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.
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