Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

The future of steam, VR and other seattle stuff

So here I am, sleepless in seattle. Actually its more like sleeping well, but with a nosebleed in seattle, but that isn’t as catchy.

I’m here for a meeting with valve and some other indies, so I have lots to talk about. I am no expert at knowing exactly what I am and am not allowed to say, so here are vague impressions rather than a news-dump on steams plans. For a while, a lot of indies have been panicking about steam. There are more and more indie games being released though greenlight and people are worrying that the ‘average’ indie game on steam is making less money. The phrases you hear are ‘floodgates are opening’ and ‘race to the bottom’.

I’ve seen what valve have planned and I really do not think anyone has to worry. Actually I do. If your plan is to dump your first unity hobby game on steam and then retire rich, and that game is a clone or unpolished, or incredibly unoriginal, then yeah, you are so fucked, but frankly I don’t care.

Valve are approaching the ‘floodgates’ problem in exactly the right way. The steam experience for everyone is going to get so much better. I can’t fault their plans in any way. I’d love to attract loads of web traffic with a clickbait ‘valve are about to wreck steam’ blog post, but that would be complete bullshit.

My advice to indies uncertain about steam’s future is just to make a really cool game and don’t worry. That sounds like PR bullshit but it’s actually true for once.

While I was at valve I got their VR demo. I fail AGAIN here in any attempt to be contrary or scandalous, because I’m just going to echo what other have said. Fuck yeah. This is so cool. I never thought it would even work on a stereoblind person, but it is amazing. It isn’t perfect, it isn’t suitable for everything, but it *is* amazing. A whole new experience. I never thought we would be this close to a proper star trek holodeck so quickly.

I met some really nice people here. It’s always awkward mentioning anyone specific because then you feel like you might not mention everyone and my Englishness thinks I am probably offending someone, but hey, I’m not intending to. Anna & Augusta from valve were very cool to meet, I suspect Alden now sleeps safer knowing that I’ll safeguard his job when I own valve, and it was amazing how much in common I seem to have with the amazingly cool Tommy refenes, including a love of l33t electric cars. Also always good to bump into chet again. Whenever a bunch of games geeks get together, we always end up talking about cats. I also got to meet Jamie Cheng, another real friendly and cool guy.

I should also pay respects to the legendary Ichiro lambe, who has proven that Americans can actually be just as deadpan and sarcastic as English people.




6 thoughts on The future of steam, VR and other seattle stuff

  1. One of the things that makes me nervous about Valve is their hidden revenue share. In particular with regards to Greenlight. We’ve got to convince thousands of people to vote on our games and then risk losing that goodwill if we can’t negotiate an equitable deal. Never the less, I’m looking forward to that discussion if my game is accepted. It should be interesting.

  2. Well your right about steam my ‘great’ little tower defence game sank like a brick.

    Mind you VR could be quite a challenge for small indies as well, I’ve tried making a couple of projects for VR and there is a great little community of developers but no real money to be made on a VR only project.

    E.g. Space War and LGM Pizza Delivery Rocketeer. (

    But with WebGL on the rise and VR coming soon the web could become a 3D virtual experience, how cool would that be!

  3. Hey Cliff,

    When you talk about VR, do you mean Oculus rift or some other Valve technology ?

  4. I’ve had the valve vr demo too and it’s *so* good. I almost took out my cameraphone to take a photo of that sentry gun cross-section statue, and at one point I put out my hand to lean on a thing made out of pixels.

  5. Last I heard, Valve were supposed to be much further ahead than the rift, but a guy from Valve pointed out that Oculus were _also_ much further ahead than the rift at this point…

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