Valve: We're Not Cancelling Any Projects

February 14, 2013 -

Valve's Gabe Newell took the unusual step of breaking his silence on recent developments inside Valve after it was reported yesterday that as many as 25 employees have been let go. Valve did not confirm that that number was accurate. Among those confirmed to be leaving the company are Valve’s director of business Jason Holtman and hardware engineer Jeri Ellsworth.

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Valve Programmer: Latency is the Enemy of Real Virtual Reality

December 31, 2012 -

If you are longing for the day when virtual reality - you know, that fictitious virtual realm we have seen in movies like The Matrix, Tron, Lawnmower Man and more - become reality, then you'll have to wait for improvements in Internet latency. At least that is what Valve Software programmer Michael Abrash says in a new blog post.

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Valve Launches Steam Guides as Part of Steam Community Beta

December 14, 2012 -

As part of its Steam Community Beta, Valve has launched its own Game Guides, a section not unlike what is offered over at GameFaqs. The new section will offer guides created by the Steam community using text, images or images and other stuff you might have hiding in your Steam Cloud. From the Steam Community Beta Page:

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Steam Community Market in Open Beta

December 12, 2012 -

Valve Software has launched the Steam Community Market in open beta, allowing Steam users to buy and sell in-game items using Steam Wallet funds. Sale items can be listed on the Community Market page or in players' personal inventories. Currently only Team Fortress 2 is supported and only consumables and tools can be sold at this time.

As the beta goes on, Valve plans to allow other items to be sold in Team Fortress 2 and to add the Steam Community Market functionality to other games. That will start to happen early next year.

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Silly Rumor: Valve in Discussions with NCsoft and Nexon about Possible Merger

September 27, 2012 -

South Korean publication Joongang News (by way of GamesBeat) may be reading WAY TOO MUCH into a meeting between Nexon, NCsoft and Valve Software in South Korea this week.

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Valve Faces the Wrath of German Consumer Organizations Over STEAM EULA Changes

September 21, 2012 -

Earlier this week Germany's Federation of German Consumer Organizations (or vzbv) called on Valve to explain the changes it made to the Steam end-user license agreement back in August. The vzbv found that the changes Valve made to its EULA were unfair to consumers and that Steam had no mechanism for allowing its users to trade games per a recent European High Court ruling. It required Valve to respond by September 26 to their insistence the company change its policy "restricting access to content based on the forfeiture of signing the new EULA."

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Poll: Is Valve Making Gaming Hardware?

September 5, 2012 -

Yesterday we highlighted a job listing on Valve's website that showed the popular game developer was looking to hire an Industrial Designer to work on "product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing."

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Valve Job Listing Indicates a Push Towards Hardware Design

September 4, 2012 -

While Valve Software has adamantly denied the rumor that it was getting into the hardware side of gaming (the infamous SteamBox rumor), a new job listing from the company seems to indicate otherwise. In that job listing Valve says that it needs an industrial designer to work on "product design and manufacturing, ergonomics, usability, aesthetics, and surfacing."

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Valve Rejects EA's Theory on Steam Game Discounting

July 11, 2012 -

Valve Software's business development chief Jason Holtman finally offered a response to what EA Origin boss David DeMartini said last month about Steam sales "cheapening intellectual property." At the time DeMartini said that EA's digital distribution platform would not copy Steam's frequent and deep discounting sales tactics.

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Origin Head: Steam Damages Brands With Deep Discounting

June 6, 2012 -

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, David DeMartini, Senior Vice President of Global Ecommerce for Electronic Arts and the head of EA's Origin digital distribution platform, decided to talks some smack about Valve's Steam. He also talks about the platform's rocky first year and how the company wants Origin to be the number one hub for gamers.

Blizzard Entertainment and Valve Software Come to an Agreement on DOTA Trademark

May 11, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment issued a brief statement this afternoon announcing that it had come to a mutual agreement concerning their competing DOTA games. Valve is developing DOTA 2, but under the terms of the agreement Blizzard will preserve its right to the noncommercial use of DOTA for its community relating to player-created maps for Warcraft III and StarCraft II.

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Valve's Gabe Newell on EA's Progress with Origin

April 23, 2012 -

EA's digital distribution platform "has a long way to go," according to Valve's Gabe Newell, who owns Steam. As part of episode one of the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Newell gave a blunt response when asked what he thought about EA's digital distribution platform.

"They have a lot of work to do to get to where they need to be and where I as a customer would want them to be," he said.

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Valve Software's Gabe Newell Valued at $1.5 Billion, According to Forbes

March 8, 2012 -

Valve Software's Gabe Newell has a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion dollars, putting him on Forbes Magazine's list of the richest people in the world. Newell ranks 854th in the 1,226 list of worldwide billionaires. Newell did not disclose his new worth to the magazine and since Valve is a privately-held company, Forbes had to estimate the figure listed above.

