For months the biggest news stories have been about new gaming hardware: new peripherals, new engines and new consoles to play it all on. However, one company differentiates itself from the others: Valve.
Slated to release ambitious projects in the near future, Valve has the opportunity to take the helm of video games and steer the industry into new waters. With new console-like computers coming out in the form of Steam Machines, their new free engine Source 2, Steam Link, the Steam Controller and a new partnership with HTC to create the HTC Vive with Steam Virtual Reality, Valve is making moves in all the right ways.
Not only are they releasing new products but they’re also releasing quality products, the most impressive being their VR headset. Reviewed by PCWorld’s resident VR expert Hayden Dingman, he claimed the HTC Vive with Steam VR “is the new virtual reality frontrunner,” toppling the previous champ, the Oculus Rift. Along with the VR headset, Valve’s new Steam Link is the strongest living-room contender for PC gaming. Using Steam Link, gamers can stream all of their gaming content from Mac, PC, or Linux into another room of their house, saving you from moving your bulky desktop when you want to play in the living room and moving it back to your game cave when the other person you live with wants to stop watching you play Half Life 3 and watch the news, or whatever they waste their television on.
If an improved version of the future medium of video gaming and more convenient PC gaming isn’t enough for you, any gamer, even the motion sick ones, can rejoice over a new, improved, free video game engine. Source 2, Valve’s next engine, is focused on making video game creation more productive and easier than ever before. For consumers, that means both an increase in better looking games and maybe even at a lower price point than games developed on other engines.
From a business standpoint, Valve is investing in itself, creating innovative services for an audience hungry for the next big thing. Valve’s fearless leader Gabe Newell stated:
“To be honest, we’re going to make our money on the back end, when people buy games from Steam. Right? So we’re trying to be forward-thinking and make those longer-term investments for PC gaming that are going to come back a couple years down the road.”
When the norm has become large companies playing it safe in order to keep consistent profits, Valve responds by redefining itself and simultaneously pushing the industry further, being smarter and acting faster than the competition. And if any other businesses want to stay in the race, they’ll have to follow Valve’s lead. The industry side of things are cut-throat but it all translates to better hardware at a lower price-point. Isn’t that the gamer’s dream?