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  (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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Steam is 40%
By jdietz on 10/13/2011 12:15:27 PM , Rating: -1
Valve is a platform owner too. Steam takes 40% of the sales cut.

Pot calls kettle black. Platform owners are always going to exert control. It's what they do.

RE: Steam is 40%
By DT_Reader on 10/13/2011 3:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
As others have pointed out, your assertion is incorrect. Steam is a delivery system, not a platform. The PC is the platform. Game developers can chose to not use Steam - indeed, they have to chose to use it. iOS developers have no choice. Xbox developers have no choice. Windows Phone developers have no choice. Windows 8 Metro developers will have no choice. Android and PC developers do have a choice, which is why PCs and Android devices are better platforms for consumers as well as for developers.

Note that when Windows 8 debuts, the PC platform starts to come under Microsoft's full control. I predict that by Windows 9 Steam will be knocked out (and Valve on the ropes), as you will only be able to buy Windows 9 (Metro) applications through the Microsoft store, and Steam will be seen by MSFT as a way to circumvent that store, so Steam will not be allowed on Windows 9. At that point, following MSFT's lead, Mac OSX software will only be available from iTunes. Note that new Macs don't even offer DVD drives - you're expected to load all your software and content from "the cloud." Guess who's cloud?

RE: Steam is 40%
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 5:46:07 PM , Rating: 1
Steam is a delivery system, not a platform. The PC is the platform.

Steam is actually very much a platform. Hardware isn't everything when defining one, you also have to look at the services in place to keep customers hooked in. Facebook succeeded over other social networking sites because it was highly extendable. This created a multitude of uses that fit the niche interests of many. Amazon is succeeding for the same reasons. Service and extendability. Both turned from products to platforms and this is why Steam is successful as well.

It not only provides a storefront, it also has social networking features, achievements (XBL's amazing contribution to keeping customers locked into a single platform), a place to upload screenshots and videos, and on and on. All of these services on top of their DRM serve to keep customers on Steam and away from other digital delivery platforms.

Steam is also trying to become hardware agnostic. They released on OS X last year and this year they released on PS3. If they could release on iDevices I know they would. It's hard to find a photo of Gabe without his iPad these days:

Anyway, hardware is one part of it all, but software as platform is also a very important concept. All innovation from Valve, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon has been in this area the last few years. Steam is very much a platform.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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