Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games

An interview on The PA Report talks with Valve's Gabe Newell, discussing some general topics with Valve's Managing Director, whose beard is growing in nicely (though not to the magnificent degree mine has at this point). The discussion covers things like his work schedule, his fascination with wearable computers, the possibility Valve might someday sell hardware, pricing games on Steamand more (thanks nin). He also offers responses to questions about to what degree customers won games purchased on Steam:
But even from kind of a more general point of view, you have services like Steam or Origin where these many purchases and micro-transactions and all these transactions we’re making through multiple companies are kind of tied to this overreaching account. Do you have lawyers who kind of look at the legal implication of where exactly you fit into that relationship?

Yeah, we have lawyers who look at stuff all the time, I’m not sure I’m answering your question directly. It’s sort of like this kind of messy issue, and it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what the legal issues are, the real thing is that you have to make your customers happy at the end of the day and if you’re not doing that it doesn’t really matter what you think about various supreme court decisions or EU decisions. If you’re not making your customers happy you’re doing something stupid and we certainly always want to make our customers happy. And I think we have a track record of having done that.
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108 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 3.
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68.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 20:21
68.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 20:21
Feb 20, 2012, 20:21
 
Skimmed comments - nothing to see here....
67.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 19:59
67.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 19:59
Feb 20, 2012, 19:59
 
deqer wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 19:46:
Silicon Avatar wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 13:00:
Gabe isn't a lawyer. He gave his non-lawyer answer of "I don't really know." I don't know what some of you were expecting him to say.
I guess we need to interview the lawyers then, right?!

Yeah, far be it from us to expect the co-founder and managing director of Valve to know the details of his own business.
66.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 19:54
Jivaro
 
66.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 19:54
Feb 20, 2012, 19:54
 Jivaro
 
WaltC wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 18:25:
Jivaro wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 18:21:
Never once did Tumbler mention piracy, nor has he ever claimed piracy to be excusable to my memory.

Which is why I said "IF this is what you mean and IF this is what you're saying..."

It would be most instructive if you'd inform on your interpretation of what he meant to say...;) As for me, "piracy" seemed the only option as everything else he had ruled out as too expensive.


So in other words, you made an incorrect and judgmental assumption and you want me to do the same thing....except with definitions and perhaps a PowerPoint?

This comment was edited on Feb 20, 2012, 20:04.
Avatar 55841
65.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 19:52
65.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 19:52
Feb 20, 2012, 19:52
 
Bhruic wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 18:38:
Some of the stupidest stuff on TV is magnitudes better than the story in HL. HL is a step up from "go get the red keycard", but that's about it.
Drinking donkey piss, and seeing who can 'dance' while fawning over who can stroke their ego's is better? Okay then.
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
64.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 19:46
64.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 19:46
Feb 20, 2012, 19:46
 
Silicon Avatar wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 13:00:
Gabe isn't a lawyer. He gave his non-lawyer answer of "I don't really know." I don't know what some of you were expecting him to say.
I guess we need to interview the lawyers then, right?!
63.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:42
63.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:42
Feb 20, 2012, 18:42
 
Bhruic wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:40:
Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person

You have to be joking. I've seen 6 year olds come up with a better story than HL has.

Yes, ok, slight exaggeration, but not that large a one. The HL story is very rudimentary, and anyone who's even half-competent would be able to come up with something plausible.

It's a typical, bland, trite, "Scientist screws up experiment and becomes the unintentional hero," stories. The only thing that HL did better than its predecessors was the way in which the story was presented.
Avatar 13977
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:41
Dev
62.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:41
Feb 20, 2012, 18:41
Dev
 
WaltC wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:54:
Pretty much what you as the owner decide will happen. If you give your account user name and password to your children, or your wife, or *anybody,* then I expect they will continue to use those accounts in perpetuity. What would be stopping them?
A little thing called the EULA. It forbids giving account info to anyone and forbids transferring it to anyone.
61.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
61.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
 
You're joking right? Have you seen the shit they have on TV these days? Or even at the movies? The story in HL is damn near high-art in modern society.

Some of the stupidest stuff on TV is magnitudes better than the story in HL. HL is a step up from "go get the red keycard", but that's about it.
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
Dev
60.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
Feb 20, 2012, 18:38
Dev
 
Kastagir wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:31:
I'm guessing that you're referring to the Half-Life franchise here. This situation seems pretty clear to someone who has followed it: the core writer for the HL2 storyline became seriously ill and had to leave Valve on an indefinite leave of absence. His importance was made clear by Newell's assurance that he would always be a valuable asset to Valve, no matter how long his recovery would take. Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person and that they've written themselves into a corner with Episodes 1 and 2 and they have a history of missing any milestones related to the HL franchise. Talking about HL is a no-win situation for them.
Thats the most unusual theory I've ever heard of for the delay. As I recall, that guy was ill years ago and he's not ill anymore (you are talking about the guy who was described as being ill in the portal 2 book? The guy valve told to stay home and get well?).
Edit: I just checked, that was Erik Wolpaw and he was ill in 2004. That same book talks about how he was back at valve and working on portal 2 by 2007 or earlier.

