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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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 10:36
nin
 
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 10:36
Feb 20, 2012, 10:36
 nin
 

(though not to the magnificent degree mine has at this point)

Blue and Gabe are having a beard-off! Er, "on"...something!

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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 10:41
2.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 10:41
Feb 20, 2012, 10:41
 
Here's a question for Gabe: is your tech support Mon-Fri, 9 to 5?

I submitted a ticket early Saturday and still no reply.

Having games on steam is useless if you can't access them....
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3.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 10:45
3.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 10:45
Feb 20, 2012, 10:45
 
Not having new HL in so long is not making me happy, Gabe. Not by a long shot!
"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Avatar 25394
4.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 10:48
4.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 10:48
Feb 20, 2012, 10:48
 
Cutter wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 10:45:
Not having new HL in so long is not making me happy, Gabe. Not by a long shot!
Yeah. Why do I get a feeling they're waiting for "next gen" consoles.
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
5.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 11:29
5.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 11:29
Feb 20, 2012, 11:29
 
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.

I don't think Gabe has ever had to deal with Steam support. Or the fact that any issue in payment is your fault even if it is clearly their fault. They also love suspending you for weeks at a time while it gets sorted out and take their sweet time getting back to you. When I had issues it took 3.5 days between replies.

Steam is getting too big for it's own good. If you have as many games on steam as I do then you run into an issue that causes a suspension all your steam games become unplayable. That is unacceptable. You might not have any issues but you will eventually. I thought steam was great till an issue on their end caused me to lose access to my account for 2+ weeks. It should have been fixable in a couple of days if not for their incompetent customer "service".
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 11:35
6.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 11:35
Feb 20, 2012, 11:35
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 10:48:
Cutter wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 10:45:
Not having new HL in so long is not making me happy, Gabe. Not by a long shot!
Yeah. Why do I get a feeling they're waiting for "next gen" consoles.

Because you are praying that HL3 will release in the next two years.
Avatar 55902
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Re: RE: Follow up
Feb 20, 2012, 11:43
7.
Re: RE: Follow up Feb 20, 2012, 11:43
Feb 20, 2012, 11:43
 
HL2 Episode series hasn't made people happy.

Also I buy all the game sI can from Gamers Gate Amazon and the best service ever!!!! Good Old Game (gog.com) just so I don't have too many eggs in one basket.
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:04
8.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:04
Feb 20, 2012, 12:04
 
I had an issue where a Steam game I bought didn't play on my machine, and I had a hellacious time getting a refund. I had to go through both Steam and EA. It was stupid, and they basically said that was my one and only refund ever. I didn't have a habit of reporting bad games, so it's not like they had a reason to think I was buying/ripping/returning games. I'm assuming Steam can tell that I'd only played the game for a handful of minutes trying to get it to work, so it's also obvious I didn't play the game just to return it when I was done. So why did they have to be so difficult and antagonistic about it?

Even though I have a new machine now, I'm not willing to risk that it won't play, so I have no intention of buying the game again.
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:11
9.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:11
Feb 20, 2012, 12:11
 
I like this answer about the legality of people not-owning games.

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.

Now imagine if an EA peon had answered the same question: "Our EULA says we own your stuff, not you. So go fuck yourself."

Creston
Avatar 15604
10.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:14
10.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:14
Feb 20, 2012, 12:14
 
Creston wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:11:
I like this answer about the legality of people not-owning games.

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.

Now imagine if an EA peon had answered the same question: "Our EULA says we own your stuff, not you. So go fuck yourself."

Creston

Doesn't Valve essentially do the same thing, though? We've had people here lose their entire library.

So Valve says they don't care about court decisions and want to make people happy, but when push has come to shove they've been pretty willing to shut down accounts, or to suspend accounts pending investigation.

Not sure what you see EA doing here that Valve isn't, other than giving non-answers. Origin, from what I gather, has plenty of other flaws compared to Steam (or anything), but this doesn't really seem like one.
11.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:17
11.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:17
Feb 20, 2012, 12:17
 

I like this answer about the legality of people not-owning games.

Now imagine if an EA peon had answered the same question: "Our EULA says we own your stuff, not you. So go fuck yourself."

So you'd rather have someone completely duck the question, rather than give you a straight-up, honest answer?
12.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:21
Dev
12.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:21
Feb 20, 2012, 12:21
Dev
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:14:
Not sure what you see EA doing here that Valve isn't, other than giving non-answers. Origin, from what I gather, has plenty of other flaws compared to Steam (or anything), but this doesn't really seem like one.
I don't get what you are saying here. Are you saying EA/origin doesn't remove access to game libraries? Because we know that's not the case, EA bans you from games from posting on their FORUMS. We also know the origin EULA says if you don't play your games in a while they WILL (not may, its worded WILL) remove games from your library.
13.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:24
13.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:24
Feb 20, 2012, 12:24
 
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.
I wonder if that's the word he really intended there, or more of a Freudian slip.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:34
Dev
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:34
Feb 20, 2012, 12:34
Dev
 
Well we now know gabe wants to get valve into a 4th market (he's mentioned mobile, social, and MMO markets before, and we've seen the first step towards getting steam into mobile markets). He also wants to get into selling hardware, specifically wearable computing hardware.

