A few years back, around the release of The Orange Box and Left 4 Dead, Valve was really going hard for Microsoft. They were trotting out quotes left and right saying how LIVE was the wave of the future and that the PS3 wasn’t really a good choice for developers. Fast forward to 2010, and opinions are changing. Back in July, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell swaggered out on stage at Sony’s E3 presser and announced that not only would Portal 2 be coming to the PlayStation 3, but it would be the premier version of the game. Naturally, some hyperbole is expected at E3, but Valve seems to be doing a neat about-face in regards to their console preferences.
Part of what caused Valve to change their mind about the X-Box 360 is that the development cycle for the system is very closed off. If you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s certification process, it is a very stringent battery of tests that need to be done internally by Microsoft before anything gets released to LIVE. This adds to the time needed to get patches out, even the critical ones. Microsoft also has a habit of insisting that downloadable content costs money, something Valve has preferred to avoid. The PS3, on the other hand, presents a much more open development platform for Valve, something they’re eager to utilize.
Part of why Valve is so happy to be developing on the PS3 now is that the platform allows for the integration of Steamworks, which is not permitted in closed environment like LIVE. Steamworks allows Valve to easily push out updates and DLC, something that killed Team Fortress 2 on the 360, an awkward situation that Valve views as a “failure”. While the PC version of the team-based shooter has enjoyed a bounty of free DLC including new maps, hats and class updates, the 360 version had languished with the bare-bones original product. Valve has postulated that 360 gamers would like to have Steamworks on their platform, but that decision isn’t up to them.
What do you guys think about Valve’s new stance. Kind of funny considering how readily they were willing to dismiss the PS3 just last year. You PS3 owners, are you eager for some Valve loving? If you own a 360, are you feeling a little dismayed by this turn of events?