by Mike Profeta
Recently, Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve hosted a talk at the University of Texas. All else aside, something that stood out to me — and several others, I’m sure — was his idea that Valve is a bottleneck to the Steam publishing model. He said that he believes that publishing to Steam should be open to all, and that everyone should have that ability without Valve standing in the way of any of it.
Of course this opens the door to all kinds of potential issues such as viruses and malware, bad developers and a host of other negative factors. This could also mean that we might see an influx of terrible games that have gone through no scrutiny from some of the best in the business.
This is a terrible idea because Valve has played an important gatekeeping role regarding Steam.
A recent example of Valve coming to the rescue of the consumers was the downright awful launch of The War Z. The developers were all over Steam after the game launched banning those on the forums who had any negative words for the game. In addition to issuing press releases that were far from professional, the developers also ignored any criticism from players regardless of how constructive it might be. Valve pulled the game from it’s online store shortly after launch as a result
This being just one example, I believe that without Valve at the helm of Steam — or at least moderating the publishing of content from the community — the whole service will fall into disarray. We will get sub-par games, unfinished content, incompetent and unprofessional developers, and a myriad of other issues as well.
This is a debate that will no doubt grow in popularity as more details come out from Newell and the rest of the team at Valve.