Valve Missed An Amazing Opportunity

By not taking the opportunity while on center stage to announce Half-Life 3 or another big title, Valve missed out on a huge opportunity.

Ok I was wrong. Valve did not announce Half-Life 3 today as I predicted they would, but a funky-looking controller to use with their recently announced Steam Machine. That's great and all, and maybe it will be an amazing controller, but I really feel like Valve missed a massive opportunity.

Coming into this week we were told to expect three big announcements. First they announced SteamOS, the operating system that will run Steam's Big Picture mode. Then we were told about Steam Machine, which delivers the Steam ecosystem into the living room and launches Valve's full-on assault on Xbox and PlayStation. It is clearly my mistake, but I assumed that any controller announcement would have been/should have been packaged in with the console, because they are one in the same - you can't play a console without a controller. I was convinced that today would be the announcement of a big game, one that might even be exclusive to Steam Machine to help push units out the door.

But no. We got a controller.

Again, I have to stress that the controller itself might be amazing, I'm not upset about the actual controller. I'm upset at Valve's business strategy, because if they had announced Half-Life 3 today, there would have been people canceling their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 pre-orders in anticipation of a Steam Machine. As it stands now, Steam Machine is still sort of out there as an unknown. We don't know specs, we don't know price, and we don't know when. After this week’s announcements, all a Steam Machine can do is play PC games we already own. There is nothing exclusive to look forward to.

Obviously, Valve will probably release some games down the road that are either Steam exclusives or at the very least, timed exclusives. But in terms of trying to build excitement and get momentum on your side as we inch closer to the launch of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in November, I really think Valve missed an opportunity. They could have announced Half-Life 3, or maybe even some other massive game that comes out of nowhere like Microsoft's Titanfall did.

It's unfortunate that they didn't feel the need to show us anything big enough to get us excited about Steam Machines right now. Sure, I'm excited about Steam Machine, but there's no way I would buy one without some big exclusives I can't get anywhere else. Why would I buy this console when I have already invested in a serious gaming PC that will potentially be better than what Steam Machines are? I need a real reason, because I won’t buy a second gaming PC to play Skyrim.

I will probably buy one of these eventually, and maybe there will even be some big game announcements that will be Steam Machine exclusives between now and launch that make me look silly, but I feel like Valve missed a chance to take a slice out of Sony and Microsoft's pies. There will be a lot of people buying Valve's console, but time is of the essence with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 release dates looming close. I feel like Valve could have snatched up a few people who were on the fence about their console pre-order, but after this week, I'm not sure the average gamer knows enough about Steam Machine to take the risk.

Featured Columnist

Proud gamer parent and freelance journalist (and fundraiser). I cover anything and everything that's interesting about the gaming industry, and even some stuff that isn't so interesting.

Published Sep. 29th 2013
  • EdibleKnife
    Correspondent
    Man, if people keep touting HL3 so much (if it eventually even gets made), it's gonna be under so much scrutiny that it will probably never live up to its hype.
  • Justin Yuson
    Featured Contributor
    pretty much what happened to Duke Nukem Forever
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    I am afraid of the hype train effect too. The hype train doesn't always kill games though and I think valve is one of the few that I would trust with something like that. I absolutely think valve should announce HL3 as an exclusive for SteamOS, which means you can play it on your PC. But also give some amazing perk to using the Steam Box to play it. Maybe like 3D capability or split screen play only on steam box. Something to push the Steam Box as well. I think out of many amazing games Half Life is one of those that has the most pull in gaming that would successfully push a new console or OS.
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Contributor
    Personally, I disagree - I think Valve knows exactly what they're doing. They can announce HL3 whenever they damn well please, and it'll still be MASSIVE, but right now they want to establish the simple fact that SteamOS exists. They want to show that you won't necessarily need a traditional console in order to enjoy gaming in your living room. That's a pretty big deal. Especially since you can still access your entire backlog of Steam games on this console for maximum backwards compatibility.

    Besides, they were totally riding out the "3" of the three announcements for the sake of hype. They can happily sit back and milk HL3 for hype before it's even been announced.
  • Zachary Welter
    Featured Contributor
    I really, really, really doubt people would order a Steam Machine just for HL3 when it would be released on PC and other consoles as well.

    It'd be a horrible move. A Steam Machine should cost about as much as a good computer, since that's basically what it is. People aren't going to buy a second PC for a single game.

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