View Full Version : Newell on the future of Steam as a user-generated paradise

01-09-2013, 03:33 PM

Valve's top bossman Gabe Newell hasn't forgotten about the software side of his empire, even though he just dropped confirmation of a living room, Linux-powered Steam Box. Steam will continue to evolve, he tells The Verge at CES, and in the future it may resemble a user-generated profile hub, where users can create their own stores and aggregate games within those markets.

"Our view has always been that we should build tools for customers and tools for partners," Newell says. "An editorial filter is fine, but there should be a bunch of editorial filters. The backend services should be network APIs that anybody can use. On the consumer side, anybody should be able to put up a store that hooks into those services.

"Some people will create team stores, some people will create Sony stores, some people will create stores with only games that they think meet their quality bar. Somebody is going to create a store that says 'these are the worst games on Steam.' So that's an example of where our thinking is leading us right now."

Newell's love affair with user generated content can be seen in its infancy with Greenlight, which allows users to choose the games that make it to Steam. The idea, however, stems from a more established aspect of Steam the Workshop.

"So now we're in this strange world where we have people who are using the Steam Workshop who are making $500,000 per year building items for other customers," Newell says. "In other words, there's this notion that user-generated content has to be an important part of our thinking. We know of other game developers making more money building content for the workshop than what they get in their day job.

"One of the things we found is that this notion of a workshop needs to span multiple games. If we're connecting Skyrim and other games... it's like this notion that there's just a game seems to be going away; games are starting to look like an instance of some larger experience."

I remember waaaaaaaay back when the 360 was still called Xenon and M$ was showcasing what generation 2 of Xbox live was going to be. There was a lot of talk about users being able to create, sell, trade, and buy content made by others. It sounded great on paper but after release it was relieved that dream was Xbox Live's Arcade. Which required hefty founding for M$'s own fees. And the general gamer has zero access to the actual tools needed to develop for a individual game.

So I am impressed Valve has stepped up to open the door to this kind of market. Its one reason I played L4D as long as I did. The amount of fan created levels is incredible. Some are very well done. When such videos got on Youtube the question almost everyone asks is how can they play "NameOfLevelHere" on Xbox 360. Well, you can't. Its a Xbox thing.

01-09-2013, 03:51 PM
A great philosophy, it's why I can happily back things Valve do. User generated content is some of the best stuff around; I mean, Counter-Strike and TF2 begun as mods, and one of the most fun games released last year was Day Z, a mod for a military SIM not many people had.

Thumbs up Gabe.

Drunken Savior
01-09-2013, 06:36 PM
It certainly gives some games extra legs (i.e. re-playability) when you can give it new content or tweak existing content to your desires.

01-09-2013, 11:12 PM
I posted the verge article in the other thread. No. I'm not buying it. Just seems way too willy nilly for me. I'm not sure what the hell is going on over there(valve). So it is a PC or a unit that plays pc games. You know what, forget it. It's obvious they are treating this like it's game development.

The ony thing I am with on this is the future of interactive gaming and the biotmetric stuff and the oculus rift stuff. I am over the steambox stuff.

01-10-2013, 04:49 AM
I don't know how the hell you've made a decision like that, they haven't even told us anything... it's not even been revealed, all we know is it's a thing, that's it. That's the extent of what we know.

01-10-2013, 04:33 PM
Ok, so, we don't really know anything then? You see this is the message that they are putting out there. I love valve just as much as the next guy, but, it is pretty clear that they have everyone and everything all over the place. Was Gaben trying to get everybody excited about development of a "possible" steambox? Seems weird that he of all people would go out and say all this stuff and that it needs testing, but hey look we have these other gaming PCs that basically kind of do what we want our console, no, gaming PC to do.

I mean there is no reason to be exited about it. I think that is what is kind of bothering me. Everyone is excited about something they know nothing about, but it's bad when I question it.

Valve needs to unify their message to consumers and manufactures. I mean what happened at CES is just stupid.

01-10-2013, 06:13 PM
I honestly don't see this 'pretty clear' stuff you're talking about. :/ It seems quite clear what they're offering; an affordable Gaming PC with console-like simplicity and yet maintaining what makes PC gaming great, which is why he wants to offer so much user-created stuff. It's a simple design but it won't be simple execution, hell naw, so Gabe saying it needs testing is fine, that's what Valve does: test, test, and then test some more and it really pays off. It's all about figuring out how to accomplish the vision.

Mods like Day Z, RTS', MMOs, F2P games, huge Indie catalogue, porn, etc. PC Gaming has a tonne to offer, but not everyone wants the hardships of having a gaming PC. Valve looking to offer a PC experience in an easy bundle is something that interests a lot of people and I'd say is something quite exciting. If it doesn't interest you that's fair enough, but there's something for everyone, PC has a lot of variety most people don't see, and I'd it's way too early to just say "NO THANKS" without really knowing a thing yet. This could turn into your preferred system, never know. Anything can happen. :P

Also, in case you do or don't know, the Steambox and that Xi3 Piston that was revealed at CES are two different things. We're talking about the former, which hasn't been revealed, not the Piston. Just in case we're on two different wavelengths here.

