Why Steam Works: Valve Revitalizing PC Gaming

"We are talking about Valve becoming the platform holder and guardian of the PC as a gaming system over the next two years," says Stephen Gaffney, Business Development Manager of Splash Damage. The Enemy Territory: Quake Wars developer is responding to Valve's announcement of Steamworks, a suite of publishing apps that will enable developers and publishers to use Steam's many tools for free.

Valve is giving away the tools that make up 80-90% of Steam. With 15 million customers, their digital delivery platform has already taken on a life of its own: through it you can buy all of Valve's releases and over 250 third-party games, while it also takes care of multiplayer matchmaking, voice chat, stats collection, anti-piracy measures and sales tracking. Now they're going to give everyone in the industry the opportunity to use that functionality, solving at a stroke many issues that burn up development time, incur costs and hit sales. Steamworks could place PC gaming back at the forefront of the videogame world and make it a more viable platform than ever for developers to focus on.

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Bolts3836d ago

Who died and made Valve king? The day when Steam is "platform holder and guardian of the PC as a gaming" is the day when PC gaming dies. Thats not how PC gaming works, the PC doesn't need a central portal for games and community, even if its free. What make PC gaming is great are the options and how each dev can setup their own virtual shop.

And please shutup, the PC is not some weakling that need to be saved. Its a huge global gaming giant that squishes tiny little things like Live and the PSN without lifting a finger.

JsonHenry3836d ago

I agree with you man. At least the part about who died and made Valve king and the fact that the PC gaming is NOT and has never been on the decline. Go ask hardware, software, and Microsoft if the PC is a dead platform. They will laugh all the way to the bank!

But I DO love the STEAM service. I can't tell you how much I like it. It simplifies a lot of things to a point that even my father can use it as a gaming platform. (he uses it for the casual and indie games) Integrated voice chat, downloads, matchmaking, friends lists, IM, and server lists.. it is like Xbox Live. Only better. MUCH better.

I would like to see more servies like STEAM because I think it would be appealing to those poor console only guys (and girls) that don't know what they are missing. I don't mean that in a derogatory way either. I really want all those who say they prefer consoles to spend just one solid week playing the same games they love on the PC instead just to let them see what they are missing. Not saying they should never console game, just that there is a lot they are missing and I wish I could share my favorite platform with them.

Kinda like buying the world a coke, only more fun.

Gorgon3836d ago

"...I think it would be appealing to those poor console only guys (and girls) that don't know what they are missing. I don't mean that in a derogatory way either. I really want all those who say they prefer consoles to spend just one solid week playing the same games they love on the PC instead just to let them see what they are missing. "

Hum...I've been playing PC games for the last 20 years and I'm now in a transition phase to consoles, and quite honestly, I'm not missing anything on the PC. I'm quite more happy with my PS3 than I am with my high-end PC. When my gaming PC gets old, I'm not returning to PC gaming. But thats just me.

JsonHenry3836d ago

Gorgon, don't leave us man! Lol, seriously though. I have spent more time Console gaming than in my past as well. But mostly because consoles are more and more like a PC.

But now that I have a wireless KB+M and my PC hooked up to my HDTV I have been letting my consoles sit and collect dust a little more. I am kinda upset though, as my 360 that I bought on launch day is flashing three red lights at me... but it is because my daughter thought it would be fun to stand on it. Not the console itself.

I don't want anyone to think I am talking down to people who prefer consoles. I just want everyone to at least try PC gaming before writing it off completely as a lot of people on this site seem to do. Especially since PC gaming is more affordable than it has been in a long time.

Revvin3836d ago (Edited 3836d ago )

Gorgon> I was starting to feel the same way about not botherign to upgrade my PC but I do still love to play my racing and flight sims so until consoles can offer me that then I'll still maintain a PC for gaming though my current one is gettign a bit long in the tooth. Games like World of Warcraft, IL-2 and iRacing are helping to encourage me to stick with it though much of my gaming time is now given to the PS3. As a regular LAN party attender it came as a bit of a shock to me that I opted for the PS3 version instead of the PC one, I still shudder to think of what the hackers and cheats made of CoD2 and despite being a dyed-in-the-wool mouse and keys guy I've become pretty good on the joypad for FPS games.

I wonder if PC gamers would be willing to pay a little more if a small price increase to match that of say console games went towards funding a central quality control body for the PC format to raise the level of quality to somethign more akin to a console release title?

DeadlyFire3836d ago

I believe some would be willing to pay a little to get something like Live or PSN maybe with free server hosting, but it has to be kept open on the PC not closed in like on the consoles. If we want to run a script on a server we don't want it regulated by Microsoft. If we want to ban or kick someone on our server we should have that ability as well to be scripted and allowed if needed. I hear many complaints about online gaming on consoles about kids on Xbox Live. I would hate to have to deal with that constantly on the PC, but I know that some are already there as I see them in Counter-Strike sometimes. They can be muted though. :P

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Revvin3836d ago

I've been a PC gamer for 17 years and never thought I'd be spending so much time on the cosole formats as I have in the last two-three years. My reasons are mainly down to the multiplayer experience, less cheating is a big bonus but the way the unified friends list allows me to add existing friends and new ones just by looking through a list of players I've ecently met is a big selling point. It fosters a greater feeling of community to me as a player and I'd like to see something like that on the PC. yes we have messenging systems such as Yahoo, MSN, Xfire etc but the trouble is everyone is spread over too many different types of program. Now if its Valve or Microsoft that takes up the challenge of unifying PC gamers, it really doesn't matter to me but its something I'd like to see.

As a happy customer of Steam it wouldn't bother me if it was them who became the standard for online play but I still think the developers of PC games need to take things a step further and adhere to a common code of practice to meet quality standards. When these developers create games on the console format they have to adhere to quality controls set by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo yet on the PC there is none. All too often we see titles rushed out to meet the holiday seasons to maximise sales and all too often these games are bug ridden and not of suitable quality to be considered a BETA form. The console format is not patch free but the quality standards are much higher.

lsujester3836d ago

That is one of my biggest gripes with PC gaming compared to consoles... immediate patching. You know it's gotten really bad when there are patches available ON LAUNCH DAY!! It's just like the developers put a note on front of the case saying, "This game isn't complete, but we want your money anyway."

My other two gripes... the insane number of hackers in any competitive MP game, and the high expense of keeping up technologically.