What does Valve's partnership with Sony mean for the PS3?
If you haven't been living under a rock for the past year, you would know that Valve and Sony weren't exactly on "speaking terms". This is mainly because Valve found themselves unable to create ports of their games to the PS3 system, and were rather outspoken about the console's "faults". Quoting from Gabe Newell, he stated that the PS3 was: "A waste of time", and "A disaster on many levels". He even recommended that Sony should apologise for "making" developers work on it, and they should scrap it and do it over. As you can see, they weren't fans of Sony, and vice-versa. Speculations say that Gabe was bribed to say this, others just plain agree with the statement. Clearly Valve were unhappy with the PS3, and refused to develop for it, much to EAs annoyance. Valve were cornered by them, and this lead to the creation of The Orange Box on the PS3, but as you can already tell, many complaints arose, that it was glitchy, or not as graphically developed as other platform versions. Valve used this further to state that the PS3 couldn't "handle" their quality of games, while others proclaim that it was because EA rushed them to port it to the PS3. This is a different debate however, believe whatever version of this story you want. Nothing happened for a while, although there were rumors about some Valve games coming to the PS3, such as Left 4 Dead 2, since box art showing a PS3 version was on EAs website. It is unknown whether EA wanted L4D2 on the PS3, like how Dead Rising 2 was appearing on the platform, but it was clear that Valve didn't, since it never did come to the console.
This is all back-story though, the real shocker started at Sony's E3 Press Conference this year, where none other that Gabe Newell showed up on stage. He wasn't greeted with boos and jeers, strangely. Everyone knew he wouldn't walk into what he considered "enemy territory" if he didn't have something mind-blowing to say - and he didn't disappoint! Out of the blue, there and then, he announced that Portal 2 was coming to the PS3, and it would be the best version on any console! On top of that, he also announced the introduction of Steam Cloud into the Playstation. How or when Valve intend to do this is unknown yet, which has left sparks flying everywhere - after all, this was a pretty random and shocking event! But what could have possibly brought this on? I mean, it's not every day that someone as outspoken as Gabe Newell publically apologises and offers one heck of an offer to their sworn enemy! It took a lot of guts to do what he did, and now he is admired even by the people he lashed out to!
Again, here are some speculations I've gathered. One story is that Microsoft wanted to take things in another direction, and Valve were very unhappy about that, so in retaliation, they hit Microsoft hard by going to their nemesis and supporting them. Another theory is that Valve are running short on money after their projects, so to reel in a few bucks, they decided to temporarily team up with Sony to raise publicity and get more people on Steam. Of course, there is the one that Sony bribed Valve to come to the PS3, but I doubt this, seeing as they have had a less than friendly relationship, and won't be won over that easily. However, it doesn't matter why Valve chose to do this, although it has become a heated debate recently. What matters to Playstation users is that Steam is coming to their home console, but what changes and implications could this cause?
Well, for starters, the most obvious thing would be the ability to buy games from Steam, which could seem like a second PSN Store. There is also the feature that allows Playstation users to mingle with PC gamers, allowing the rare phenomenon of cross-platform gaming. There is also the added possibility that Steam will only be accessible with Playstation Plus, Sony's new paying service to enrich the average PS3 gamer's experience. Another thing could be that you may have to pay for it, like a second Playstation Plus, although it is doubtful. A lot of these suggestions are merely speculation, but a few have been confirmed for real. So I ask you, what features would you like to see come with Valve's big introduction with the Playstation? Do you see it happening with the Xbox 360 too?
Tell me what you think in the comments below!