Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game Development Efforts

April 13, 2011 -

According to Stardock CEO (the company that used to own Impulse before it sold off its digital distribution platform to GameStop) Brad Wardell, Steam is holding up Valve's ability to develop its various game properties in a timely fashion. Wardell made his comments in a recent interview with IndustryGamers. In Wardell's opinion, the resources needed to continually operate and manage a digital distribution platform as massive as Steam has led to a slowdown in Valve's game development capabilities over the years.

"Even though Valve is in Seattle, where you can get developers everywhere, [Steam's] had an effect on their own development schedule," Wardell told IndustryGamers. "There's not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that."

Some would argue that maybe Wardell is comparing his own experiences with that of Valve's. In the past he has said that managing Impulse was a key reason why its latest game Elemental: War of Magic, was such a mess. The digital distribution platform got so big that the company had to move resources around - and away from game development - to deal with it.

"They've had their own challenges getting new titles out the door, and a big part of that I'm sure is the same problems we've had. When one of your groups is so ridiculously profitable, every business instinct you have is to throw all your best people at it, because that's what's making the money. That's just sound business. At the end of the day, again you have decide if that's what you want to do."

Wardell added if you compare Valve's development time prior to Steam you can see that it has an impact over the years.

Of course the company has certainly expanded since the days before Steam came along and has plenty of developmental talent to work with that have nothing to do with Steam at all..

Source: IndustryGamers


Comments

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Confirms what I've always suspected.  I think it's the reasl reason we still haven't gotten Half-Life 2: Episode 3.  It's not a huge jump to conclusion that they've put so much effort into running and maintaining Steam, plus being distracted by the sudden success of Portal, that development of Episode 3 got pushed to the backburner.  At this point, I think, it'd be more prudent for Steam to be spun-off into a separate company.

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Eh, I tend to ignore Wardell....

Typical manager who has never read the mythical man month.. or thinks in terms of having more then one team.  I imagine the people who maintain Steam are not the same people working on games....

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

I'm inclined to agree with this. Stardock started out as a general software company and then started making games later, so it might be understandable that they have people who can work in either way. Valve is just the opposite, they were making games before Steam came out and I don't see any reason to think that Steam is being maintained by the same people who were working on Valve's games before.
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I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

It's still a valid point that Valve had a reputation for releasing on "Valve Time" long before Steam came out.  Half-Life 2 (the title that launched it) took how many years, even before Steam had been thought of?  Team Fortress 2 was vaporware for almost as long as Duke Nukem Forever, 11 years IIRC: it was out within a coupple years of Steam's launch.

I suspect that which is actually delaying HL2: ep3 is all those other studios/teams they took under their wing to make Portal, L4D (twice) and Alien Swarm. ;p

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

mine and a friend's responce

 

Sora: well lets see... how did it slow down valve's development? hmmm....
Sora: didnt they release like... three games in the past two years?
Sora: alien swarm, l4d and l4d2?
Raptor: Hmmm
Raptor: Portal 2 soon
Sora: and more L4D2 content
Raptor: valve has ALWAYS been slow to develop, because they take TIME AND CARE with their products
Sora: yep
Sora: even before steam if i recall
Raptor: TIME.... AND ...CARE.... wonderfulw ords
Raptor: oh yeah, definatly

 

 

I think they are going just fine and steam isn't affecting them as much as Mr Wardell says/beleives.

L4D came out november 2008, so its still slightly over two years from what I had said in that chat.

But not only have they released games, but quite a bit of content for L4D, L4D2, TF2, and even a few easter eggs in Portal, along with practically bi-monthly patches for a majority of their game engine and games. I would definately they're the right speed. Yes we dont have episode 3 or HL3 yet.

Also Mr Wardell needs to look up Valve Time =P

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Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Hmmm, let's see..

L4D1/2: Made by Turtle Rock Studios, bought by Valve during dev of L4D1.

Portal: Made by the Narbacular Drop team after being hired by Valve

Alien Swarm: Made by Black Cat Games, hired by Valve during dev of Alien Swarm (not to be confused with the team's original creation, Alien Swarm for UT2k4, of which Alien Swarm for Source is a remake/Sequel)

 

You and your friend's argument seems a little.. Unenlightened.

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Pretty valid argument.  One issue is Portal.  Yes, it was assisted by that team, but take note how Portal is slowly intertwining with the Half-Life universe.  I'm sure Portal 2 will also have a deeper impact on HL2 and lead into Ep3.

One thing I should point out is that the voice actor of Dr. Breen passed away not too long ago, which I'm sure puts a major setback to the game's progression (IE finding someone to replace because I feel his character will have a major role in the end), let alone that I recall this episodic content being a trilogy and there is a ton of ends to cover in this one (Lets look at MGS4 and how it took forever to end as many possible loose ends as in the million hours of cutscenes).

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Better to delay the next Half Life than sell off Steam to some retailer who's business practices screw over developers.

Just sayin'...

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

You mean like EA or Activision? Yeah, those guys are retarded. I don't see how they keep making so much money.

"Power means nothing without honor and pride."

http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

Nothing wrong with that.  Maybe some Valve games have been delayed or back-burnered due to the focus on Steam, but I think on the whole it's had a tremendously positive impact on PC gaming -- and potentially a night-and-day one on Mac gaming.

Re: Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game ...

What Mr. Wardell says may be true.  Steam presumably creates much more revenue for Valve than fast-tracking game development.  Also, considering that the next Half Life (whatever form it takes) will sell very well regardless if it comes out tomorrow or two years from now, Valve has no reason to rush.

 

 
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