Valve wants Counter Strike Steamworks integration on XBL

But Microsoft still needs persuading to relax rules, says Gabe Newell

Valve boss Gabe Newell wants Steamworks integration built into the Xbox version of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, but has said that Microsoft must relax its restrictions on the service first.

Steamworks integration, including PC/PS3 cross-platform play, was included in the PS3 version of Valve's last game, Portal 2, but was absent from the Xbox version. Newell believes that Microsoft's acceptance of Steamworks is vital to achieve platform parity with future valve games.

"We certainly can deliver a lot of value to customers to the degree to which we have those capabilities," Newell told Eurogamer.

"The PS3, obviously we made a lot more progress with that. The PS3 customers of Portal 2 are going to start to see the benefits of that with Portal 2 DLC coming out in September. So we'd really like to be able to do that for Xbox customers as well."

Whilst the initial debut of Steamworks on console was marred by the hacking scandal which brought the PlayStation Network to its knees on the day of Portal 2's release, Newell is confident that it improves customer experience.

"The main thing is having Microsoft get comfortable with it and let us do it," Newell explained.

"Right now, there's a huge amount of updates and free content we've been able to deliver to people who have The Orange Box that we haven't been able to deliver to the Xbox because of the restrictions that have been placed on us on Xbox Live.

"We'd love to see those relaxed. Other developers on the PS3 are starting to benefit from Sony's more open approach. Hopefully that will help Microsoft see that's a good strategy for making customers happy, that the barbarians won't tear down the walls of Xbox and turn it into some chaotic wasteland."

One possible motivation for Valve is trying to engage customers with its fledgling microtransaction store, powered by the proprietary Steam Wallet. It is this system which Valve has been using to monetise the now free-to-play Team Fortress 2 on PC, allowing player trading and store-bought purchases. Whether the company has a similar model in mind for Counter Strike is unclear, but Sony has already set a precedent for free-to-play titles with its exclusive EVE Online tie-in from CCP, Dust 514.

"Let's just say that with Sony at least they have policies that allow us to build the game the way we want," CCP CTO Halldor Fannar told E3 in June. "That is one of the reasons why we've gone with PSN.

"Sony allows us to use our systems. Microsoft has Xbox Live. They're very strict on that. There are a lot of issues we run into. It may be a basic thing people don't realise, but with Dust and Eve on Sony's network, we can allow them to chat together. Voice chat, text chat, that's all one world.

"One of the reasons for the partnership with Sony is because they're opening up new ways to do these things. We're going to be managing most of it. We're using PlayStation just for credentials, stuff like that. Then it's all our stuff.

"With our agreement with Sony they seem to be fine with our three month expansion cycle. They've been looking at the MMO space for a while, trying to understand why something like that hasn't still happened on the console. They're coming to terms with it. There are certain things they have to relax just to allow these things to function."

Counter Strike: Global Offensive will be playable to the public for the first time in Europe at the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court in London, 22-25 September, 2011.

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Latest comments (11)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 10 years ago
I agree with Valve in many points and I agree online gaming can benifit with cross-platform connectivity. Microsft needs to relax and understand what online games are about. And if you have more people connected, its better for the online gaming community and business in the long term.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago
Here is more pressure on Microsoft to be more open with live.

But there is also a risk that we all end up needing to use steam for.. well everything if Valve have their way so in some ways Microsoft might be right in keeping live closed and not just from a security standpoint.
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Charles Dawkins10 years ago
Gabe needs to give it up. It's not going to happen. Steam and GFW are competing products. Why is Cross Platform Play between PC and Console important? There are millions already online on XBL so who really cares about PC connectivity. Besides updates what is the real benefit? Correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not a Steam user but I could swear the online gaming features are better on Live. I'm not even sure if there is Party or cross game chat on Steam.
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Show all comments (11)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
We treat cross platform play as something waiting for a technical innovation. But the divide has always been a political one and today a console platform is more than just hardware. Or take the PC, where you do have competing operating systems, yet the PC game industry is mortally dependent on Microsoft.

How long until Microsoft decides it has to approve to EVERY piece of software running on Windows and what then Mr. Newell? What happens when MS decides to split the Windows versions so only the Pro version can run self-made code and games are exclusive to a tightly controlled Home version? It would not require that many changes.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 10 years ago
@ Klaus

Then I expect millions of people would boycott MS's products and move to Linux; especially if you're talking about PC gamers in the cutting edge of hardware and software advancements, who are by and large probably pretty savvy as to these things.

Besides, MS wouldn't risk pissing off Valve for the millions of sales their games bring in, and that they'd be all but pushing Valve into Sony's arms.
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Sergio De Los Santos Senior Render Programmer, Frontier Development10 years ago

Steam has all the features of GFWL and even more (like cloud save games, or even the posibility of share screenshots with friends). I use both of them, and I prefer Steam over Live on PC any day, but I recognize that Live works great on XBox.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago

Linux is in no way ready to be a competition to Windows as a gaming OS. Too many games run off DX and XNA, too many people have Windows installed. Apple has proven that before any OS is ready to receive games, it has to have a customer base. If Microsoft takes total control of their Windows platform, game developers will bend over and suck it up for convenience sake. It is what they always have done. Microsoft linked DX10 to Vista to boost sales and not one person dared to open his mouth publicly. Not one person shifted to linux either and if anything, this should have been the signal.
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Kaneda Maskell na 10 years ago
Both GFW and EA Origin fail to come anywhere near close to steam as a community or content delivery system.

I understand for FPS games PC gamers will always dominate skill wise but for other genres the cross platform model could be perfect.

Racing games could benefit from cross platform support greatly.
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Nicholas Russell writer 10 years ago
@Barrie Tingle
True enough, even though Games For Windows Live is a service that seems at war with itself, what with OnLive not being accessible from it directly and the other many problems with its marketplace (like, for instance, a lack of a search engine).

Still, there is some truth to what you say and we won't really see a change I think until you can purchase STEAM games via the PS3, either through a separate STEAM client or the PSN itself. Right now Microsoft really doesn't have a reason to care about VALVE's service simply because it seems more money than its worth with security, integration to their own marketplace and x-box live service, and so on. If STEAM could be shown as a viable platform for SONY to sell on then perhaps you'd see a change in this.

@Everyone mentioning political reasons behind this
While there is some truth to this as well I doubt this is a weightier reason than the dollar for Microsoft. They've always been a pirate-like company, even back during the days when they ripped Apple's ideas off with its Windows OS. When they see how they can make money with it you better believe they'll adapt STEAM.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
"even back during the days when they ripped Apple's ideas off with its Windows OS"

I thought they both ripped it off Texas Instruments/Xerox?

I regards to Steam on PS3, don't forget Nintendo has confirmed 3 party games distribution clients (such as Steam and Origin, although not mentioned by name) will be featured on Wii U. Obviously this depends on whether Wii U is a hit or miss as to whether it makes any difference, but rather than the controller, this could be a way they shake up the next generation.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 28th August 2011 8:27am

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Philip Wilson Project Manager/QA 10 years ago
If Microsoft relaxed their rules for Valve then they would have to do it for all the *other* companies (i.e. competitors to Valve) as well. I somehow wouldn't be surprised if MS didn't allow Valve to use Steamworks...
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