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Report: Blizzard Filed Opposition to Valve's Dota Trademark Attempt

February 10, 2012 -

Blizzard has challenged Valve's efforts to secure a U.S. trademark on Defense of the Ancients - something it said it had no plans of doing. In 2011 Valve announced plans to create a sequel to the popular Warcraft II mod, Defense of the Ancients. At the time Blizzard said that it would not oppose the company, but said that it was confused by the move. Today we learn that Blizzard filed a complaint with the U.S. trademark in opposition of Valve's registration of the Dota name in late 2011.

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Valve: Good Service Helps Combat Piracy

October 25, 2011 -

Valve front man Gabe Newell says that there is a way to beat piracy, and it involves content creators and publishers providing better service. In other words, obtrusive DRM solutions are not the answer to the problem.

"One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It's a service issue," said Newell at a tech conference in Seattle. "The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting anti-piracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what they're receiving from the pirates."

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EA: We Still Have a Good Relationship with Valve

October 3, 2011 -

Speaking to GameIndustry.biz, Jens Uwe Intat, the head of Electronic Arts Europe, said that his company continues to have a good working relationship with Valve Software, despite launching its own rival digital distribution services earlier this year. He is referring to the companies' continuing their retail relationship, and not necessarily the rivalry between its Origin digital distribution service and Valve's Steam.

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Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

September 1, 2011 -

While some publishers think that obtrusive DRM is the right way to go in protecting their PC game titles, Valve Software founder Gabe Newell sees the whole practice as wrong-headed and misguided. Speaking to Kotaku for its "Well Played" column, Newell said that Valve is a broken record on the topic:

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EA: 'Never Say Never' to EA Games Back on Steam

August 30, 2011 -

Speaking to Eurogamer recently, EA Europe's top executive said that seeing future games on Valve's platform, despite recent disputes, is still a possibility.

"Never say never," said Jens Uwe Intat when asked by Eurogamer if EA could fully embrace Valve’s Steam platform again. "When we were talking about it's best for the consumer that competition is a good thing, for the consumer also choice is a good thing."

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Valve: We Have to Show EA That Steam is Good for Them

August 18, 2011 -

Valve Software President Gabe Newell says that his company has a responsibility to show Electronic Arts that it is "smarter business" to add (and keep) its games on Steam instead of removing them. In a recent interview with Develop, Newell lamented EA's decision to remove games from the Steam service and put out an olive branch to the company.

"We have to show EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we’re going to try to show them that," he said.

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Valve Beta Testing 'Steam Trading'

August 10, 2011 -

Valve is beta testing a new feature that allows users to trade in-game items, games and other stuff called Steam Trading. Right now they are testing it with Team Fortress 2. From the Steam blog:

"Team Fortress 2 items and Steam Gifts can currently be traded in the Steam Trading Beta.

Any game you've purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in Team Fortress 2.

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Team Fortress 2 Goes Free To Play

June 24, 2011 -

Valve Software's popular online team-based shooter Team Fortress 2 is going free to play - a first for a Valve Software title. Valve plans to support the title on virtual items.. like hats. All current owners of the PC game will automatically become premium account holders. Premium members get access to rare and cosmetic items through random item drops, the ability to store more items in your backpack, and more powerful trading and crafting abilities

The gameplay experience (beyond the extra baubles TF2 premium account holders get) will be the same for everyone. Gamers who purchase any item from Team Fortress 2's digital storefront (Mann Co. Store) will also be granted premium account privileges. Players spend real money to buy virtual items such as weapons for various character classes, and a wide variety of hats. Those who bought Team Fortress 2 will also receive a "Proof of Purchase hat" for any character.

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Valve Looks for New Ways to Aid Disabled Gamers

December 27, 2010 -

Valve has always been keen to track user data and use it to improve its games, but many may not know that the company has always been acutely aware that some of its players may have special needs in order to play many of their most popular games. Speaking to Gamasutra Mike Ambinder of Valve Software explains some of the things the company does to help players with different kinds of disabilities:

"Most of the accommodations we make for disabled gamers (closed captioning/subtitles, colorblind mode, in-game pausing in single player, easier difficulty levels, re-mappable keys/buttons, open-microphones, mouse sensitivity settings, use of both mouse and keyboard and gamepads, etc.) stem from functionality added to improve the experience of both able and disabled gamers," Ambinder tells Gamasutra.

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Deleting TF2 Golden Wrenches for Charity

August 6, 2010 -

One recipient of a rare and controversial item granted last month to 100 players of Valve’s Team Fortress 2, is turning a negative into a positive and has organized a charity drive that will see owners of the items delete them in order to benefit the Child’s Play charity.

The item in question is the Golden Wrench, used by the game’s Engineer class. John Tran, the man behind the charity drive, received one of the items, but claimed, in talking with Bitmob, that they were not randomly distributed, as Valve had earlier stated.

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Steam Users See SecuROM Removed from Bad Company 2

March 22, 2010 -

EA's popular squad-based shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2 recently received a patch to remove the much-maligned SecuROM DRM.

Sounds great right? Well, hold off on the celebration, because there's a bit of a caveat. The patch, which comes with a number of bug fixes and interface changes, will only remove SecuROM for Steam users. Retail owners of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 are still out of luck, at least for the time being.  Steam users will find themselves using Valve's internal DRM, which is a significant improvement.

