Sony <3 Valve? The Path Forward Has Been Lit
When it comes to total hardware/software sales, nobody has climb a steeper hill than Sony. Certainly their new marketing strategy (Kevin Butler shout out) combined with an intense focus on bringing exclusives to the PS3 have helped the company catch up in sales figures. But without a major change to gain the attention of a greater audience, Sony will finish third this time around. Like Nintendo did with the Wii, Sony needs to reach a new audience.
When it comes to PC gaming distribution (Steam), there is no stronger voice than Valve’s. And within the PC gaming community Valve is considered by most to be a leader in game-design (Half Life), and knowing their user base (Steam weekend deals). While Valve has made several attempts at the console world, their biggest margin comes from the PC user base. But what if they can tap into the console world while maintaining their biggest strength: distribution?
This is only a theory, but those of us at GWW believe there may be something in the works between Sony and Valve. No, not a joint venture with the inevitable merger; rather Sony and Valve may combine to “Solve” (get it, SOny + vaLVE) their mutual issue of needing to reach a bigger audience.
But how do we win? The PC world is going mobile. With the upcoming slew of Windows 7 and 8 tablets, it’s inevitable we will soon be gaming on planes, trains, and during breaks at work. Sure, no serious gamer will use a tablet. So let’s just settle on laptops getting cheaper and having longer battery life. Imagine a world where you can play PC games at home on your PS3, and then carry by leveraging Steam-cloud, continue your games from your mobile device. And when you get home, you’re right back to your PS3. You’re thinking it’s a long shot…but is it?
Valve recently announced that Portal 2 for PS3 will be the best console version available. Additionally, Portal 2 will come with a free redemption code for the PC version, cross platform play between PC, MAC, and PS3, and Steam-cloud support. Not convincing enough? I believe Sony used the hacking crisis of early 2010 as an excuse to wipe out “install other OS” option so they can lock down the system further on behalf of their new pals at Valve. Call me crazy, but it sounds like we are 5-8 months from a major announcement from these two organizations. Sony is playing in a growing market but lack the reach of Nintendo. Valve is playing in a shrinking market and need a console partner with great hardware and a lot to gain. This is a match made in Heaven.