Microsoft Rejected ‘Portal 2′ Steam Integration, Cross-Platform Play

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 24th, 2011 at 11:11 pm,

Microsoft Rejected Portal 2 Steam Cross Platform

Last year at E3, Valve President Gabe Newell announced to the press in attendance that the PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2 was going to be best console offering of the highly anticipated puzzle shooter. Naturally this left everyone wondering why Microsoft’s version of the game was going to be inferior, and more importantly how. Now Valve has opened up, and revealed that the extra content and bonuses available to PS3 owners were also offered to Microsoft, who unfortunately wanted no part.

Early this year, Valve finally announced what this mysterious comment meant by announcing that they had partnered with Sony to bring their Steam service to the PlayStation 3 and thus enhance the Portal 2 experience on that console. A purchase of the PS3 copy of the game would give owners access to the PC and Mac versions as well, as long as they link their Steam account to their PSN account.

Naturally one would wonder why Microsoft was left out of the loop with regards to this particular enhancement of gaming service, as Valve would likely have approached Microsoft and tried to get their interest.

In a recent interview with AusGamers, Doug Lombardi, VP of Marketing at Valve, revealed that Microsoft was indeed approached about bringing Steam connectivity. When asked about why Microsoft didn’t jump on board with bringing Steam to Xbox 360, Lombardi coyly deferred that answer to Microsoft.

“We offered it to everybody; our goal is to have folks be able to access their games on whatever platform they’re on and as much as we can deliver that through Steam, the better. It’s worked really, really well on the Mac; we’re going to deploy our first experiment with Portal 2 on the PS3 and folks seem really, really excited about it. We’ve put a lot of time and detail into that so that the experience is highly satisfactory, right out of the gate.

“So we’ll see where it takes us. I mean, again, our goal ultimately is that folks pay for a game and then whatever platform they sit down in front of, it’s there for them. That just seems right. That’s the way your music is, right? It doesn’t matter; you don’t have to pay for it on your car stereo and on your home stereo, it’s just your music. So for us, that’s kind of a philosophical goal to get to and we’re taking baby-steps towards it.

“I think we made a really nice move last year with the Mac and hopefully this year, we’re able to move things forward on the PS3 a little bit and we’ll see where the future takes us. “

There’s no doubt that deferring comment on the matter to Microsoft was a political move intended to keep relations with Microsoft good in the hopes that they will change their stance regarding Steam on Xbox 360. With Lombardi acknowledging the ultimate goal with Steam is to provide players with a choice of platform with a single purchase, this may be a hard sell.

Traditionally if you wanted to play a game on multiple consoles, you had to buy that game for all three of those platforms. It’s only natural that Microsoft might be against such a transition since a sale for their console could also mean a sale for competing platforms as well. Considering Microsoft’s propensity to support innovation, its remarkable that they would turn away an upgrade which would mean cross platform play for their gamers.

How do you feel about Microsoft’s rejection of Steam for Xbox 360 and as a result cross-platform play of Portal 2? Is this important to you as an Xbox 360 owner?

Portal 2 will be released on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac on April 19, 2011.

Follow Game Rant on Twitter @gamerant

Source: AusGamer

TAGS: Mac, Microsoft, Microsoft Game Studios, PC, Portal 2, PS3, Sony, Steam, Valve


  • Anthony Walker

    Didn’t Microsoft flop when they tried cross platform gaming via Live (Shadowrun or something?) so I wonder if this is just a case of sour grapes? Either way, it’s the first time I’ve really regretted not owning a PS3 :(

    • Strandli

      Why? The PC version will still be just as good as the PS3 version. So unless you have to buy it for 360, it’s nothing to regret.

      • Anthony Walker

        I own almost all of my Valve games on the PC, but I had been toying with the idea of getting Portal 2 for the 360 because of the co-op play. I can get my wife and/or son to play with me :)

    • Mornelithe

      It wasn’t that Microsoft flopped, it’s that they realized how much of a gap there is in ability between mouse + keyboard vs a controller. Basically, they took a bunch of pro FPSers on console, and some moderate to average players on PC, and threw them in a game together. The Pro’s with controller were simply manhandled, badly…over and over and over again.

      Not entirely sure why they wouldn’t use it as a driving force to push K+M support for their console though. I mean, if it offers far far better accuracy (and it does), then why the hell not? Seems stupid.

      • LogicAndCreatifityIsEpic

        It seems logic for Microsoft to reject it for shooters due to the difference that may cause raging and other unpleasant stuff to happen, but for portal 2? Portal is, in fact, a puzzle game which isn’t centred around fragging other players for points but more for reaching the end of the chamber.
        Maybe Microsoft has other reasons to reject the integration, maybe they didn’t like the fact [This might spoil the fun of original!] that the cake was a lie.