A far more likely explanation and the one I subscribe to is that since :

a) there's literally zero management (this interview they reiterate the "flat" structure there) at valve leading to things such as feature creep
b) they've talked about how they can't find enough qualified people to hire and they'd hire another 250 in a heartbeat if they could, so they have a manpower shortage. This is exacerbated by valve trying to enter 3 new markets (mobile, social, MMO) simultaneously, and now in this interview he's talking about entering a 4th market, hardware (specifically wearable hardware)
c) anyone on any project's cabal can move freely and they all have wheels on their desks, and people mainly work on things they feel are interesting to them and are free to move to another when they aren't interesting anymore

Add all that up and you get projects that take forever. Incidentally you can also tell what's interesting to valve to work on by the frequency of how often they get content and updates.

This comment was edited on Feb 20, 2012, 18:51.
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:37
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:37
Feb 20, 2012, 18:37
 
PHJF wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 16:16:
No, its only allowing trade of a game before its locked to an account forever. And you can't play it without locking it. Once you play the game its activated and locked to your account. What you are trading is the games in a gift form. They are just making it easier to get an unused game to someone who wants it. And this way, if a gift is refused (I had this happen recently), it comes back to you as an inventory gift so you can give it on to someone else.

Yeah but nobody is going to buy a game they have no intent to play with the intent of trading it in the future. And with packs, you can't activate SOME of the games and trade/gift away the others. I don't think they'd have implemented the trading system as they did without some sort of further intent for it.

The whole game trading feature was added to solve fraud issues with TF2. People were complaining about getting scammed for trading games for TF2 Items. They changed it so is done in a visible way with a trading history.
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:33
PHJF
 
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:33
Feb 20, 2012, 18:33
 PHJF
 
There are in fact long lists of things that we as people buy regularly--things which we "own"--but which are used up very quickly to the point that we must always buy new things to replace them:

These things have a material value which is easily quantified, something data lacks entirely.

You don't own anything on Steam. None of it. Valve owns the servers which serve you your license to use software, software that is owned wholly by the publisher/developer of said software. The fact that software/movies/music used to be sold on a disc, in a box, with MATERIAL VALUE attached to them meant the purchaser owned them. Not in the strictest legal sense, mind you, but nobody would go out of their way (until now) to try and stop you using/redistributing that disc and box however you saw fit. Steam has completely removed the physical component and, with it, removed the apparition of "ownership" from the equation.

And no, piracy isn't the only option. The option is to wait for the price to come down, which is what many of us do.
Steam + PSN: PHJF
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:25
57.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:25
Feb 20, 2012, 18:25
 
Jivaro wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 18:21:
Never once did Tumbler mention piracy, nor has he ever claimed piracy to be excusable to my memory.

Which is why I said "IF this is what you mean and IF this is what you're saying..."

It would be most instructive if you'd inform on your interpretation of what he meant to say...;) As for me, "piracy" seemed the only option as everything else he had ruled out as too expensive.

It is well known that I don't make mistakes--so, if you should happen across an error in something I have written, you can be confident in the fact that *I* did not write it.
Avatar 16008
56.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
56.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
 
Kastagir wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:31:

I'm guessing that you're referring to the Half-Life franchise here. This situation seems pretty clear to someone who has followed it: the core writer for the HL2 storyline became seriously ill and had to leave Valve on an indefinite leave of absence. His importance was made clear by Newell's assurance that he would always be a valuable asset to Valve, no matter how long his recovery would take. Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person and that they've written themselves into a corner with Episodes 1 and 2 and they have a history of missing any milestones related to the HL franchise. Talking about HL is a no-win situation for them.

Or is there something else we can hold Gabe Newell's "feet to the fire" for?

Nice and neat and so forth--except for one thing--it's you saying it instead of Gabe...;) It's *interesting* if Gabe says it...otoh, anyone can speculate, right? If you take a look at the hundreds of credits in the HL2 manual, or even just the ones that roll on screen, it is very clear that HL2 being a "one man show" is anything *but* what Valve thinks about the game. But, if this is true, Newell should state it directly instead of letting speculation like this run rampant (again, he has difficulty being direct it seems to me.) As opposed to the idea of HL3 discussion being a "no win" situation for Valve--I would rather speculate myself that Valve has got some fantastic HL3 software in the works but in the spirit of not wanting to spoil the impact, Gabe would rather maintain silence instead of trying to hype it--which can breed a lot of misunderstanding. HL2 seemed as if it came out of the woodwork--advance publicity was so sparse that there wasn't time for anyone to be "disappointed" in HL2...! I *hope* this is what Gabe is doing. And I also hope they are off the "episode" venue for HL3 going forward. I think the episodic approach for HL in general did little except to cheapen the franchise and lower expectations.

