Valve Week

Steam Controller announced by Valve

Evan Lahti at

Rounding out its set of living room-centric announcements this week, Steam Controller has been revealed by Valve, a 16-button, haptic-driven gamepad that Valve says is hackable, includes a touch screen, will feature sharable configurations, and has the ambitious goal of “supporting all games in the Steam catalog.” No price was announced for the controller, and it doesn't appear to feature motion control.


We ask Gabe Newell about piracy, DRM and Episode Three

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we've also been putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for the last week.

Today's is the final part, in which I ask Gabe and co the big questions: what's the point of Steamworks? Is piracy a solved problem? And where's Episode Three? I wasn't optimistic that they'd be willing to talk about it, but I couldn't leave without asking. I'm afraid it didn't go any better than I expected, but I've included the transcript so you can read for yourself. What they did tell me was how Steam revived the Russian games market, why Valve's competitors actually help their sales, and how not to do DRM.


Interview: Valve want to see you sweat, and make a game of it

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with Gabe Newell, Erik Johnson and Doug Lombardi on how they test their games, how they can see your pulse race, measure your stress and sense your sweat. And how they'd like to use that in a game.


Gabe Newell: next-gen game engines will be ten times harder

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with Gabe Newell, Erik Johnson and Doug Lombardi about the difficult but exciting future of game engines, and why they hire who they hire.


Interview: Valve on why Alien Swarm is free

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with the creator of Alien Swarm, about how the game turned from mod to polished Valve product, and why it's free.


Interview: Valve on why they'd make the Half-Life movie

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week. Today's is my conversation with Gabe Newell, Erik Johnson and Doug Lombardi about their plans to expand their games into other mediums, and why they think it's important to do it themselves.


Interview: Valve on their insane Portal 2 ideas

Tom Francis at

I was at Valve last month to interview pretty much everyone I could find, and play one of the most exciting PC games on the horizon: Portal 2. The preview I wrote, and the profile on Valve themselves, is in the new issue of PC Gamer in the UK. But we're also putting up the interviews here on the site, one a day for a week.

Yesterday Gabe and co told us about Valve's failures, and Wednesday's interview was about Valve's big surprises. For today's, I had the brain taxing pleasure of playing Portal 2 in co-op with its project lead Josh Weier, while interviewing both him and writer Erik Wolpaw. I'll explain what's going on in the game any time it's relevant to what they tell me, and I have of course cut out a lot of, "Put one there. No there. No, don't jump in the slime. WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?"


Interview: Valve on 13 things they've failed at

Tom Francis at

Last month I was at Valve HQ in Bellevue to play Portal 2 and interview seven of their key staff. You can read the resulting preview and feature in the current issue of PC Gamer in the UK, and we're also putting an interview up every day for a week here on the blog. Yesterday MD Gabe Newell, project manager Erik Johnson and marketing director Doug Lombardi explained their history of surprising decisions, and teased three more major surprises in the next year. Today, I innocently ask them if there's anything in their history they see as a failure, and get thirteen different responses.


Interview: Gabe on Valve's big surprises

Tom Francis at

Valve are surprising. Half-Life itself was surprising enough, but then they surprisingly scooped up Counter-Strike, sprung Steam on us surprisingly, turned Half-Life 2 surprisingly episodic, then took surprisingly long on the episodes. When I flew out to visit them last month, I half expected to find they'd moved to the moon and turned themselves into a yacht manufacturer. And since they hadn't, I was, again, surprised.

I was there to play Portal 2 co-op for the preview feature you can read in the current issue of PC Gamer in the UK, and interview seven of their key staff for a profile on Valve themselves to go with it. But they told me so much cool stuff that we're going to be putting up an interview a day for the next week. Today's is from a marathon chat with MD Gabe Newell, project manager Erik Johnson, and marketing director Doug Lombardi, and I start by asking them the question I've wanted to ask them for about three years.