Valve: collaboration with users is vital

It may sound cheesy, but it's the truth, Gabe Newell says.

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Valve's relationship with its customers is a constant collaboration, cofounder Gabe Newell told The Washington Post in a new interview. He said the arrival of the Internet forever changed the relationship service providers like Valve have with their customers, and that consumers themselves are now a very important part of the experience overall.

"The lines are a lot blurrier between who is a customer and who is a creator. It used to be it was pretty easy, right? You make cars, you send them out to some form of indirect distribution, and customers buy them, and you basically never hear from them again," Newell said. "Whereas in our world, sometimes people are producing as much as they are consuming in the experience. If you look at a multiplayer game, it's the people who are playing the game who are often more valuable than all of the animations and models and game logic that’s associated with it."

Newell went on to say that though it may sound a bit cheesy, he believes that the experiences Valve creates are "really a collaboration between all of the members of the community." He pointed out that fostering this kind of collaborative relationship with consumers is especially vital today when users are able to sell their digital creations--as users can via Steam.

"When you have kids making six-figure incomes making art assets inside the framework that you created and they're able to sell digital goods and services around the world, it's pretty concrete that you have to recognize that you are in a partnership with your customers," Newell said. "It's always a collaboration."

Another area of Valve's business that thrives on collaboration with users is game design, Newell said.

"You can't pretend that it's just a canonical experience that lives in your head and is violated by being turned into bits, and a customer's job is to approach it and try to understand the auteur's vision of the experience," he said. "If you come to it with that sort of model, you'll never ship a game. So the useful thing about having to recognize that you're collaborating just to even ship the simplest kind of game is that it starts making you think about all of the other ways you should be collaborating with your customers."

This level of collaboration between Valve and its customers is beneficial for both groups, Newell said. The consumers largely get what they want, and Valve stands to make more money, he said.

"What we've always found is that the closer we are to our customers, the more introspection we have into their choices and values, the more money we make," Newell said. "One of the biggest things about Steam was that it was the tool that we needed in order to do that."

Thanks to the arrival of Steam, Valve can receive feedback from potentially millions of users in a matter of minutes, Newell said. "Being able to have that for everything you do is insanely valuable. All of a sudden you're no longer dancing in the dark with over mitts on--you can actually see how your audience and your customer base is reacting to what you've done, riffing on it, and extending it," he said.

Last night during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, Valve officially announced 13 third-party Steam Machines, revealing the various systems' prices, images, and specs. For more, Check out our roundup and a video from the event below.

Discussion

68 comments
Vlado Rabrenovic
Vlado Rabrenovic

Right on point Thor. Those sleazy bastards want nothing but $$$

Jak Gibberish
Jak Gibberish

Wow...... TF2 is free to play for everyone with free updates which take time in order to make and yet people complain. How else do they fund it?

Simon Corbett Bsc
Simon Corbett Bsc

That they make great games then stop randomly, while not saying much................ then release a different game with sequel................rinse and repeat. Because they can't count to 3 ;)

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

I've been a valve customer since Half Live 2 & to this day, I've only had 1 issue, I'm a happy customer.  Now that I can game with a PS4 controller on the PC, I'll be staying for a long time, even though the majority of my games run through a trackball.

Matt Davies
Matt Davies

What about HL2 Episode 3 first, which BTW has not been officially canned or cancelled but more in limbo

Prince Manu
Prince Manu

he really jabbed xbox and ps4.65million and counting.

Dan Offerdahl
Dan Offerdahl

Valve continues to go down the toilet. they don't care about their customers at all. they use to be so good, not anymore.

Patrick Wayne Hartleib
Patrick Wayne Hartleib

Just conclude the HL series with a blockbuster hit thats all we want some clousure dammit!

Alex Morris
Alex Morris

Just like a console, Steam machines are aimed at consumers that just want to pick up a pre-built machine and play right out of the box. However the Steam machine will still be more powerful than a console for around the same sort of price

Roy Frostys
Roy Frostys

Most of their game are true F2P, they have to put food on their table for their children somehow....

Alex Morris
Alex Morris

Have no fear Half Life 3 will soon arrive. It has been a long wait but we all know by now that Valve time is not like real time. Let's not forget the fact they would have had to been working on a new source engine ready for next generation titles which of course means the expectations of Portal 3, L4D3, TF3 and a new Counter Strike. These are world class developers, I think they know what they are doing

Daniel Leon
Daniel Leon

Yes $500 is too much... Lets buy an xbox one.. Oh wait.

Chris Gordon
Chris Gordon

Yes, $500 is indeed overpriced. I'd only spend $100 on a PC, sir.

Chris Gordon
Chris Gordon

and yet people are buying and using those worthless gadgets so someone wants them even if you don't

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

I'd give valve all my money before I gave electronic assbags a penny.

Leonid Steiner
Leonid Steiner

Well you dont have to buy it. Dont like it, dont get it. Problem solved. Stop whining.

