Prey arrives on Steam; new Triton company
Two major developments in the Triton/Prey saga tonight—and you thought it was over.
The most immediate is the surprise announcement that Prey, without an online distributor following Triton’s collapse, will be released on Steam later today (see the Steam homepage or this 3DR forum thread). Unusually, those who bought the game at retail and even from Triton will be able to register their CD keys: Take2 and/or 3D Realms are evidently still supporting their beleaguered customers.
Despite that fact, the asking price on Steam is still $50. Further, those who buy the game on the cheap today (i.e. at retail) are seemingly able to migrate without restriction to Steam, and become, for lack of a kinder term, leeches of the service. With Valve unable to take anything at all from those purchases, it’s safe to assume that Take2 is paying them a support-covering sum on each registration.
There is also Gamasutra’s interview with Scott Miller, which provides two points of interest on page three. Miller first reiterates his reasons for not wanting to distribute through Steam. The interview would have been made some time ago, so don’t take its context today as too much of a mixed message (although I will admit, it is quite funny).
His unfortunately-timed complaint is that for as long as Steam is an internal Valve project, other developers will be wary of offering a potential or actual competitor a slice of both their sales figures and revenue. While Gabe Newell’s riposte to this on the Next-Gen Podcast was a good one—that 3DR seem quite happy to overcome their inhibitions when licensing engines from iD—I’ve been wanting for some time to voice my agreement with Miller. It might make more sense today to keep things together, but there will come a point when Steam will be stronger as an enterprise of its own. Unless, of course, Valve are planning on creating a glass ceiling for its growth.
Returning to Prey and Triton, Miller hints at a new system being created from the midst of DiStream’s system’s fallout:
From the ashes of Triton, there’s a company starting up that will do things much better. Triton had some internal problems that hurt them from the beginning. They were a dead man walking situation from the start.
I haven’t been able to extract any further details on this new company, but Miller’s choice of phrase (“from the ashes”) has produced the textual equivalent of a knowing grin. How cryptic.