Randy Pitchford On Steam Machine: “Only A Curiosity” Sans HL3

Last week, Valve staggered three SteamBox-related announcements, timed to prolong the conversation throughout the week but ultimately failing to give fans what they want – Half Life 3. Instead, after announcing the new Steam operating system and the hardware on which it would run, Valve capped the week off with the reveal of a controller.

If these announcements look to you like they’re missing something critical, they are – none of them revealed any actual new games. Particularly glaring is Valve’s continued refusal to even say if Half-Life 3 is still on the table. Valve’s new tech seems cool but the tech is like a photo booth in a club. We came for the drinks and music, guys.

Interestingly, it isn’t just fans who’ve expressed a bit of confusion about all this. Developers have weighed in too, including Gearbox Software’s Randy Pitchford, who spoke true truths on the matter while talking to GamesIndustry.

“I imagine that some developers may choose to think about unique applications with new interface approaches if an installed base becomes sufficiently appealing. There is always a chicken-and-egg problem here and the last time Valve was able to motivate us to wade into a new paradigm, they attracted us there with a product – I was forced to install and use Steam in order to play Half-Life 2,” Pitchford told GamesIndustry. “Given that, I would be thrilled if Valve announced a product that I already knew I wanted that was designed to use their three newly announced components (os, machine, controller) and that could not exist but for those three new components.”

He continued, aptly summing up the issue so far:

That kind of announcement would really help us all understand the necessity of their invention here. But we all know that product would probably have to start with an H and have a 3 at the end and it would sound like ‘Half-Life 3.’ But alas I would be very surprised indeed if we see any worthy movement on that front, as I do not expect another true successor Half-Life game from Valve for quite some time – possibly never.

Ultimately, without that must-buy product driving us all towards this stuff, I expect that the industry at large will watch curiously, but remain largely unaffected by anything Steam does along this vector of OS, machines and controllers over the next two or three years. If the must-buy product appears driving us there or sufficient time goes on where an installed base starts to emerge, more and more folks will move from being curious to being investigative with the possibilities.

That sounds about right. There’s more, of course, over on GI. Meanwhile, what do you all think? Do you care about Valve’s new toys without Half-Life 3 or something like it? Sound off in comments.

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4 Comments on Randy Pitchford On Steam Machine: “Only A Curiosity” Sans HL3


On September 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm

GET ‘UM, Pitch! Valve has handed out a personal insult by not even explaining the delay with HL3! How dare they!? Valve, you can’t announce anything without at least addressing the confusion about HL3! We know you’re working on it, now say so! And explain what the hold-up is!


On September 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

The OS is the only thing that really interests me, however I need more information on it before I’d commit to anything.

Yes, I’m sure the Steambox is very nice, but I already have a beast of a gaming PC and don’t particularly have any need to stream games elsewhere in my house. Additionally unless its a platformer I find that keyboard and mouse serves me just fine, and for those platformers I’ve got a 360 controller that works just fine.

But ultimately I’m forced to agree with Randy Pitchford. I might buy the steam OS if I feel it is better than my other options (windows 7 or *shudder* 8), but a big name game will get people who don’t necessarily feel like upgrading is worth their time or effort.

Also Valve needs to consider that Half Life 3 has become something of a joke at this point. Its the new Duke Nukem Forever, and frankly they need to commit one way or the other on it.

If they are unwilling to do anything with Half Life, then they need something. Now, personally I think a new IP might be a good idea, but I suppose they could just put out some exclusive hats instead.


On October 1, 2013 at 9:07 am

Yeah but what we’re really interested in is SMOKE CITY MARKET.

FFS, GameFront.


On October 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

HL3 trademark was registered two days ago