Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

October 12, 2009 -

Tripwire Interactive President John Gibson has penned an opinion piece defending Valve Software and its Steam digital distribution service against comments made by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford last week.

Pitchford had termed Valve’s dual role as developer and distributor a “conflict of interest.” Gibson, whose company has released titles like Red Orchestra and Killing Floor on Steam, told Gamasutra, “I can say with certainty that if it weren't for Steam, there would be no Tripwire Interactive right now.”

Gibson initially approached traditional distributors for Tripwire Games, but was “shocked at how terrible their proposals were.” Valve’s approach was different:

When we got the contract from Valve, we were amazed at how much better the deal was from what we were getting from the standard publishers. Even our lawyer was surprised at how straightforward the contract was. Valve's contract was the first one we had seen that didn’t have any land mines in it.

While he notes that there could be a conflict of interest stemming from Valve’s two roles, Gibson said that Valve’s angle is “Our game is good, and so is yours, so let's both make some money together.”

In closing, as a final acknowledgment to Valve, Gibson referenced his company’s success:

Ask the Tripwire Interactive employees if they feel exploited, as they move into their new offices paid for by the money the company has made on Steam. Or me, as I drive away from the company that was built from the royalties we made on Steam, in my sports car paid for by the royalties we make on Steam, to the home that I pay for with the royalties we make on Steam.

Developer Derek Smart (Battlecruiser 300AD) also backed Valve and Steam in a comment posted on the ShackNews.


Comments

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

Gibson's “Our game is good, and so is yours, so let's both make some money together.” made me think of that Pet Shop Boys song, Opportunities.

"I've got the brains, you've got the looks, let's make lots of money."

 

I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn't it meat?

I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn't it meat?

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

As I read it, Gibson's response is that even though it's a conflict of interest, it doesn't bother him so it shouldn't bother us either. A studio head bragging about how much money he made selling his HL2-engine game through Steam isn't really much of an endorsement of the service's fair-play policies to a poor games consumer like myself.  

 

I am all for independent and innovative new games, and I know that there are many that might never have been made if not for Steam. That said, I have never liked Steam, in principle or practice. Steam is not a great new way to buy games, it is a restrictive new way to rent games. Besides, considering Pitchford's comments, who knows how many other great games didn't get made because their creators couldn't get a fair deal from Valve? Maybe none, maybe lots....

 

I know there's a whole cadre of rabid fans out there who think it's sacrilege to say anything negative associated with Valve or Half Life, but from the start I have resented the idea of having some clunky, spy-ware-like application installed on my own personal computer, regulating my play of games I already supposedly purchased. To be clear, I think there is a big difference in rights management of computer games compared to console games. Functional similarities notwithstanding, restricitng games on a PC is NOT the same thing as restricting first-party downloads through console services such as XBL or PSN.

 

I am truly grateful that games like Portal and Darwinia and Rag Doll Kung Fu all saw the light of day, thanks to Valve's distribution service, but as a game player -- not a HL-modder or game seller -- I resent Steam's ownership restriction policies and DRM controls. I've always sort of wondered about PC game consumers who say they don't.   

 

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

only thing i worry about really is if Valve will actually hold true to their promise of unlocking the games should STEAM fall.

especially with their policy on not caring for non-valve made games.

does that mean all non-valve games will forever diminish when bought on steam, should it ever die?

kinda creeps me out to think of it seeing as, despite being old, i still love my ancient titles like Commander Keen, or Quake 1.

cripes i'm still looking for a working copy, and way to play, Return to Zork again! my old disc is FUBAR.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

I'm sure they'd unlock their games, whether they even have the legal right to do that for other games? i don't know. If they don't, and the developer is too lazy/uncaring, then yeah, we might get screwed by non-valve titles.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

Still we're a lot better off than all titles that use some kind of sec-u-rom online validation of any sort. I can guarantee you that securom will just accuse consumers of being pirates instead of making patches of any sort.  

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

securom hasn't done that yet tmk, but TAGES accused me of it when i mis typed my key twice in Chronicles of Riddick AoDA.

i had to argue with'em for a week and get them to verify with D2D, before theyd finally unban my IP and stopped claiming i was trying to use a pirated copy of the game, i.e. calling me a pirate.

TAGES imho is worse off than Securom atm, and they even have the gull to claim that their system is "unbreakable" despite any idiot with a net connection could find a tages infected game and pirate it with greater ease than buying the game and getting called a pirate.

 

@

i don't doubt they have the intention of doing that now, but what about later? what about when the current team moves on and new guys replace them?

