(Thanks to @vipersgratitude for sending on this link)
So, Fries asked panelists, best of times or worst?
Gabe Newell, owner and president of Bellevue game giant Valve, said, “It’s a very interesting time.”
“Our business is growing very rapidly both on the content side and on the service platform side so in that sense, business has never been better,” Newell said. “The challenges we see looking forward are very rapidly evolving model for how value is created for customers.”
After broad pursuit massively multiplayer online games, the free-to-play model is emerging as “a really interesting opportunity,” he said.
But there are dark clouds forming, Newell continued, raising concerns about the closed-garden approach of platforms such as Apple’s iOS.
“On the platform side, it’s sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms,” he said.
Platform providers that used to use their role to enable developers “instead view themselves as more rent guys who are essentially driving their partner margins to zero,” he said.
“They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people’s access to those things,” he said.
Considering that the Digital Restrictions Management system that Valve uses (as part of their Steam system) is much more restrictive than, for instance, Apple and their FairPlay system, I consider this to be at best hypocrisy and at worst, outright lies.
For instance: I can buy a single copy of a game from the Apple App Store and put it onto both my iPhone and my sons iPod touch. We can then challenge each other and play the game or, as with Dungeon Hunter II, play co-operatively and defeat all of the monsters. The cost to me, after devices, was £4.99.
On the other hand, if I try to do the same with Steam and say, play Call of Duty 2 (an OLD game so it should be cheaper, right?) I have to buy a copy for me and also for my son. The cost to me is £29.98. What’s worse – is that if I want to let him play my copy of PORTAL 2 while I play Left 4 Dead 2, I can’t. Because Steam only allows one login at one machine at a time. And god forbid you try to circumvent this and get your account banned for suspicious activity. So again, even for games I own but are not currently playing, I can’t use them while I’m playing something else.
Is Newell concerned because Steam isn’t and couldn’t be on iPad? Is this a defensive hyperbole designed to distract us from the reality that “PC Gaming is dying”
I’d considered Steam DRM to be restrictive and annoying. I didn’t realise that they were quite so concerned about their future revenue model. Investors take note.