Print 115 comment(s) - last by johnsmith9875.. on Oct 19 at 10:06 AM

  (Source: Haloz)
"They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people's access to those things"

You may recall that top video game maker Valve Corp., makers of the Half-LifeCounterstrikePortal, and Left 4 Dead series, as well as the hit video-game distribution client Steam, recently aired some of its titles on Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) Mac computers for the first time following some teasers.

But while Valve now is vending products for Apple's personal computer platform, it appears like there's little love between the firms.  Valve president and owner Gabe Newell blasted the Cupertino tech giant for its dictatorial approach to the mobile market.

He comments, "I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear.  I'm worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going - there's going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say 'I'm tired of competing with Google, I'm tired of competing with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'"

He continues, commenting that Apple has the "wrong philosophical approach" in its closed model.  

He adds, "I consider Apple to be very closed.  Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 percent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 percent and they don't care that you only have 7 percent to play with." 

To be fair, Valve might be being a bit hypocritical here as its Steam is also a closed platform, as the interviewer challenged.  Mr. Newell brushed this question aside, saying that while Steam isn't free, Valve does offer much free engine code and other tools to developers.

David Bluhm, president and chief executive of game company Z2Live, a mobile-focused gamemaker, jumped to Apple's defense after Mr. Newell's remarks, commenting, "I would argue Apple's system is very open but very proprietary ... it's open with their rules."

Source: TechNW: Best and worst of times for games, Valve vs. Apple

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By Sahrin on 10/13/2011 11:39:31 AM , Rating: 2
Right sentiment from the wrong person. Apple sucks; but given the price fight they're having with EA (good God I can't believe I'm taking EA's side in a fight with Valve) which amounts to "You can only sell content on our terms in Steam" I don't really think Gabe has a place to be telling Apple off. Certainly there is a difference of order of magnitude, but Valve is a budding monopolist as well. Show Apple how it's done, Gabe - open up Steam.

RE: Eh...
By HrilL on 10/13/2011 12:32:32 PM , Rating: 3
They may becoming a monopoly but they're not abusing it. Steam has the lowest prices to buy games from what I've seen. I see cheap prices for games as good for consumers. Vavle also gives away some of their games for free. Like TF2 for example. Valve is moving to an in game content model for making money and giving their games away for free. I support Valve more than any other publisher. They're the only ones that actually understand what gamers/consumers want.

RE: Eh...
By Lonyo on 10/13/2011 5:55:34 PM , Rating: 2
Try looking harder.

Just an example of where someone asks about a game (on Steam) and people point out where it can be hard for less (from non-Steam sources), even though it REQUIRES Steam.

Steam prices are terrible except when there's a sale on. And even then it's touch and go for many titles, especially outside the US.

RE: Eh...
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 7:21:54 PM , Rating: 4
It really depends. The bundle sales Steam has during mid-summer and the holidays are ridiculous. Probably half the games in my Steam library were bought from their Christmas sales.

RE: Eh...
By TakinYourPoints on 10/15/2011 2:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm also generally fine paying Steam's higher prices. The few extra bucks I spend means I don't have physical media or keys to deal with, and I get auto-patching. All of this makes Steam purchases well worth it.

I don't really sell old games so if I could buy digital copies of console games on say one that I know I'm going to keep, I'd do that as well. I hope this is more common by the time the next-gen consoles roll around, right now you have to wait 6-9 months minimum to see a AAA game hit digital distribution on XBL.

RE: Eh...
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 6:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
Look, I LOVE Steam, but I don't have blinders either. They are a business, not a charity.

Vavle also gives away some of their games for free. Like TF2 for example.

They did this because selling weapons and cosmetics is way more profitable than selling the game by itself. Like, insanely profitable. Some weapon bundles cost more than TF2 ever did by itself. By making TF2 free they opened themselves up to a never ending stream of revenue from the Mann Store.

League Of Legends does the same thing. It may be free for many people, but many also spend far more than the $40 they otherwise would have if the cost was up front. Riot makes a fortune selling characters, skins, and XP/IP boosts.

Free to play is not a charity, it is insanely profitable when done properly.

RE: Eh...
By TSS on 10/13/2011 8:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
They're not really cheaper then just buying a game in a store here in europe on average. A big store hear nearby's usually cheaper because they buy in bulk, which steam can't really do. What they are really good with though are sales and specials.

For instance i bought civ 5 on steam, because they had an 75% off sale. good luck finding that kinda money off in any store, virual or real life. It was only for a day (or weekend), but it allowed me to pick up a good game at a small price. This way i've already spent more money on steam then in an real store the past few months, but i've gotten ten times the amount of games for it. simply through massive % off. I don't feel bad about buying it at such a low price because they offer it at such a low price, but still imo it's a bit much.

I still check the steam store often for daily sales and such. But if valve wants me to starts shopping there on a more regular bases, they can start with knocking off 10% across the board. Otherwise i'll just walk to the store and get a physical copy.

RE: Eh...
By TakinYourPoints on 10/14/2011 6:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
I've actually rebought games I had physical copies of because Steam makes everything more convenient with its autopatching and not having to worry about registration keys.

Company Of Heroes is a perfect example. I rebought it on Steam only about six months after I bought the physical copy because it was such a patch nightmare (standard for Relic). Even after selling the physical copy it was still at a net loss for me, but I was fine with it, the benefit from Steam made it worth it.

The same applies to many other games I've rebought over the years, or when a game is cheaper (and non-Steamworks) via retail but I get it on Steam anyways because the service adds so much more.

DRM and lock-in is generally seen as a bad thing, but if the overall service is superior to the "open" alternatives then I'm ok with it. I don't use "closed system" as a pejorative when they are well executed, and the most popular ones are very good at this point.

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