"Feet to the fire" could mean anything, really--even just intelligent, interesting follow ups--like for instance, Ben might have asked what Newell thought was wrong and in need of fixing in the iPad2 when it comes to the topic of gaming. I can think of several things, myself--'course, after that point is reached there'd be a question as to whether the iPad2 would be (or look like) a tablet anymore. Stuff like that.

I also wish Ben had gone into a bit of detail as to what it is Gabe sees in consoles--after all, he can afford the PC configuration of his choice--so why dumb it all down into the console space? Steam is a PC store, etc.
It is well known that I don't make mistakes--so, if you should happen across an error in something I have written, you can be confident in the fact that *I* did not write it.
Avatar 16008
55.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
Jivaro
 
55.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
Feb 20, 2012, 18:21
 Jivaro
 
Never once did Tumbler mention piracy, nor has he ever claimed piracy to be excusable to my memory.
Avatar 55841
54.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 17:54
54.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:54
Feb 20, 2012, 17:54
 
Tumbler wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 13:29:
Well valve certainly owns my steam games. There is no question that my access to the game I've paid for on steam are not mine at all but belong to Valve and Steam. I have no ability to sell my steam library so I do not own them in any real sense. This is why I pay very little for most of my steam games. Regardless how much the game is worth the value I get from playing it through steam is on par with rental prices which to me are around $5.

Arghghghghgghhhh.....! Please--not another "Life is unfair and that's why I pirate my games instead of pay for them" ridiculous point of view. You'll get no sympathy from me. As well, what on earth makes you think "renting" is cheap?

Reviewing a couple of things...when you rent a game somewhere you have to take it back after the rental period is up. (If you don't, your credit card is billed for the cost of a new copy of the software, or charged the daily rental rate until you return it, along with any late fees due.) Last time I looked there were no time limits controlling my use of my Steam Library games. By that property alone we can deduce that Steam ownership does not equate to game rentals. Another fundamental difference is the fact that if you rent and want to play game X again you must pay the rental fee *every time you decide to play the game again.* Steam ownership has no such recurring costs. Indeed, apart from paying for your Steam software, there are no other expenses to bear.

I could continue onward--but just those differences above are dramatic enough and fundamental enough to convince even the most ardent skeptic that renting does not equal Steam ownership--Steam is much better and much cheaper...;)

There have been odd little comments about passing these accounts on to your children, like when you pass your stuff on to your children...what happens to these accounts?

Pretty much what you as the owner decide will happen. If you give your account user name and password to your children, or your wife, or *anybody,* then I expect they will continue to use those accounts in perpetuity. What would be stopping them?

Just understand what you're paying for. It's a rental. You're renting stuff from steam. It might be a very generous rental in your opinion but you have no rights. (at least nothing that has been upheld by the courts)

Steam is not even close to being a rental service. Stop embarrassing yourself...;) When you rent you pay continuously as long as you rent--whether by the day, the week, the month, etc. When you purchase you pay for something once, generally, and once only, correct? As to "rights"--why as long as Valve exists (and quite possibly longer) I can open my Steam account--the use of which is free in perpetuity--and play the games I have purchased, without charge or without constraint as often as I would like. Indeed, anyone to whom I give my Steam account user name and password can do the very same thing. Such unfettered, free access is a property of ownership, not a rental--in which case you genuinely do not own the software and so must pay for your time with it each and every time you access it. Renting can easily be far more expensive than Steam ownership.

Several games in my Steam Library do not require an Internet connection to play--Skyrim 1.4.x.x is just one of them--Steam itself need not be even running for those games. Other games, however, like Witcher2 v2.1 require an Internet connection or they are not playable at all. Since there are so many differences in how this is determined in Steam games, it seem that whether or not to use Steam as a sort of "DRM" from which you always must have an Internet connection to successfully launch a game is not decided by Valve but rather by individual game publishers--thus your situation with Valve is no different than having bought directly from each Steam game's publisher/developer.

I think the courts should rule in the favor of consumers in these cases and force all these companies to allow these licenses to be retitled and transferred. Possibly at a cost to the consumer but there is no reason the consumers should not be granted ownership of these titles the way they are being marketed. The terms purchase, buy, and such which they freely use at the point of purchase should not be allowed if these companies are renting these titles. The reality that this is a rental is buried inside those eula's which is done deliberately because consumers are smart enough to know that you should be paying less for "rentals" than you do for ownership.

