Valve "Hates On" Apple at Conference
October 13, 2011 3:14 PM
comment(s) - last by
"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
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."
TechNW: Best and worst of times for games, Valve vs. Apple
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RE: a little different
10/13/2011 7:02:41 PM
Unfortunately it is also why developer support is relatively weak. I constantly hear from cross-platform mobile developers that iOS versions sell far more than their Android counterparts. Others see what's out there with Android and they just won't touch it.
With iOS and WP7 you have a defined set of devices and a good SDK. Android has neither. The only thing holding back WP7 development at this point is the low number of users, otherwise I'd put it on parity with iOS from a developer standpoint. Cost:benefit will get there if WP7 manages to sell.
From an enterprise standpoint Android makes even less sense due to the OS having no real emphasis on security, which further reduces application development in that specific area. That's a different topic of discussion though.
RE: a little different
10/15/2011 2:19:03 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not even saying apple doesn't have the right to do what they do. I am just saying that Valve has every right to be pissed if they get locked out of a big market. EA has the right to get mad if they get shut off steam.
I just won't buy into a closed proprietary system ever again unless there is no choice. That is my choice, and the the general consumer is very worried about it too. So far apple has allowed enough apps in that most people are content, but there have been apps kept out for no reason but to enforce apples control.
It is apples right, but it is fine line between controlling a system and alienating your customers. So far apple has done a good job of walking it without going too far over.
Steam has done nothing to cross it either.
RE: a little different
10/15/2011 7:03:42 PM
I completely understand where you're coming from. That said, the market has a tendency to shake itself out. Apple's application process was restrictive and it hurt them for a while with developers and customers. They loosened up policies several times and now they have by far the best app market out there. Steam making any such transgressions would also result in backlash and then adjustments.
XBox Live is an interesting case. XBox Live Arcade has very hostile certification and approval policies, and unlike iOS/Android/Mac/PC/PS3 it doesn't allow for cross-platform multiplayer. The difference is that people don't seem to have issue with this. I'm guessing its because whatever harm it causes for XBLA developers doesn't matter since most core 360 users are more concerned with playing the newest Call Of Duty or whatever. Same goes for cross-platform multiplayer since more people own 360s anyway. All that other stuff doesn't really matter as much.
Again, I get where you're coming from. I also don't think that closed-platforms can just run willy-nilly over their customers though. If they overstep lines then people will generally rebel or complain. It is happening to an extent with XBLA since those developers are favoring Windows/OSX and iOS development more and more, but again, it won't matter to Microsoft in the big picture since that is such a small concern compared to the huge numbers they get with the latest Call Of Duty or Halo game.
None of these other platforms have such massive individual titles to carry them in the same way. They rely on a variety of software that isn't necessarily exclusive, so even though they are closed they rely on being more amenable to customers.
Sorry, rambling post there. :)
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