And if Gaben wanted us excited over this, he'd pose next to it with his shirt off, you know this as well as I do. :slap:

01-10-2013, 08:30 PM
Yes I know that there are other devices that can run Steam applications, that is what I was saying in my 'pretty clear' rant.

I simply do not like how they are presenting this. I understand the need to test, obviously, it's what I do, but the way they are presenting it to everybody, is not to my liking. I'd rather they simply do what Sony and Microsoft are doing and leaking little things at a time. It seems that Valve is trying to get people excited about something that isn't proven (gaming Pcs; Pcs that appear to be like consoles, but aren't).

Really the problem is in the hardware imo. It is constantly changing, so if Valve can successfully come up with a design that can upgrade specific parts, then they have something on their hands. But, it just doesn't make sense as a consumer to buy into something at whatever price that will be generally outdated with PC technology always growing and changing. How long will it take for it to fall behind? Do they have a plan for that? How scalable will it be? Why not make it a closed system that can only run "steambox" games? They have a lot of work on their hands with this one.

Again Oculus Rift (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...lzAXS8#t=1147s) is true next gen for me. Whoever gets this right first can have my money, not even that, my entire wallet.

01-10-2013, 08:49 PM
Valve's intentions were, going off old interviews when the original Steambox rumours happened, that the machine will be modular, can swap out hardware, and maybe have sort of Stamped Approved hardware, so I don't think it'll really fall behind in hardware like other consoles do if that does happen. And you are right, they do have a lot of work, but they did with Steam. And look how that turned out. :D Gabe has said it'll natively run Linux but you can install Windows on it if you want. So that makes me confident you can swap out hardware too, as it's still customisable like a PC, unlike a console.

I think you need to give Valve more credit than you're giving them. Do you honestly, 100% believe every question you've asked hasn't been considered by them? It's kind of their job to ask these questions. I'm pretty sure they all have been, especially since they said they're making hardware cos they're unhappy with how consoles are. 'A lack of innovation in console hardware' it was, I think. So the stuff you said, out-dated hardware, etc. are problems all consoles face, but problems Valve likely won't fall into. They're not a bunch of bumbling idiots. :P

Also, unlike the Piston, Valve/Gabe (synonymous these days eh?) specifically said the Steambox was aimed to be high-performance machine. It's made to be a powerful gaming machine. I think you have to worry about the hardware of the 720/PS4 more than the Steambox to be very honest.

And on your point on presentation; they haven't presented it? Gabe's just talked about it during interviews, nothing's been presented yet. That's why we're calling it the Steambox, they haven't even told us a name.

01-10-2013, 11:38 PM
Presenting ideas publically about a console your trying to develop sounds serious to me. Again, you don't see sony or m$ doing this.

Look if they can make something that can excite hardware manufactures into making the system somehow scalable to upgrade would help their cause. But the approach they are taking with the interviews and the messages, is the wrong way and if they actually are trying to rile up their competition (sony m$), they aren't.

They should do what they do and keep quiet.

01-11-2013, 01:11 PM
You don't see MS or Sony doing this, no, but Valve isn't MS or Sony are they? MS and Sony, and Nintendo, are faceless corporations who do everything by the books. Valve is a very community-oriented, friendly company. I don't want them to change, and most people wouldn't either. Why would you want a company to be more closed off? And this seems to be working for Valve. Devs like CDP (Witcher) are similar.

And all these questions you're asking should be directed to Microsoft and Sony moreso than Valve, I don't understand why you have such harsh pessimism towards them and seems a tad un-called for. Valve is coming into this with a good record, the single best digital distribution platform, well-loved by the gaming community and a brilliant track record in game development; MS and Sony are coming into the next generation having tripped over on many problems you've pointed out. I'm not saying don't put Valve under any scrutiny but there's no reason to believe the worst in them just yet.

Also, I flat-out don't see how Valve are going the wrong way with this. As MS and Sony move closer to a completely restrictive platform, bundled with un-necessary features you may not want, like I don't give a shit about being able to Tweet on my Xbox, I'd say Valve are moving the exact way the Industry needs to, tbh. This interview proved they're making a console for gamers, not to please investors. Customisable hardware has been hinted, customisable software and games has been confirmed, as has gamer-created content. I don't see the problem in all honesty, no matter how hard I look. Maybe PC gamer mentality is just a lot differant, but I want freedom, and Valve offer that. Good luck getting that from MS and Sony. :P

01-11-2013, 02:30 PM
No idea where Kiuju is coming from on this one... It's nice to know some of the things the company is investigating and planning for the future.

01-11-2013, 04:25 PM
I'll tell you where i'm coming from. It was from another thread about the Steambox and I felt the development approach that they are taking with hardware should not be the same as software they build. I am sure I mentioned it quite a few times in the other thread at how good a product Steam is, and how it came from just hosting and playing games, to an all-out distribution service. Mind boggling, but for hardware, and what they want out of it, is a huge order and should be handled differently. A lot of what Gabe/Valve reps say tends to get blown out of proportion by the gaming media, and those kind of things I can't stand. So that's my angle.


