Valve's Newell: It's "ominous" that open platforms are less popular, Apple "wrong" philosophically

Nathan Grayson

Valve

Mods, indie games, the Half-Life: Full Life Consequences series - I love all these things equally, and none of them would be possible if the PC locked its doors and hurled the key into an abyss full of woodchippers.

For that reason and many more, Valve's Gabe Newell doesn't like the recent turn toward all things proprietary that the tech world's taken. He voiced his concerns during a game panel at the WTIA TechNW conference:

"On the platform side, it's sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms," he said, according to a post on The Seattle Times .

"I'm worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going - there's going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say 'I'm tired of competing with Google, I'm tired of competing with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'"

Ultimately, he declared a closed model the "wrong philosophical approach," but also noted that you can't argue with the success of movers and shakers like Apple. Well, you can , but when there's this much money on the table, Newell doesn't believe other companies will argue for long.

"I consider Apple to be very closed," Newell said. "Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 percent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 percent and they don't care that you only have 7 percent to play with."

"I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear," he added.

What about Steam, though? With just a couple wrong moves to tarnish its golden image and thin mustache, couldn't it also be the next Evil Empire? Newell retorted by noting that Steam's tools are free to developers, but "we don't take anything" if developers decide to peddle their game someplace aside from Steam. He also said that - if Valve made its own console - it'd be open to services aside from Steam.

Right then. So I suppose this means I can finally stop having those recurring, sweat-soaked nightmares where Half-Life 2: Episode 3's an iPhone exclusive.

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