The last time Valve released a proper game was four years ago. Left 4 Dead: Survivors found its way onto arcade cabinets in Japan and was a remastered and reskinned Left 4 Dead 2 made to appeal to Japanese audiences. In the interim there have been some collaborations with Valve’s developers and some third parties for fun little tie-ins, but nothing substantial. The company is poised to finally release another game called Artifact, Valve’s take on the digital card game genre with heavy inspiration from the DOTA series. But according to Gabe Newell, that’s not the only game coming from the company in the near future.
Yesterday at Valve’s new headquarters in Bellvue, Washington, Gabe Newell gave a short presentation to invited journalists to hear about what they were planning for the launch of Artifact, as well as Valve’s plans for the future. Newell spent quite a bit of time recapping Valve’s initiatives in SteamOS, SteamVR, and Steam Machines. The kind of platform they’re building with those three components is pretty important for Valve’s future, because it gives them an alternative platform to target in case things go sour with the Windows platform.
According to PC Gamer, Newell said that the move to supporting these initiatives, as well as supporting SteamVR and the HTC Vive headset was to push the industry in a different direction that was less like the walled garden approach Apple takes to their platform. Newell was quoted as saying, “You can see that Microsoft was like, wow, how can we make Windows more like that? Or Zuckerberg is saying, ‘well I tried to compete in the phones, I got my ass kicked, so I’m going to create this new thing, VR, which will allow me to recreate the kind of closed, high margin ecosystem that Apple’s done.’ And that really started to worry us, because we thought that the strength of the PC is about its openness … So we started to make some investments to offset that.”
Newell continued: “The positive thing about the Vive is, in addition to making sure that nobody created an iOS closed platform for it, was also that it gave us the opportunity to develop our in-house expertise in hardware design. Five years ago, we didn’t have electrical engineers and people who know how to do robots. Now there’s pretty much no project in the hardware space that we wouldn’t be comfortable taking on. We can design chips if we need to, we can do industrial design, and so on. So that added to that.”
Nintendo was reportedly one of the forces that shaped Valve’s decision to continue with hardware and software developments, because Valve wanted to have the software compliment the hardware and vice versa. Which, to be honest, is a bit funny given that Nintendo’s platform is literally a walled garden approach!
Towards the end of the presentation, Newell said that their work in this area would now allow them to move forward as a company. He said that this work was an investment into Valve’s future, and added, “Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us. So that’s sort of good news. Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again.”
It’s been a theory for years that Valve would eventually ship new games, but they’d only do it with something that could differentiate them and their offering from the rest of the market. If that ends up being Half-Life 3 in a superior virtual reality environment that blows us away, I’m happy enough to wait.
Source: PC Gamer