Marcin Laszek
Marcin Laszek

If they would love our bank accounts they would release HF3 already

Thor Christensen
Thor Christensen

They simply love our bank accounts. They love them so much that they institute worthless gadgets in our already functioning games, turning them into auction houses, where people are selling nothing but data, pixels, to the highest bidder. all the while nothing else in the game itself changes and Valve are benefiting from the interest rates from the auction.

Gohar Munir
Gohar Munir

They don't always make sequels... but when they do... They're awesome

Josh Haggerty
Josh Haggerty

Instead of doing something GOOD like say... Half-life 3, let's put out 13 overpriced PCs that cost more than building your own, and only come with a dumbed down gaming-spacific OS. XD Bleh.

Tristram Wake
Tristram Wake

When it comes to sequels, what we like to do is take a big long pole and then shove it directly into your ___

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Kudos to Valve, but I wish that Valve would extend its offer to more than just customers and partners of its Steam service.

Ereheru
Ereheru

For all those who are complaining about the lack of "Half Life 3", I would remind you that people were begging for a new Star Wars film for decades, and when we finally got it, it was Star Wars Episode 1:  The Phantom Menace.


I certainly don't want "Half Life 3:  The Phantom Menace".


If they don't have a good idea for the next Half Life game, you should be glad they aren't like pretty much every other developer who are willing to crap on the legacy of a great game in the name of making some cash.

kamikazeespleen
kamikazeespleen

And this is why Valve are one of the best companies out there. They want the feedback from the customers and actually do something with it rather than give they impression they're interested.


Also, the people saying "well you're not listening because you haven't realeased Half Life 3", they can take their sweet time over it as long as it lives up to the hype.


You can demand a backrub from the Gaben but that doesn't necessarily mean you get one.

PJthePlayer2
PJthePlayer2

So he collaborates with fans... unless they're Half-Life fans in which case he ignores them for years.

rskueem
rskueem

Steam Machines is the whole idea to get more people into steam and less dependent on Windows.Actually these high price machines are designed for those lazy gamers that can't build their own decent cheap gaming pc.Most of the steam uses are not stpuid to buy/replace these console looking high price steam machines.
Valve isn't even taking a risk on this, it could bring new people to Steam and if it fails, only the manufacturers will take the hit. I see what you did there Gabe.Please Valve think about to release your games(HL3, TF3,portal 3,left 4 dead 3 etc ), enough said ^^ 

pszone
pszone

Value Stream going to fail because .   people want to use there pc for value service .

Just face it Value not a  game company anymore its a Stream Service.

Plus they don't care about there costumers if did they would made Half Life EP3  and Half Life 3 and Left for Dead 3 long ago.

If want Stream console wait until xbox1 or PS4 get there Stream because lot cheaper than this crap.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

By "Continues to go down the toilet" I assume you mean "Gets larger and more successful every day", because the former couldn't have been what you meant; bullshit, if you will.

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

Except the Mass Effect Trilogy, I haven't given them a dime in 1.5 years.

vault-boy
vault-boy

@Ereheru Difference between HL3 and Episode 1 is one, they already built HL2 with the plan to continue the series. Star Wars was not build with a continuation. Lucas might have planned to make prequels but they would have been for the most part their own story that only took place with one or two of the same characters. Two, Valve has shown that they are talented and are able to make some of the greatest games of all time. George Lucas has shown that he has very little talent, and after making American Graffiti he really only had Star Wars, and his contribution to the film is vastly overstated and without other people telling him how some of his ideas were completely stupid Star Wars would have been a massive failure. He had free reigns on episode 1, and therefore it wasn't very good.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@pszone It's thisguy again who calls Valve Value. And Steam Stream. 
Ugh this fanboy.

Ereheru
Ereheru

@vault-boy I think you misunderstand my point...If they make Half Life 3 just to satisfy the demand for it as opposed to making a worthy addition to the series, it will probably be as big a disappointment as The Phantom Menace.  I don't know about any of you, but I don't blame Gabe Newell for not wanting to be like George Lucas in that respect.


And to the defense of George Lucas (ugh, am I really going to defend George Lucas?), I do think Raiders of the Lost Ark deserves a mention in the works of George Lucas.


I understand the frustration and feel it too, but then I remember my favorite Spock quote: "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting.  It is not logical, but it is often true" (Star Trek. Season 2, Episode 1)

Slash_out
Slash_out

@Klikandclick@Gatts1978They don't release many games bu they are good. I had a lot of fun on Portal 2, team fortress and dota2.

Recently too.

Dota2 was released like 6 months ago or something.

Portal 2 was in 2011. A game every 2/3 years isn't the fastest as far as release rate goes. 

But look at Naughty dogs they had a 2 years delay until very recently where they sped up. Or even CD PROJEKT who has a 3 years between each games. And they are very revelant.



Yet the last 2 games from Valve got awesome ratings and popularity. That's more than most devs can boast about. HL3 is not needed to be revelent, it's just the game a lot of players want most... because it's a sequel of a popular franchise that's taking very very long to be made. So hype builds up.

But even though Valve is now mostly steam, it still does pretty good as a dev.