However from gabe's comments about letting stuff get more baked before they talk about it, there may yet be hope for ep3.
15.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:36
15.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:36
Feb 20, 2012, 12:36
 
Dev wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:21:
Beamer wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:14:
Not sure what you see EA doing here that Valve isn't, other than giving non-answers. Origin, from what I gather, has plenty of other flaws compared to Steam (or anything), but this doesn't really seem like one.
I don't get what you are saying here. Are you saying EA/origin doesn't remove access to game libraries? Because we know that's not the case, EA bans you from games from posting on their FORUMS. We also know the origin EULA says if you don't play your games in a while they WILL (not may, its worded WILL) remove games from your library.

I'm not saying this at all (though I believe EA said that the forum ban game ban connection was a mistake.) I'm saying Valve does essentially the same thing. Valve has removed user accounts. That takes away games people bought. That means people do not own the games they buy on Steam.

So Valve essentially does what EA does, only EA says they do it and Valve gives non-answers and avoids the question.


I love Valve and I love Gabe, but that non-answer is pretty remarkable
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:39
16.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:39
Feb 20, 2012, 12:39
 
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.

Gawd... could ya please remove your tongue from my ass, Gabe? OK. Thank you very much, Sir...

17.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:40
Dev
17.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:40
Feb 20, 2012, 12:40
Dev
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:36:
I'm not saying this at all (though I believe EA said that the forum ban game ban connection was a mistake.) I'm saying Valve does essentially the same thing. Valve has removed user accounts. That takes away games people bought. That means people do not own the games they buy on Steam.

So Valve essentially does what EA does, only EA says they do it and Valve gives non-answers and avoids the question.
Yeah EA claimed that, and claimed they wouldn't do it again, then they went and did it again (and not just once). There's even been bluesnews stuff about it. Valve does NOT do the same thing, they don't ban you playing games for forum posts. They may remove access to your games, but its not because of posting on their forums. Also, EA does NOT say they remove games because of forum posts.

However, both EA and valve have in their EULA they may remove game access.
18.
 
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:50
18.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:50
Feb 20, 2012, 12:50
 
Dev wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:40:
Beamer wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 12:36:
I'm not saying this at all (though I believe EA said that the forum ban game ban connection was a mistake.) I'm saying Valve does essentially the same thing. Valve has removed user accounts. That takes away games people bought. That means people do not own the games they buy on Steam.

So Valve essentially does what EA does, only EA says they do it and Valve gives non-answers and avoids the question.
Yeah EA claimed that, and claimed they wouldn't do it again, then they went and did it again (and not just once). There's even been bluesnews stuff about it. Valve does NOT do the same thing, they don't ban you playing games for forum posts. They may remove access to your games, but its not because of posting on their forums. Also, EA does NOT say they remove games because of forum posts.

However, both EA and valve have in their EULA they may remove game access.

Who cares in this discussion?
Gabe gives an answer that makes Valve sound different. Valve is not different. Valve will happily remove your games. For a forum post? No. But they weren't asked about forum posts, they were asked about game ownership, and said they do what makes customers happy.

This isn't true. You pretty clearly do not own games purchased over Steam.
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No subject
Feb 20, 2012, 12:55
yonder
 
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No subject Feb 20, 2012, 12:55
Feb 20, 2012, 12:55
 yonder
 
own*
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Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
Feb 20, 2012, 12:57
Dev
20.
Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 12:57
Feb 20, 2012, 12:57
Dev
 
Here's an interesting bit from the interview. Valve tells companies they might not want to layer DRM on top of steam, and that the DRM doesn't really change sales except to perhaps hurt it, but ultimately leaves it up to the company.

So all those companies that layer DRM on top of steam are doing it against valve's advice.

We tend to try to avoid being super dictatorial to either customers or partners. Recently I was in a meeting and there’s a company that had a third party DRM solution and we showed them look, this is what happens, at this point in your life cycle your DRM got hacked, right? Now let’s look at the data, did your sales change at all? No, your sales didn’t change one bit. Right? So here’s before and after, here’s where you have DRM that annoys your customers and causing huge numbers of support calls and in theory you would think that you would see a huge drop off in sales after that got hacked, and instead there was absolutely no difference in sales before or after. You know, and then we tell them you actually probably lost a whole bunch of sales as near as we can tell, here’s how much money you lost by bundling that with your product

And some more

I think that we have a lot more credibility now with developers on issues like this simply because there’s so much data that we can show them where we say look, we’ve run all of these experiments, you know, this has been going on for many years now and we all can look at what the outcomes are and there really isn’t – there are lots of compelling instances where making customers – you know, giving customers a great experience and thinking of ways to create value for them is way more important than making it incredibly hard for the customers to move their products from one machine to another.
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