“We get really frustrated working in walled gardens,” said Valve’s Gabe Newell.
During the last gen, Valve released some big hits on consoles (and PC, of course!), such as the Left 4 Dead titles and the Portal games. But this gen, Valve appears to be concentrating on PC.
“We love the PC right now,” said Newell. “A lot.” In a roundtable attended by Eurogamer, he explained why.
“So you try to talk to someone who’s doing product planning on a console about free-to-play games and they say ‘Oh, we’re not sure free-to-play is a good idea’ and you’re like ‘the ship has left.’”
As Eurogamer notes, free-to-play Team Fortress 2 has been a massive PC success for Valve.
It’s not just the walled-in ecosystems of consoles that Valve isn’t hot on, but also iOS.
“There have been cases where we’ve updated products 5-6 times in a day,” Newell said. “When we did the original iOS of Steam App, right, we shipped it, we got a whole bunch of feedback and like the next day we’re ready to do an update.” That update didn’t come out for six months.
“And we couldn’t find out why they wouldn’t release it! They wouldn’t tell us. This is the life that you have in these environments. And finally they shipped it! And they wouldn’t tell us why they finally shipped it.
“So for us, while we’re spending all of our time trying to be as tunnel-vision in this loop with our customers, to all of a sudden have this complete uncertainty about doing updates... Like we don’t know how to operate.
“We’re just too stupid to know how to be a successful iOS developer,” he said.
Newell conceded that there are others who are “wildly successful” working under those conditions. But for him, “Our DNA tend[s] to not work well when someone is trying to insert a lot of process between us and our customers.”