Valve now distributes without a publisher

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Jebus, May 1, 2005.

  1. Jebus

    Jebus Background Radiant

    Jan 29, 2004

    Not only that, but perhaps we will finally see publishers stop raping games so they will 'sell better'. As much as I dislike STEAM, my prayers go out to Valve. This could be very good news for us, poor ol' fucked over niche gamers.
  2. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    This is great news, but I don't expect the entire game industry to embrace Valve's model. Though it would be wonderful if all developers could develop and distribute their games without publishers (who more often than not fuck them over and violate their games in every imaginable way), not all developers have the luxury of being self-sufficient. Valve is apparently rich and successful enough to finance its games from preproduction, through entire development cycle, to distribution. Most independent development teams, particularly younger ones, simply don't have the funds to close the financial scheme and complete the development cycle on their own. For example, Firaxis Games actually managed to distribute Sid Meier's Antietam via Internet, but not before having their first (and possibly most successful) title, Alpha Centauri, published by Electronic Arts.

    Unfortunately, by signing contract with a publisher, development houses also inevitably grant them distribution rights, thus flushing any notion of 'independence' down the toilet. I do have hope, however, that given the opportunity, more development houses will switch to self-distribution model. If it proves successful on a mass scale, the industry might become polarized - on one hand there will be corporate giants like EA encapsulating dozens of teams, on the other hand there will be many small teams self-funding development and distribution of their products. Both models will likely involve a lot of risk, the former due to its inert corporate nature and the latter because a developer's ability to make financial ends meet will always depend on commercial success of one or two titles.
  3. DirtyDreamDesigner

    DirtyDreamDesigner Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 15, 2005
    So, we will either play crappy, over-produced OMFG TEH COOLEST GAME EVAR!!!!11!! games like the ever-horrible Pacific Assault, or smart but unfinished games with inferior graphics (I'd say Fallout, but someone might kill me).
    I'll take the latter, thank you.
  4. Roshambo

    Roshambo Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 3, 2003
    The problem is, being a corporation, this could change later on quite easily. It is how Origin and many other great development houses got bought into being merely license fodder. Or how some houses have just about vanished completely. It also depends on how they have it set up, too.
  5. greatatlantic

    greatatlantic It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jan 29, 2005
    As much as we like to bash publishers, myself included, they do offer a lot for a starting developer, and even well established ones. Most notably is publishers no how to advertise... usually. Anyways, a publisher can put in add for your game in their bestsellers box, which does a lot for exposure. They also can help fill out the wholes in a development team. For example, the voice acting, quality assurance, and music for Bloodlines was handled by Activision, Troika was probably too small a house to have their own departments for this. Oh, and money. Publishers pay for a lot of the games being made today. Of course, it goes with out saying the bulk of these games aren't worth paying for but thats another story.

    Valve is in the unique position of sitting on a money pit, though perhaps deservedly so. I don't expect the model to change anytime soon, though. Especially with publishers like EA buying monopolies and signing exclusive agreements.
  6. calculon000

    calculon000 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 10, 2004
    As much as I dislike steam, this is a good thing. Maybe we'll finally see some originality in games that takes place outside of my head.
  7. Cimmerian Nights

    Cimmerian Nights So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2004
    I'd like to know how successfull the Antietam venture was. I think it's a great way for a niche type game to lower costs, but I don't think it brought in anyone who wasn't already in love with SM's Gettysburg. For all intents and purposes it was an expansion, but lacked a lot of the production value of the first. I ordered it when it first came out, if memory serves correctly it was only possible to order it directly from Firaxis, but the CD itself was actually shipped via mail. But with the proliferation of broadband now, I can see a lot more doors being opened.
  8. PhoenixRising

    PhoenixRising First time out of the vault

    Jun 9, 2005
    If Valve is going to distribute its games only through Steam, they will fall quick.

    The Internet may be growing, but Retail is still king and will remain so.

    And I like it says "With this settlement, Valve has probably become the first game developer to function completely independent of a publisher." Hell, Interplay broke off from EA in the late 80s/early 90s and became its own publisher, it's not like this has been unheard of. It's not like the game industry has been just "Either you are a developer or a publisher" and many companys like Activison and EA that started out real small had other companys publish their stuff!

    Valve will eventually fall pray to being ruled by a publisher again. Id Software has made just as much of a killing off of the Doom games as Valve did off the Half Life games, but after going indy it wasn't long before they enlisted the help of Activision.
  9. Pajari

    Pajari Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 7, 2005
    This is fantastic news.

    For those of you that know of the game Combat Mission, they did the exact same thing with their distribution model and it worked incredibly well. They sold so many copies that they eventually did find a publisher and sold at retail. And they were a start-up company.

    Hopefully this cutting-out of the middle man is the next step, because giving the developers more money and more creative control can only be a good thing in my opinion.
  10. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Formerly known as Ratty Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    If I'm not mistaken, Valve has signed a distribution contract with someone in the meantime. But that's okay, distribution isn't same as publishing. As long as the entire intellectual property remains theirs, chances of getting skullfucked are minimal.