Valve "Hates On" Apple at Conference
October 13, 2011 3:14 PM
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"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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10/13/2011 8:03:41 PM
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.
10/14/2011 6:51:03 PM
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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