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Gamers Petition for Counter-Strike 2

January 25, 2010 -

It’s been about five and a half years since Valve released Counter-Strike: Source and a growing gaggle of gamers think it’s about time for some news and action on Counter-Strike 2.

Organized by UK-resident Sam England, the group hopes to goad Valve into issuing an official response on the matter—and to eventually put CS2 into production—by drawing 25,000 members to its Facebook page. The group has already surpassed 2,300 members.

Why the does the group see a need for CS2?

….we want to bolster interest in CS so more people play it, and if we want to regain mainstream attention in the game it needs to be re released as Counterstrike 2. Even if it was just re released with some fixes/patches, additional official maps, a graphical upgrade and a new shiny box... Counterstrike would then survive as a franchise and become popular once again.

England added a few more thoughts:

The most popular multiplayer FPS games on the PC are either non-realistic, less mainstream games or simply very poorly executed ports of console FPS games like Modern Warfare 2. There is no longer a single iconic game on the PC which everyone can enjoy, and play together.

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Non-Steam Digital Deliverers Uninterested in Selling MW2

November 6, 2009 -

The forced integration of the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Valve’s Steamworks platform has turned off other digital game distribution services.

IGN-owned Direct2Drive has opted not to offer MW2 on its service reports Gamasutra, calling the forced use of Steam a “Trojan Horse.” The company will offer $5 off other Activision games as compensation. From a statement on Direct2Drive’s website:

At Direct2Drive, we believe strongly that when you buy a game from us, you shouldn't be forced to install and run a 3rd party software client to be able to play the game you purchased.

Meanwhile, VoodooExtreme received confirmation from both Stardock and GamersGate that neither of those two services will sell MW2 either. Stardock elaborated to VE on the reasoning for not selling MW2 through their Impulse service:

We share some of the same concerns as Direct2Drive over the bundling of the Steam client with the game. The most obvious issue is the forced inclusion of a competitor's store that blocks us from carrying the game.

Our issues with the game are solely with the Steamworks bundling. We enjoy a great relationship with Activision and would love to sell the title, but not with Steam.

GP: A commenter on the Gamasutra story noted that Direct2Drive offers other games that require a Steam install, such as Zeno Clash. Of course that game will not move nearly the amount of copies MW2 will, so it appears in this case that IGN/Direct2Drive is just being selective in its stand against Steam.

22 comments

Imagining the Web Minus Net Neutrality

October 29, 2009 -

A reddit user has created a striking visual representation of what *could* happen if net neutrality laws are shot down.

The image is based tiered pricing plans that some cable and Internet companies currently offer (lending, perhaps, an increased measure of reality to the illustration) and imagines, for example, websites such as Hulu and YouTube as part of a "Hollywood Tier," available for $10 over the price paid for basic Internet service.

More relevant here is the rendering of a “Playground” tier that includes Valve’s Steam platform, World of Warcraft, Gametap, Electronic Arts and Real Arcade, offered for a $5 surcharge. Yikes!

42 comments

Original L4D2 Again Denied Classification by OFLC

October 22, 2009 -

Australian gamers will have to make do with a modified version of Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2 as the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) board again denied the title classification following a re-review of the game.

A three-member panel of the board declared that the game could not be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification, reaffirming an earlier decision. Valve and distributor Electronic Arts had appealed the earlier judgment, but as a backup they also submitted a toned down version of L4D2, which received an MA 15+ rating. The edited version removed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment.

Further commenting on the original, Refused Classification version, the board said:

…it was the Review Board’s opinion that there was insufficient delineation between the
depiction of general zombie figures and the human figures, as opposed to the clearly fictional
‘infected’ characters. This was a major consideration of the Review Board in determining the
impact of this game on minors.

A media release on the subject from the OFLC can be viewed here (PDF).

24 comments

Left 4 Dead 2 Boycott Group to Disband

October 14, 2009 -

A group of gamers angry at Valve Software over the development of Left 4 Dead 2 are poised to disband their boycott group.

The Steam Group L4D2 Boycott, comprised of over 41,000 members will close on October 21, 2009 reports VoodooExtreme. The group was angered over what they termed Valve’s abandonment of the original Left 4 Dead game, which they expected more updates and content for, versus Valve’s decision to launch a new version of the game.

Steam user Agent of Chaos said the group had “accomplished everything we can” and added that “Our goal wasn’t to steer people away from L4D2, it was to get Valve’s attention and have them support original L4D. We succeeded and that’s where our mission ends; nothing more or less.”

Another group admin, Steam user Walking_Target stated that “people are unwilling or unable to wait for Valve to follow through in any cohesive way. Valve is at least trying to make things right, there will be speed bumps on the way, however we will get there.”

Labeling the boycott group a success, Walking_Target continued:

As a collective we have done more than achieve a few goals, we have paved the way for Developer-Community relations in the future. No matter what the press or other gamers say, we have made an indelible mark upon the future of this industry. You should all be proud, we certainly are.

Valve flew the leaders of the boycott group out to their offices in September in a bid to make peace.

40 comments

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.

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Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
 

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