With a new virtual reality headset, an upcoming line of hybrid console/gaming PCs, and a hand in the biggest eSports prize pool in history, there’s a lot going on in the world of Valve – just don’t expect to see any of it at E3.
According to GamesBeat, the PC gaming juggernaut isn’t taking meetings for the upcoming trade show, and isn’t planning on showing off any recent or upcoming products, either. Want to see hands-on impressions of those recently unveiled Steam Machines (and, more importantly, their super-swanky controllers)? Too bad. Still holding out hope for a surprise Half-Life 3 announcement? Probably not going to happen.
That doesn’t mean that Valve’s partners won’t feature the company’s products – for example, Alienware, which is producing its own line of Steam Machines, will be at the show, and there’s nothing stopping developers who are working on the Vive virtual reality platform from bringing along devkits – but the company won’t have an official presence (Valve’s partner on the Vive, HTC, is also skipping the show).
While it’s not surprising (Valve skips E3 just as often as it attends), it’s disappointing. Valve doesn’t make a ton of games, but when it does, they’re often quite well regarded. As GamesBeat notes, Valve’s last major E3 appearance came in 2010, when Valve managing director Gabe Newell crashed Sony’s press conference to discuss Portal 2.
As GamesBeat observes, Valve doesn’t exactly need to attend E3 to get press. Steam, the company’s digital video game distribution platform, has over 125 million active users, with roughly 8 million active at any given time. Still, E3 season is arguably the most exciting time of year for gamers, and fans’ passions run pretty high during the annual event.
Valve and Steam have been under a fair amount of scrutiny lately – a couple of months ago, controversy erupted when Steam unleashed a paid marketplace for Skyrim mods, while more recently The Witcher developer CD Projekt released a competing distribution platform, GOG Galaxy, that offers DRM-free software – and a few well-timed announcements would go a long way towards putting the company back in fans’ good graces.
Of course, maybe that doesn’t matter. Valve’s always been a company that prides itself on doing things its own way, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. While Valve’s financials aren’t public, conservative estimates peg the company’s yearly revenue somewhere in the low billions, and the numbers are only getting higher as time goes on.