Valve Working on Console Development, Finding it Frustrating

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Valve Working on Console Development, Finding it Frustrating

For console gamers out there, one of the most frustrating things around is seeing lists of games going to PC that, with seemingly little tweaks, could go to consoles as well, but for reasons unclear to the console gamer, don't. Those frustrations seem to be shared by developers--particularly Valve--but for wholly different reasons.

Valve head Gabe Newell was widely known for saying that he didn't have an interest in returning to the "walled garden" of console development, but a lot of his complaints don't seem to have quite the same ring of truth they did back when he made a foray into that garden with the Xbox 360 and PS3 generations.

While issues of product planning played a major role in the earlier generations, particularly when it comes to free-to-play games, it's obvious that the free-to-play model has come into its own in the console market.

Newell also noted that issues of bureaucracy--"red tape" proved especially annoying--often prevented games from releasing quickly. On Steam, games can update quickly, and rapidly; sometimes games can update five or six times in a day. Newell wasn't alone here, as Fez's Phil Fish noted similar issues of high fees and long waits.

However, Microsoft has taken steps to fix many of these issues, and has for example trimmed the publishing process. Many developers have self-publishing capability now, and certification and title update fees are likewise gone.

It's enough to make one wonder if Newell has looked at development for consoles in the last three years. Granted, the PC market is large enough already to make console markets kind of an afterthought, but it's hard to believe any developer would want to leave cash on the table in any way at all.

We may see some changes, and some more universal development processes. That will be good news for gamers all over, as it will mean more choice and more competition in the market for limited purchase dollars.

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