I believe if they are trying to operate a gaming platform for the living room, they had better look at what their competition is doing. I thin all of this willy nilly talk from Gabe is giving people and the press (Kotaku) the wrong idea. We will see of course, either way, gamers win, we win.

01-11-2013, 05:29 PM
You do make a great point about that, hardware is nothing like software, if only otherwise I'd download myself some more RAM, but again, do you not think Valve knows this? You're making good points but it's as if you're under the impression Valve is a fledgling company and this is their first project, rather than treating them like they've earned to be treated with all that they've done. Steam was a massive under-taking, no one really done before or at least done well and now most of Steam's features are de rigeur when it comes to digital distribution. Half Life did similar things, features of many modern games owe themselves to Half Life, so let's give them enough respect to think they'll know all this and be asking themselves the questions you are. :o I'm pretty sure the guys at Valve aren't morons, let's not treat them as such.

The stuff we do know, how both the hardware (not 100% but come on, it will be) and software of the console is going to be customisable, and even the controller too since their patents show you can swap out analog sticks and buttons (here! (http://www.girlgamer.com/site_media/media/thumbs/articles/2012/12/11/Valve-Controller-Patent-Image_jpg_650x10000_q85.jpg)), and the fact they've said it's aiming to be a powerful, open gaming machine points to nothing but good so far as I'm concerned, I don't see a negative. They could reveal more that makes me more negative, but not yet have they.

A little add-on point too, it's been rumoured that Blizzard are working on a Linux port of one of their games now, too, to test the waters of Linux basically. It's quite well known Valve and Blizzard are friendly to eachother, and Blizz support would be a damn good thing to have, and that's from a non-WoW player. :P Check it out (http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/01/07/blizzard-rumoured-to-be-working-on-linux-port-of-at-least-one-of-their-titles/).

01-12-2013, 06:16 PM
Well Linux is a good OS quite honestly. We'll see I guess, in the end, I want them to do well and to change things.

01-14-2013, 11:29 AM
Gabe is fat.

01-14-2013, 11:51 AM

Drunken Savior
01-14-2013, 11:55 AM
I'm an enabler...based on how many games I buy during Steam sales. It's gotten so bad that I buy games now just to horde them and give them away to my friends unexpectedly. I gave Vegetto a copy of The Walking Dead a few weeks ago.

01-14-2013, 12:05 PM

Too true.

01-14-2013, 07:48 PM
steam and mobile app stores has fucked up my paid and unplayed lists... :(

01-24-2013, 04:43 PM
You see how nobody is talking about this anymore? That's what I mean, absolutely no buzz at all for this. What are they doing over there?

01-24-2013, 04:57 PM
Unlike your 'answer to the Steambox' GameStick, which is on the front cover of every news site and still being talked about right now? :rolleyes:

And no one's talking about it because what is there to talk about, exactly? Nothing has been unveiled. Let Valve work on it in peace, you'll get your chance to hate on it whenever they actually show it off.

Drunken Savior
01-24-2013, 09:48 PM
Well Linux is a good OS quite honestly. We'll see I guess, in the end, I want them to do well and to change things.

You see how nobody is talking about this anymore? That's what I mean, absolutely no buzz at all for this. What are they doing over there?

Take your own advice.

Also, no one is really invesitgating the Piston since Gabe said that it's not the Steambox they are working on. That one is codenamed Bigfoot (http://www.ign.com/videos/2013/01/09/news-piston-is-not-valves-steambox). Right now, all we have are rumors and promises, nothing concrete.

I will say, though, that by the Piston making a big splash in the news, it's added some confusion within the people who aren't sure what is, and is not, the Steambox. Additionally, Ben Krasnow seems to be flip flopping between when they plan to show the Steambox. One source says it will be presented in 2013, another says there will be no announcements in 2013.

01-24-2013, 10:25 PM
*Noted, I stand by what I said, in the end, we win, but.. I thought it would be interesting to point that out. This is exactly what I meant about how they deal with things like these (hardware development), they really should have said nothing about any of this and leaked info like everybody else.

Drunken Savior
01-25-2013, 12:43 AM
It's entirely possible that they are trying to figure out a way to get games that normally run on Direct X to run in Linux without much work on the developers part. The success of any kind of modular PC running without Windows will be the catalog of games. At the moment, it's really up to Valve to make it happen, not the developers.

But trying to suggest that the thing is dead in the water because no one is talking about it is a poor point. Not many people are talking about the PS4, XBox3 and even the WiiU. Let's wait until a big show like E3 when we anticipate news to drop before we assume anything.

01-26-2013, 01:52 AM

01-30-2013, 08:45 PM
"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"


"The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," Newell said. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

This is, yet another talking point about 'stuff' they are doing at valve. Apple apparently is a threat to the living room. I still don't understand what is going on over there, but he is still talking about it(stuff they are doing at valve).

Article (http://www.polygon.com/2013/1/30/3934112/gabe-newell-steam-boxs-biggest-threat-isnt-consoles-its-apple)

02-01-2013, 09:37 AM
Hey, Gabe's busy, okay?


02-01-2013, 10:08 PM
Hey what is he doing having fun? You see what I mean, go make HL3 already!