At every conference where Valve takes the stage, rumors begin to seep from the walls of Half-Life 3. Today’s talk at the Game Developers Conference (coincidently on 3/3 at 3:00pm) talked at length about Valve’s future projections and the ways in which the company is expanding moving forward.
Most excitedly is the announcement of Source 2, the engine for which most Valve games are built. The original Source engine dates back to the days of the original Counterstrike and Half-Life 1, suggesting that this latest advancement may herald a host of innovations to the PC gaming marketplace. Most exciting for developers is the immediate announcement that Source 2 will be free. Coming in the wake of both the Unity and Unreal 4 engines losing the price tag, Valve Senior Software Development Engineer Jay Stelly suggests this “will help continue the PCs dominance as the premiere content authoring platform.” It was briefly noted that Source 2 will be designed not only for the experienced game developer, but also for the common folk churning out the hordes of marketplace content that rises games like Team Fortress 2 and CS:GO to the limelight.
Coming in the wake of Source 2 is a slew of other exciting news from Valve’s GDC panel. To combat the living room gamer, Valve announced the Steam Link, a low-latency streaming box that pulls content from your gaming PC straight to your living room PC. Tentatively priced at a manageable $50.00, the Steam Link could help users consolidate their gaming experiences to a single machine, as well as dispel the notion that only consoles can be played on the couch. Why they didn’t call it the Steam Pipe, I have no idea.
Lower of my list of stops for the hype-train is the reveal of the almost-forgotten Steam Machines, now manufactured by Alienware and Falcon Northwest. Alongside this, Valve suggested that their newly revealed Vive VR-headset will begin distribution “by the end of the year.” Whether that’s a mid-Fall release, or just in time for Christmas, will be revealed later in the year. Lastly, the Steam Controller has been slated for this Fall as well, pricing in around $49.99. This mass of premium content, new releases, and exciting hardware spells a positive tale for the future of PC gaming. And it’s no surprise, as Valve president Gabe Newell suggested that the Steam userbase “[grew] 50% in the last 12 months,” likely suggesting the entire PC player-base may be increasing. Keep your eyes peeled for exciting things in the future of the platform.