NEWS - Thursday, September 9, 2010

Valve calls MS’s Xbox Live a train wreck

Valve boss Gabe Newell has called his company’s assumptions over Xbox Live "such a train wreck".

Speaking to PC Gamer in its recently-published interview, Newell said one of Valve’s failures over the years was to assume that Microsoft would improve Xbox Live so it could update its games regularly for free.

When asked if its mistake on Xbox Live was to assume Microsoft would let Valve update its games more often, Newell said:

"We thought that there would be something that would emerge, because we figured it was a sort of untenable... Oh yeah, we understand that these are the rules now, but it’s such a train wreck that something will have to change.

"That’s why we’re really happy with the current situation with the PS3," he said. "We’re solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this."

Microsoft has a notoriously closed approach to its online service compared to PSN, with developers allowed as little as one free title update (though there are exceptions) and limitations on the amount of free game content they can release.

In fact, in its recent paid-for Red Dead Redemption add-on Rockstar included all the free-of-charge content from its previous Free Roam pack, "due to the platform network’s restrictions on numbers of free packs we can give away."

Valve told CVG last month that it’d love to put its Steamworks dev suite on Xbox Live, but Microsoft seemingly isn’t budging.

Valve’s Erik Johnson echoed Newell’s comments: "The lack of updates on the 360, for TF2, is also a total failure," he said. "Those are the ones that sting the worst because... it got all the way through to customers. It’s like a bug. If you fix a bug before it ever ships, it’s pretty cheap. If you ship it and then fix it, it’s really expensive. Those ones are really bad."

In particular It’s a huge turnaround for Newell, a man who once called PS3 "a waste of everybody’s time" - something for which he later apologised for to owners of the console.



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