Founder of Valve and the digital-games Santa Claus, Gabe Newell, held another Ask Me Anything (AMA) segment on Reddit yesterday. He’s done this before and actually does answer most of what he’s asked, but this time he wasn’t alone. Gabe was joined by fellow Valve-vians Erik Wolpaw (writer), Greg Coomer (designer), Erik Johnson (Market Director of Operations), and Ido Magal (designer). Together, they hosted “WeAreA videogame developer AUA!“.
Covering everything that was talked about in the over 13,000 comments is unfeasible, but there were some notable statements that gained more attention. Most specifically was when Gabe Newell addressed the Steam Greenlight system, which he had previously said would be going away. For the first time, he talked about what would replace Greenlight:
“We got bottle-necked pretty fast on tools and decision making which lead us to Greenlight, and is now leading us to make Steam a self-publishing system.”
– Gabe Newell
Exactly what that means is uncertain, but it would appear that Steam is moving to be all-inclusive and easier for games to be published to it. The discussion on this topic (HERE) raised the question of whether this would muddy the waters of Steams library with too many low-quality games. Many argue that Greenlight let in too many games that don’t belong, but also that it should be the users, not Valve that decide what games should or shouldn’t be on the service. No further comments were made by Newell or any of the other Valve hosts, so only speculation remains.
Newell also talked about his push for Linux to be the dominate gaming platform over Windows. He left a lot of wiggle-room by saying that Linux would “probably” be the future of PC gaming but also that their has been very little resistance on the part of developers and publishers to support the platform. He believes that at some point all Steam games will be Linux-compatible, which is quite a lofty goal considering that Mac support is still quite limited. He did further express that Valve will not release any exclusive games to their own Steam OS, which is of course Linux-based. The Steam Boxes (Valves own console-like gaming PCs) which run Steam OS, are also expected to lower in price as better methods of development and distribution are working out.
As far as games are concerned, No: there was no information on another entry in any of Valves series such as Half-Life 3, or Left-4 Dead 3. He did say that Valve has learned their lesson not to reveal a game years before it is expected to be released. It was revealed that Counter Strike: Global Offensive is being given a Linux release but there was no release date mentioned. As for the Source 2 engine, Newell answered a question regarding what improvements are expected from it:
“The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won’t work if users themselves have to create content.”
– Gabe Newell
Gabe also talked a little about the Oculus Rift VR headset, which you may remember we reported could be bought by Valve. He dismissed the idea that Valve has its own VR system that is better than Oculus, but did say that “We are collaborating with them (Oculus), and want their hardware to be great”.
The top comment in the AMA was in regards to the 2003 leak of the source code for Half life 2, which you may remember had threatened to delay the games release for a long time. The commenter claims to have been involved in the community-lead investigation to find the hacker which eventually succeeded over the efforts of the FBI. Gabe Newell expressed much appreciation to the community, but did not go in to any details on the event.