By RipTen Contributor Joel Bollinger

I’ve never been a fan of Steam, but I understand why others like it:  Instant updates, community support, digital sales, and a profile space for achievements and friends.  You know, it’s Xbox Live for PC gamers … but it’s free.

Steam recently branched into Mac and is rumored to be branching into Linux relatively soon. Cross platform support for “PC” games (I’m including Mac in the PC category) has been happening for quite awhile.  However, Steam is now a true cross-platform system on both consoles and PC.

Could cross-platform support between PS3 and PC tap a market Microsoft has failed to capitalize upon? I can imagine a cross-platform war of PS3/PC vs. Xbox/PC.  If there were a cross-platform battle, I’d put my money on Steam and Sony since nobody knows the PC gaming market like Valve does.  In the end, this can only help PC gamers in reviving interest in console publishers and lead some console gamers to the largest untapped market in the world.

And Let's Not Forget The Deals . . .

And PC gaming is the largest untapped gaming market in the world.  Most of the gamers on planet Earth own a PC or laptop and most of those rigs are capable of gaming on some level.  Could this be a sneaky tactic on the part of Valve to lure console gamers to PC? Perhaps.

I did this myself once. My friend Joe has a PS3. When Call of Duty 4 came out, I bought him CoD4 for PC.  He already had it for the PS3. He immediately fell in love with the mouse and keyboard scheme over his controller and 64 slot servers.  Now, obviously he still plays games on his PS3, but he’s more inclined to buy certain games on the PC now. Given that Source is such an old engine and even Intel onboard GPUs can render it, this isn’t too much of a stretch. PS3 gamers can now play Portal 2 on their Macbook, laptop, or desktop.  Also, thanks to Valve’s recent announcement: If you buy Portal 2 on PS3 – you will get a Steam key as well so that you can play the game on either platform at any time thanks to SteamCloud.  If Steam continues this tradition of, “You buy the game on one platform, you get it free on all the supported platforms of Steam” then this could definitely boost the reach of the PC gaming market and it’s market share.

Play On Two Platforms - For The Price Of One

Yet, Steam is a form of DRM. You have to have a key registered to an account that is always online and being checked. Your key can only be used for one account.  This might be a way for consoles to finally curb used game sales. Since the PS3 has been blown wide open by hackers, Steam could be the answer. (Yes I know that Steam has been and is hacked with certain games, but it’s less annoying to just buy the game). If Steam proves to be successful on the PS3, this could be the new prevalent DRM for PS3.  A one time activation tied to a permanent account might be what Sony needs for the PS3. Of course, Sony could try and make their own version of Steam – but why burn bridges with Valve instead of leveraging their market share.

Let’s also not forget that Valve doesn’t do anything half-assed.  Their products are typically quite polished and if there are problems, they are quickly fixed.  Unfortunately, Xbox owners don’t get to experience this due to Microsoft’s restrictive XBL policies and fees.  For Team Fortress 2, there were dozens of patches and content updates for PC gamers, yet only five for the 360.  PS3 owners now have the potential to get that same PC experience of constantly patched or updated games through Steam.  Not to mention full integration with their PC game library and PC gamer friends like me.  Is Steam on the PS3 going to be a home run for both Valve and Sony? You tell me.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. You’ve made some bold claims such as “nobody knows the PC better than Valve”.. Well i believe Blizzard is the top PC developers, if they could get cross-platform support for their upcoming Diablo 3, then it would be awesome. But i agree that the PS3/Valve relationship would probably be the only way that cross-platform gaming will ever work because Microsoft clearly doesn’t hold the same values as Valve does – they charge money for a couple of updates while Valve gives hundreds for free.

    • Agreed. But call me when Battle.net does as much for PC gaming as Steam has. Blizzard may create magnificent gaming content – but Valve innovates. Innovation will always be the key to progress. I think Confucius said that . . .or Steve Jobs . . .

      • No Fanboy lies that i read. M$ charges a fee just to access the content online, . XBOX LIVE GOLD is 50 bucks a year, so yea, your paying for those updates, you just didnt know it.