Your rental analogy is completely wet and falls completely apart, as demonstrated above. It's a very weak defense of piracy, if that is what you are doing and if that is what you are using the word "rental" for. Compared to Steam software ownership, software rentals would be inordinately, immeasurably more expensive and far more restrictive.

There are in fact long lists of things that we as people buy regularly--things which we "own"--but which are used up very quickly to the point that we must always buy new things to replace them:

Paper
pencils
printer cartridges
gasoline
electricity
toilet paper, etc., ad infinitum

...I mean, the list of such "owned" things is nigh inexhaustible--yet Steam software ownership accords one far more "rights" than the purchase of any of these kinds of goods. So please stop pretending that there's only one way to "buy" things and only one way to "own" things, because it isn't close to being true. If you cannot see that Steam isn't a rental service you need new glasses...;)

It is well known that I don't make mistakes--so, if you should happen across an error in something I have written, you can be confident in the fact that *I* did not write it.
Avatar 16008
53.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 17:51
53.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:51
Feb 20, 2012, 17:51
 
Bhruic wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:40:
The HL story is very rudimentary, and anyone who's even half-competent would be able to come up with something plausible.
You're joking right? Have you seen the shit they have on TV these days? Or even at the movies? The story in HL is damn near high-art in modern society.
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
52.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 17:40
52.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:40
Feb 20, 2012, 17:40
 
Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person

You have to be joking. I've seen 6 year olds come up with a better story than HL has.

Yes, ok, slight exaggeration, but not that large a one. The HL story is very rudimentary, and anyone who's even half-competent would be able to come up with something plausible.
51.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 17:34
51.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:34
Feb 20, 2012, 17:34
 
Kastagir wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 17:31:
WaltC wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 16:49:
his lack of experience shows in his decision not to ask Gabe any interesting questions--or to hold his feet to the fire, etc. I'm sure that certain topics were off the table as a pre-condition of the interview--although I really don't *know* that to be the case since I wasn't a fly on the wall anywhere near Ben...;)

I'm guessing that you're referring to the Half-Life franchise here. This situation seems pretty clear to someone who has followed it: the core writer for the HL2 storyline became seriously ill and had to leave Valve on an indefinite leave of absence. His importance was made clear by Newell's assurance that he would always be a valuable asset to Valve, no matter how long his recovery would take. Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person and that they've written themselves into a corner with Episodes 1 and 2 and they have a history of missing any milestones related to the HL franchise. Talking about HL is a no-win situation for them.

Or is there something else we can hold Gabe Newell's "feet to the fire" for?

Oh good lord, there are about a million qualified writers who could have easily finished it long ago.
"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Avatar 25394
50.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 17:31
50.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:31
Feb 20, 2012, 17:31
 
WaltC wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 16:49:
his lack of experience shows in his decision not to ask Gabe any interesting questions--or to hold his feet to the fire, etc. I'm sure that certain topics were off the table as a pre-condition of the interview--although I really don't *know* that to be the case since I wasn't a fly on the wall anywhere near Ben...;)

I'm guessing that you're referring to the Half-Life franchise here. This situation seems pretty clear to someone who has followed it: the core writer for the HL2 storyline became seriously ill and had to leave Valve on an indefinite leave of absence. His importance was made clear by Newell's assurance that he would always be a valuable asset to Valve, no matter how long his recovery would take. Newell and his PR masters don't want to admit that the HL story hinges on one person and that they've written themselves into a corner with Episodes 1 and 2 and they have a history of missing any milestones related to the HL franchise. Talking about HL is a no-win situation for them.

Or is there something else we can hold Gabe Newell's "feet to the fire" for?
Avatar 20761
49.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 16:54
Dev
49.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 16:54
Feb 20, 2012, 16:54
Dev
 
PHJF wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 16:16:
Yeah but nobody is going to buy a game they have no intent to play with the intent of trading it in the future. And with packs, you can't activate SOME of the games and trade/gift away the others. I don't think they'd have implemented the trading system as they did without some sort of further intent for it.
I've actually bought a couple games with the intent of trading it away in the future. When popular games go on a super cheap sale, once or twice I've picked up a copy to trade it for something else I'd prefer in the future. I once bought an extra copy of TF2 for any future needs and now its free, but I was only out $2 for that

The multi game packs are done that way intentionally so there's not a lot of extra game copies floating around. And when a pack offers a giftable version of a game, they tell that up front since its unusual. I still have my giftable serious sam 1 and 2 sitting around for instance.
108 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 3.
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