ID is a good example of carrying out their promises, as they've released all of their games over the years from disc checks, but ID never got to big for their own britches either. Valve is expanding into terrirory most devs fear, publishing, and they're going pretty fast at it. Not a problem besides their total lack of support. No refunds, no exchange for a better product, nadda. they aren't even making sure they get the latest versions of half the games they've got in the list.

i love steam as a way to get and store games, but i would also prefer that valve got the balls to start making the other dev teams PATCH the steam version on time, if even provide the patch at all for the steam version. As well as drop the M$ bit of trying to QA every patch to hell and back, delaying it by WEEKS compared to retail/D2D. All the while releasing incomplete STEAM packaged games that get removed within days of being put up (Rainbow Six series anyone? R6RS was pulled for requiring the CD still. Splinter Cell Chaos theory was also pulled but seems to be back of recently.)

so don't get me wrong, i like steam, love it even. but those little nuisances, and the risk of losing EVERYTHING should valve go under from its mod buying/selling strategy (of which IMHO is low.. very low. good for the modders, but bad for the overall community. the mod community for nearly every game out there is all but dead, even popular mods go unplayed online but in small groups now, and other good mods die without even being heard of) Anything heard of thats any good gets bought or mimicked by Valve, or even both. (TF2 anyone? once a great Quake mod was Team Fortress, now a joke on Valves table. good game TF2 is, but they lay far to much claim to its origins IMO. much like CS, they didn't create it, the modders who built it did ALONE. sure they may work for valve now, but thats still credit theft IMHO not to give credit where due. I mean, did anyone at valve besides the gooseman himself have ANYTHING to do with Counter Strike originaly? besides making the game it was modded too, nope. yet valve claims complete design credit to its entire company.)

 

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

That's odd, every game I've bought from D2D used securom online verification of some kind. And yeah, when the online verification of WH40k didn't work and i contacted securom (at the suggestion of d2d) it didn't go that well. 

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

i love steam, overlay aside in its annoyance.

the only thing i wish Valve would do is make certain they get the support that they should.

some games are seriously suffering on STEAM because of missing patches, such as Cryostasis.

the PhysX patch was also its 1.1 or so, and fixed a LOT of other issues besides adding new physics objects. But steam doesn't have this patch.

theres a good load of others sadly in this state on steam, with missing important patches to some (that cryostasis one also fixed some ATI issues IIRC, and the retail and normal DD patches don't work with the steam version)

dig through the steam forums and theres actually some who have a complete list of games that don't work right or are missing patches, steam versions only.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

Any other company, and i might agree with Pitchford, but this is Valve we're talking about here. Never in my gaming career have i ever heard or seen any case of Valve screwing over the customer (barring their inability to get Episode 3 out the door, or even give us a damn screenshot) or screw over another developer with out majorly proper reasoning. I really never suspect valve of wrong doing, they've done nothing to burn me yet.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

I'm pretty sure the initial launch of Half Life 2 with the necessity of it being online and all people felt screwed over.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

Part of it is they're still a private company, so they have no asshat stockholders to appease.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

I don't care who it is. Valve's great, but Microsoft loves screwing people over and no one complains about XBox Live. And it's the same thing.

I agree that, of all the downloadable services run by game developers and publishers, Valve deserves the most praise. It's no different than XBL, WiiWare, or PSN. So when someone bashes Valve without turning on the more shady companies, THAT'S what I call a conflict of interest.

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

XBL isn't bad consumer side really, its premium servers with premium content. so $53 a year isn't so bad. they even try to at least keep the consumers up to date on down times and such. (compared to PSN's random blackouts (only way to keep up with them is live on their web sites and spend all day reading random PSN news thats usually 3 days to a week behind itself), slow service, and crappy dload speeds. thats actually a lot. At least on XBL i can redload my movies/videos, PSN has a delete it and lose it policy)

now the screwing they do to developers.. thats another story.

XBL has raised prices, insane QA that doesn't seem to be very effective, but great at delaying much needed patches and the like. (i mean come on.. their games on demand wants $29.99 USD for the Rainbow Six Vegas games, but you can get'em in store for about $19.99 and lower.) and jack of that finds its way back to whome it belongs i'd bet.

 

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

Wow this is really shining praise right here. Makes you wonder what Gearbox is up to. Also, I'm glad to know Darek Smart is actually making money. Maybe next game he makes can actually have a budget and look like it was made in 2007 instead of 1997. 

Re: Tripwire Prez Defends Valve & Steam

I always liked Steam. Allows you to get games you can't find in the stores or aren't being made  anymore and you can just straight up download them right to your computer and play.

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