The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Steam interview at CVG

2007 previewed :: February 6th, 2007 :: New products, Steam updates :: 6 Responses have posted a well-rounded Steam interview with Valve’s PR chief, Doug Lombardi, which looks ahead to 2007 (thanks Michael). Points of interest:

More payment methods and “alternative pricing structures” are being developed.

Prepaid cards and subscriptions come to mind, both long-term goals or Valve when we last heard, but needless to say the reality may be more mundane. More

Just as we’ve made some shifts in our development process to move to episodic releases, we think there may be some alternative pricing structures that would appeal to gamers … We’ll also be introducing other payment methods in addition to PayPal, which was just rolled out.

Free Weekends are to be joined by “more unique offers”.

Not much to go on here. We’ve know about Valve’s Peer-to-Peer distribution plans for a very long time now — perhaps the hints dropped by Splash Damage that they’d like to build a P2P system for community Quake Wars content will catalyse things? More

As for what’s next, we’ll be extending our ability to extend more unique offers such as the Free Weekends.

Retailers, not just publishers, are now being won over.

“Retailers have evolved to a new way of thinking about digital distribution”. Valve have even been in (so far non-committal) negotiations with a few, though quite how them “setting up shop” would function I don’t know. More

Initially, I think [retailers] saw [Steam] as a direct threat. Now, as Steam and online distribution have matured, more and more of the myths about online versus retail are falling away.

We’ve had conversations about how [setting up shop] might work with a few retailers, and we’ll continue to pursue those. But we have no announcements to make in this regard just yet.

Discontinued games are about to start arriving.

This has taken a surprisingly long time, in retrospect. Keep some fingers crossed for Sacrifice, Hostile Waters, System Shock 2 and your other cult favourites! More

Many of the developers and publishers using Steam presently have more planned — from bringing new day-and-date titles to re-launching critically acclaimed but out of stock titles to over 10 million active gamers.

Steam on consoles not denied.

The 360 and PS3 already have delivery networks, so what’s behind this no-comment? More

CVG: One question on our mind is whether your forthcoming Half-Life 2 releases on Xbox 360 and PS3 will be tied in with Steam — what’s the score here?
Lombardi: Nothing to report today.

6 Responses to this post:


  1. garry Says:

    Holy shit! An update!

    One thing I constantly get emails about is the lack of options for people without credit cards/paypal. Hopefully the new payment methods will allow them to get GMod10.

    I think something ideal for Steam would be buying shit with mobile phones. This is probably a lot more of a sensible option now a lot of the prices are under £10.

  2. ATimson Says:

    Part of the problem with offering anything other than those two online is the significant per-transaction fees. I’m not sure that Valve would want to offer them, if the fees end up being more than their share of the price!

  3. Andy Simpson Says:

    Clearly the answer would be Xbox Live style microtransactions so you could buy a lot of Steam credit and use that to buy games to solve the per-transaction problem.

    Steam as we know it on consoles seems unlikely, but I imagine a few tech pieces might make the leap.

    I’m very much starting to think P2P is never coming.

  4. Tom Edwards Says:

    Steam on consoles update:

    Source is a complete game engine. Source supports multiplayer game development on PC and Xbox 360. Source is capable of communicating between Xbox 360 and PC versions, but Microsoft currently places access limits on the Xbox Live service that keeps developers from making products that connect users of both platforms.

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