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Steam crafted to ensure unique, personalized entertainment experiences, says Newell

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Valve is committed to supporting a Steam ecosystem in which indie games and AAA titles are distributed side-by-side, with customers given a broad range of choices and driving decisions regarding the inclusion of content, Gabe Newell said in the most recent episode of The Nerdist Podcast.

In response to a question sent from screenplay writer Wil Wheaton, Newell said that Valve suspected this distribution model would assemble itself the way it has and does not want to push it in any given direction.

"I thought that it would broaden the choices that customers would have and increase the reach that creators would have, but we also didn't want to steer it," he explained. "We tried to keep from putting our thumb on the scale because there is a risk of biasing [customer choices].

"If customers really want to play X or Y or Z, we don't want to be the people who are interfering with it because that marginalizes the value of Steam in the first place, which is really about increasing the signal to noise ratio between content creators and consumers," he added.

Newell noted that the goal is not to create something that will give every customer the same experience, that companies shouldn't "want to make the same thing for everybody" and prevent customers from having unique experiences. Newell cited the Portal series as something Valve has done well with, but not something that it needs to keep doing in order to be successful.

"I'm willing to say that we were good at [making Portal] but we're not convinced that that's what we need to be good at in the future," he explained. "If you look at the amount of personal customization that can do into Team Fortress 2, that's the beginning of being able to offer people personalized entertainment experiences. I'm pretty sure we're going to keep going more and more in that direction so that each person gets an optimal experience for them, not the same experience everybody gets."

When asked about the status of Half-Life 3, Newell declined to answer.