is.

“You won’t see an exclusive killer app for SteamOS from us. We’re not going to be doing that kind of thing," Valve's Greg Coomer told IGN.

“We believe that, in maybe five years from now, folks will find it a quite antiquated notion that you should assume that when you change devices or platforms, that you lose all of your other games and friends. We’re hoping to unify, to get Steam to be as platform and context agnostic as possible. You shouldn’t have to shed that every generation, or even slightly shed it.”

“It would be pretty silly” for developers “to limit their game to a certain platform," he concluded.

Good to know, since splitting the Steam client and SteamOS audiences is a surefire way to stir up some backlash.

Though both SteamOS and Valve's Steam Machines living room PCs are still months away from a full reveal (yet alone release), you can eyeball one here. Spoiler alert: it's a black box with vents in the top.

Somewhat off-topic: I've been recently thinking about whether Half-Life 3 will actually ever release. See, when you balance potential risk vs reward for Valve, you have to wonder whether the smart play would be to never release it at all. Valve's not exactly short of cash flow, after all, while the potential for disappointment and disillusionment has to be a worry. Just my own personal musings really - anyone want to engage on this slow news day?

Add a comment6 comments
Late  Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:33

I appreciate their argument against having exclusives on a Steambox that couldn't be played on a regular pc with steam - but that's as far as the argument goes and I don't think many folk were arguing the other side of that coin.

Releasing HL3 exclusively (timed or permanently) on Steam at the time the Steamboxes go on general release would've been a winning move though. Ditto Portal, and Team Fortress.

People will be much more inclined to fork out for a new "console" if it's got something they can't get on their current console(s). And getting Steambox into as many front rooms as possible has to be their number one priority in it's first year. As most pc gamers will attest, once it's there people will happily attempt to bankrupt themselves building up a back-catalogue of thousands of digital games they'll never get around to properly playing - and that's surely the backbone of Valve these days. Get something that has pretty much zero production/distribution cost per unit and sell it dirt-cheap in the tens of millions.

As for the argument we might never see Half Life 3 because it might disappoint, there's definitely merit to it - but I think it'd sell ridiculously well even if it was awful (and the chances are it wouldn't be awful). If it were a 7 outta 10 game people would be disappointed at that, but the overall "it's good, but doesn't excite like it'd predecessors" argument would still mean it'd sell like hot cakes. Fingers crossed it'd be a 9 or 10 out of 10, of course.

DivideByZero  Nov. 5, 2013 at 12:14

Valve have already lived quite a harsh backlash when they released Steam, I am sure they are just not wanting to repeat that.

When Steam came out, it was seen as an overly harsh DRM that offered no benefits and only drawbacks compared to the usual CD Key security and meant you were locked to a game forever and effectively ended used PC games sales.

It took time for the Steam Client to get good and people to come round to loving it instead of hating it.

I am sure Valve would not want to have to go through all of that again with the Steam OS when it is so easy to avoid.

davidpanik  Nov. 5, 2013 at 12:54

I think that is a very sensible decision.

googleberry  Nov. 6, 2013 at 00:06

My take is Steam, SteamOS and Steambox are all part of a widergaming licensing strategy that will last way beyond the shelf life of a single console: the major benefit new Steambox customers will get for entering the world of Valve and PC gaming will not be Steambox exclusives, but the ability to keep and play their purchased games on this thing called Steam FOREVER. Much unlike the MS/Nintendo and Sony consoles they have been used to. I am not sure a Steambox is designed for PC gamers at all, being the opinionated lot they are about their rigs (and i count myself among them).

What I think Valve are trying to do is to open the door for consumers outside the hardcore PC faithful to enter into their closed market eco-system. Once the consumer is "in" so to speak, and having inevitably bought a backlog of games they cannot possibly finish via numerous Steam sales, those new customers will have made a very strong commitment and will be lifelong customers (who wants to discard their steam collection for consoles once accumulated?). Thus, an exclusives based strategy, as employed by Sony and MS would actually work against Valve because it dilutes the purity of this model.

Rubisco  Nov. 6, 2013 at 03:08

Valve are the alpha male of the gaming world, why would they engage in such supplicating beta behaviour as courting exclusive games? Let M$ and Sony prance about screaming "Love me!", while Valve sits back, calm as the damn breeze. They got game.....s

Late  Nov. 6, 2013 at 09:55

Fair point googleberry.
I think I'm firmly in Valve's crosshairs. I don't really do pc gaming, I play on my console(s) a lot, and I'm jealous of the fantastic deals pc gamers get on steam.
Deals so good I buy them even though I rarely go near my pc, and have never downloaded/installed steam!

I've just checked and I've got at least 28 steam games - and that's just the stuff I could readily spot in my inbox. I'm sure there's more. I appreciate most pc gamers would laugh at such a small catalogue, but it's a lot for someone who'll probably never even download the client.

If I ever get a steambox or decide to download steam to my pc I'm sorted for a while, though. There's some b1oody good games in my catalogue ;)

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