Gabe Newell: Portal 2 "did better on PC," Left 4 Dead "did better on consoles"

Portal 2 - Glados hanging out

In a fascinating interview with Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson over on Gamasutra , Newell reveals that Portal 2 "did better" on PC than it did on consoles. A surprising fact given the massive multimedia marketing campaign, the addition of cross platform support and the inclusion of Steam for Playstation 3. "We can never predict" says Newell. "We just try to build good games and then we tend to be surprised."

"Left 4 Dead did better on the consoles than it did on the PC" he went on to add. Perhaps an even bigger surprise given the fact that the regular updates and additional maps we PC gamers got for free took an age to reach the Xbox 360, and came with a price tag.

"We don't try to guess, because we're not sure what value there is to guessing," says Newell. "We've never had a situation where we said, "We really, really want to build something that is more popular for the console guys." Because usually we have a bunch of other higher priority problems we want to solve. So we're glad that people want to play our games wherever they want to play."

The exact numbers of each game sold aren't known, because Steam sales figures are secret, but the question remains: why did Portal 2 appeal more to PC gamers than console owners? Was it the thought of portalling with a pad, a lack of explosions, or the need for complex spacial reasoning and puzzle solving that put Xbox and Playstation owners off? What do you think?

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.