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.

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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 the specs, we don’t know the 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.

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Brian Armstrong
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.