      • Valve release add-ons and features for games that they release. Left for Dead and Team fortress being prime examples. MS refused to allow them to update TF2 on the 360, claiming they would charge the user base to do so. Valve decided not to support them due to clash of ideologies. I got all my maps on l4d2 on pc for free. Did you? Didn’t think so. Get sources before you bring “fanboys” into this

  2. It means I’m going to be using my PS3 a whole lot more in 2011. It also means I can yell at the staff from my couch via Steam now!! woooo

  3. I’m sorry, but from the information I have heard, I think you misunderstand the situation. Steam itself is not coming to the PS3, SteamWorks is coming to the PS3. This will allow instant updates, chat, friends, cross-platform play, and other features of steam to be accessed by PS3 players, but the Steam Store itself is NOT coming to the PS3, meaning that your comment “And Let’s Not Forget The Deals . . .” isn’t really valid. Valve will not be selling games, only connecting PS3 players of their games to the PC ones. I wish Steam, as a whole, was coming to PS3, haha. ;) Also, all I know is that at E3, the good Mr. Newell announced that “SteamWorks is coming to the PS3”, so if there has been more recent developments, please feel free to correct me. :P

    • We never said the Steam store was coming. The part about the deals stems from the possibility of more and more console gamers becoming PC gamers (As Joel illustrated with the story about his friend) due to the Steam integration on PS3. The social aspect of Steam is the big draw on PS3 for me personally. I can’t wait to be able to communicate with all my steam friends and groups via my PS3 and play games like Portal 2 on both my platforms depending on what room of the house I am in :-) Thanks for the feedback however.

      • Ah, ok, that’s cool! Sorry, guess I just made the wrong connection with that. That is a good point. It would be great to have some new interest in the PC gaming scene. Oh, and that Seam holiday sale cost me sooooooo much money, haha. A devil in disguise. ;)

        • I own something like 150 games on Steam now. Also, most of my gaming friends and the majority of the RipTen staff is on Steam. I will soon be able to yell at them from my PS3!!

  4. I really dont understand what the fuss is about… Like Mike 1094 said, Steam is not coming to PS3. SteamWorks is coming.

    Even with the new features that SteamWorks will bring PSN is still flawed is so many ways.

    Having more text chat options is not anything worth bragging over.

    Also I predict that you wont see any other developer include a key to get a copy of their game on Steam. Developers would lose a lot of money

    • Research. Gabe Newell stated that Steam would be released with Portal 2 ALONG with Steamworks… Jesus people. Opinions are different than fact.

    • ‘Developers would lose a lot of money’ Thats a stupid statement…. Who in the world goes out and buys.. lets say … Call of duty on ps3 and then buys the exact same game on PC? No-one… So giving away a free copy to ONE steam account for the PC makes no difference to what developers earn.. People looked for this kind of thing from DC Universe. although we all know they wouldnt do that because they would miss £10 extra subscription every month.

  5. I’m a PC gamer with steam and I own a PS3. My only real big concern is the fact that Steam Customer support is non-existent!! PERIOD! Have a problem with an install on PC or any issue for that matter. good luck getting any timely or relevant answer from the steam staff. they are worthless!

    Maybe this will change it all. but right now if you buy a pc steam game for $59 and have a issue getting it started to play. dont plan on having any help for at least 3-5 days.. if even if they respond, i doubt it will be helpfull but just some generic response.

    I wish for the best

  6. As for the deals part, you’re getting the PC copy of the game for free when you buy Portal 2 on PS3, and any free maps/updates Valve sees fit for life; come on! That’s a deal if I’ve ever heard of one! Especially in the post-$15 map pack era (gosh it feels like Fallout 3 for the DLC industry right now thanks a lot Activision *sry for slightly off topic* )

    • Yeah, imagine this. You’re playing Portal 2 on your PC by yourself. Then your friends come over and want to play co-op. You save your gave – go into your living room, boot up your PS3 and start right where you left off. AWESOME.

      • DO you really think that people that play most of their games on PC will really want to play it on PS3? I doubt it. A majority of people stick to one gaming platform of choice.

          • Well, for me it’s simple. I have a PS3. I have a PC. I can get the same game for both platforms at no extra cost? Come on. Of course it’s a good idea.

