Lack of Half-Life 3 Casts a Shadow Over Steam Announcements

Does the absence of Half Life 3 spell trouble for the new Steam Box?

Before last week, the gaming industry was teeming with excitement over Valve's future announcements. We had no idea what was in store, but the most obvious and sensible guess was that they were preparing us for the long-awaited Half-Life 3 announcement.

Fake websites were popping up all over trying to cash in on the hype and conspiracy level theories that were thrown around, pouncing on any morsel of information and blowing it up to fit their predictions. And when these announcements were finally made public, it left us with a bitter-sweet feeling in the pit of our stomachs.

Don't get me wrong, the SteamOS, Steam Box, and new Controller all are amazingly creative ideas from Valve, but it just wasn't what we wanted. Like getting a  5 star hamburger instead of a 5 star prime rib.

Now "Oh Yeah" by Yello is playing in my head...

Now I am sure this entire article premise will be obsolete as new information comes in over the next few months, but at the moment, a lot of people are uneasy about many of the new ideas presented by Valve. Since we do not have any real tangible data about these new products yet, very few people are sold. Sure, our interests are piqued, but nothing more.

Gearbox Software head Randy Pitchford said that despite the installed customer base,  Valve will need a killer app to prove the potential of Steam Machines.

"Ultimately, without that must-buy product driving us all towards this stuff, I expect that the industry at large will watch curiously, but remain largely unaffected..."

"There is always a chicken-and-egg problem here and the last time Valve was able to motivate us to wade into a new paradigm, they attracted us there with a product - I was forced to install and use Steam in order to play Half-Life 2.  Given that, I would be thrilled if Valve announced a product that I already knew I wanted that was designed to use their three newly announced components (os, machine, controller) and that could not exist but for those three new components," Pitchford commented.

"That kind of announcement would really help us all understand the necessity of their invention here.  But we all know that product would probably have to start with an H and have a 3 at the end and it would sound like 'Half-Life 3.'  But alas I would be very surprised indeed if we see any worthy movement on that front, as I do not expect another true successor Half-Life game from Valve for quite some time - possibly never."

Although they are attempting to compete with Microsoft and Sony in the console market, they are giving gamers (at the moment) little reason to give their product a chance. The lack of a huge release like Half-Life 3 disappointed, but garnered a luke warm reception from gamers.

They haven't exactly struck out, but rather missed a chance at a home run. A game that has become almost like a legendary fairy tale, finally released, but ONLY for these Steam Boxes. Yes, people would throw fits about the game's inaccessibility, or the fact they would have to drop X amount of dollars just to play it; but the crazy thing is, tons people would still buy the console just to play Half-Life 3, that's how popular that game has become.

No caption necessary.

While Randy does not share my optimism about the eventual release of the game, I do agree that the lack of a tangible product as an incentive will slowly kill any steam (no pun intended) these machines have going for them.

Personally, I am not too worried about how these new announcements will fare in the future. Valve has a solid reputation, but in the end, I am left feeling like I want something more. As Randy said,

"I want to see Half-Life 3 or other exciting and big and original offerings from these guys who are amongst the best in the world at crafting interactive entertainment and are resourced better than anyone. As long as Steam and Valve are one entity, I am always going to feel uneasy that attention and resources towards the platform is distracting attention and resources away from the entertainment they could (should?) be creating. I guess I am just a greedy gamer who wants to be blown away playing more of the best, new video games in the world, so I selfishly want to know that the incredible talent at Valve is spending 100 percent of their mindshare building new video games!"

Columnist

If you are reading this, I have been kidnapped. They are forcing me to play video games against my will. Send help

Published Oct. 2nd 2013

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