        • Mornelithe

          I think Microsoft simply wants to keep in total control of their network, and allowing Steam integration is simply not something they’re interested in right now. After all, if people on XBLA are buying Steam games, they’re probably forgoing the purchase of an XBLA title in the process.

          Beyond that, I disagree with the total lack of alternate interface options available on console. No Keyboard/Mouse is pretty ridiculous, and not only stunts FPS gaming, but makes RTS and MMO type games more difficult, if not impossible to deal with due to lack of bindable keys.

          If the cake was a lie, it’s because Microsoft didn’t continue paying for exclusivity 😉

  • diego

    “Considering Microsoft’s propensity to support innovation, its remarkable that they would turn away an upgrade which would mean cross platform play for their gamers.”

    PLEASE…. just because they say that towards Windows OS (win7, ect) where a single purchase lasts years and years… this is not the same towards games, where there’s a tons of releases a year? why would money grubbers want give that up by implementing steam? they clearly dont assume it will be a success. i hope its a supper success on the PS3 and more games include this feature. make MS piss themselves and all their exclusive games or, the 360 gets the DLC first crap go to h3ll.

    • Sebastian Gaweda

      Microsoft as a company has done a lot for the gaming industry, nevermind other fields of software development.

  • drlowdon

    I hate Steam.

    • diego

      whats there to hate about steam? is not the greatest thing ever…but i dont see things to hate about it.

      • Mornelithe

        Not sure about him, but my biggest problem with Steam is that it’s controlled by one company. Valve has certainly proven semi-responsible in the past (Their about face with the PS3 aside), but absolute power corrupts absolutely. I just don’t like the idea of one company having control over something so diverse.

        • diego

          ok, so how is that a problem? i mean i can kinda imagine the bad, but the bad, also about having multiple entities in charge of steam could be…progress…? moving forward? what if everyone isnt onboard with the changes? its not like the changes from the first release havent been for the better? i been using since hl2.

          • Mornelithe

            What Valve decides as appropriate or inappropriate for their service, is up to them. Not to a group of individuals who have differing opinions. You follow? IE, I’m not really in favor of closed networks, which Valve is.

            Having a number of major players fund the servers/network, while being reimbursed at a percentage, making noone in charge, simply a service that hosts virtually every game available on PC/console. As opposed to having multiple accounts spanning several major corporations closed networks. You know?

            Individual or Indie devs, would have their games hosted via this service, and would retain most of their profits, however, a portion would go to the larger groups, since it’s their dollars funding the hardware.

          • santa

            @Mornelithe: The problem with multiple companies funding the servers/network means that any enhancement to the service or upgrade to the hardware could become a political endeavor that slows down progress.

            Some companies may be slow to green light things due to budgetary reasons, philosophical differences, tweaking another competitor, etc.

            Not everybody plays well with others in the corporate sandbox, even when they have a joint investment and vested interest in seeing a joint venture succeed.

            As much as I hate monopolies, Valve did the right thing in this instance.

          • Mornelithe

            @ Santa: The only real way to prevent anything like that occuring, or at least, making it in their best interest to deal with quickly and efficiently…is to show them projected profits over short and long-terms.

            Look, internal power struggles aside, we know that games publishers (which is who we’re really talking about here), are interested in 1 thing and 1 thing only. Showing them a way where they could consolidate everything and gain more….you’re right, of course, the world isn’t that perfect and it’s unlikely simply showing them how much better their business could perform would make them any more receptive to letting go the proverbial reins.

            And that’s simply it, I don’t like monopolies. They never lead to good…anything. Look at the telecom situation in the States. Abhorrent when compared to Europe and parts of Asia. Because we allow a few really powerful and huge companies to control all communications needs. Valve may be going about this the right way, but it will still end up with them being in a monopoly, and that’s always proven to be too much power for anyone to handle.

        • Magma17

          I totally agree that an open network is preferable to a closed one, but how is Steam any worse than PSN or XBL, which are also both closed? Given that competition, I trust Valve infinitely more than either MS or Sony!

          • Mornelithe

            I didn’t say they were any better or worse than Valve, simply having to go to a bunch of different websites all for the same end (games), is pretty obnoxious, as well as keeps their set of blinders on what we can and cannot purchase.

  • dave

    damn you consoles first you take our marketshare, then our developers, then our games and now steam.

  • Ty

    Hahaha another mistake by microsoft… Well their loss because they could have made a lot off of this…..and again, Microsoft had rejected Littlebigplanet2 aswell so I think whoever is making disisions at Microsoft is stupid as hell.

  • Conor

    Another reason to run away fast from the xbox one.