        • I have a question about something. Let’s say hypothetically I have enough money to buy either an XBox 360 or a PS3. I have a mac already, so if I got a PS3, I’d barely have any games to put on there. Also, all my friends have an XBox. ALL OF THEM. Since I only friend my friends, I’d literally have 0 people on my friends list. Also, the Xbox seems kinda cool to me. What should I doooooooooo??????

          • If you want to pay just to play online with your friends, then get an Xbox. PS3 has online play free-of-charge, and some very good games. I’d wait until Portal 2 is released so we can see how integrated Steam will be. I own an Xbox 360 and I’ve had to send it in twice in the past year. I’ve never sent in my PS3(Or my pc for that matter). I think that you should get a PS3, but as I’ve said earlier: wait a little.

    • Almost ALL of my friends on Steam own an play their PS3. When I am tired of sitting at the desk playing on my 40″ 1080p SLI setup (had to throw that in there), I like to sit back on my couch and relax with the controller and kick it to some PS3 games. Don’t be upset that you may be one of the only people that don’t, the rest of us do and this is an exciting puch forward for PC/PS3. For the rest of you who do not research anything before you post nonsense on these articles… STEAM IS BEING RELEASED WITH PORTAL 2, NOT JUST STEAMWORKS. Facepalm.

  7. One thing I fear is its going to have so little supported games for SteamCloud, because its more technical than just inserting the game that exists on PS3 and PC, I would love to play a game like Unreal Tournament 3 from my PS3 with PC players because hardly know one plays it on PS3, but it would never happen, and couldn’t happen, Epic games changed their mind to do it and made them slightly different coding so it might not happen as they play slightly differently.

    But anyway, my point is there might only be a handful of games with the ability to do so, and i doubt it will be anything we already own, which is a shame, plus the developers will need to be on board with it, i guess some research is in order on what games can be played between Mac and PC, although their code will be identical… consoles wont be :/

  8. I love steam on PC and it is one of the infinitely many reasons why PCs are better than consoles, if done right. However, I respect those who wants to play on consoles and I hope Steam store and everything came to other platforms as well, so that I can frag more console boys in multiplayer!

  9. In a lot of ways I love the idea of PS3/ Steam integration. It would make things much easier, would (ostensibly) replace the sub-par PSN, and allow me to play with my steam friends as well as my PSN friends.

    However, I don’t much like the idea of having to tie my games to my account, like I have to with steam. Honestly, I don’t really buy PC games unless they are steeply discounted, because of the DRM on the platform. When I buy my games, I want to be able to own them; I want to be able to sell them if I don’t like them, and I want to be able to purchase used games at discounted prices.

    I admit that the system that Steam uses is incomparably better than many of the other DRMs being used today, but I still don’t really own my games. I can’t sell them, or trade them, or purchase them used. Steam’s penchant for heavy discounts tends to counteract the last point, but I’m still stuck with the games if I buy them, whether I like them or not. DRM should not punish people who legitimately purchase the game. When Valve find a way around that – perhaps a user store, where you can post your games for whatever price you want and then Valve can take a small cut? – I don’t think I will have any problems with Steam. Until then, I don’t really plan to go above my $5 for a digital game limit.

    • What would be the point in a user store? Valve would loose money on this, and because it is digital, you dont ever have a chance of it being worn out, thus people would rather buy at the userstore, and not the Steamstore. And DRM? Steam has no DRM! All you have to do is log in! And you dont even have to be online to log in!!

      But back to the article, I love that Steam is coming to PS3. I will be able to play TF2 with my new weapons! :D

  10. All the pc’s ive recently owned could never run any of the steam games I got making family and friends who bought me steam games, waste their money. Anyways, if i’m reading this correctly, then does this mean i would be able to download and play all of my steam games on the ps3?

  11. You don’t have to be online constantly, Steam has an offline mode, in which you can still play all the games you already have. The only time you really need to be online is to download the games.

  12. Steam is not coming to the PS3. Portal 2 has a “Steam overlay” which allows you the ability to also play it on your PC or Mac. That’s it. 

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