Newell talks Steam, hardware, Half-Life and more

In a lengthy interview with the people over at Penny Arcade, Valve boss Gabe Newell opened up about a lot of things. For instance, hardware, which is something Valve doesn’t do. Newell explained that while he’d rather leave it to those with more experience and savvy, he would not be one to back down if the moment ever arrived.

“If we have to sell hardware we will. We have no reason to believe we’re any good at it, it’s more we think that we need to continue to have innovation and if the only way to get these kind of projects started is by us going and developing and selling the hardware directly then that’s what we’ll do,” explained Newell.

“It’s definitely not the first thought that crosses our mind; we’d rather hardware people that are good at manufacturing and distributing hardware do that. We think it’s important enough that if that’s what we end up having to do then that’s what we end up having to do.”

The man also talked about Steam and pricing, and how the digital distribution service is trying to focus on “delivering the right stuff to the right customer for the right combination of pieces” and avoid the “one size fits all broadcast mentality” rather than “worrying about whether you charge $29.95 or $39.95, which actually causes you to pay attention to all of the wrong things.”

And rather unavoidably, Newell was questioned about the next iteration in the Half-Life series.

“Part of the reason that we backed off talking so much about what was happening in the future is that when we’ve done that in the past, you know, with Half Life 1 it was a year after we originally said it would be, Half Life 2 basically if you go and read the forum posts apparently took us fifty or sixty years to get done so we’re trying to be careful not to get people too excited and then have to go and disappoint them. So we’re sort of reacting in the other direction and saying “okay, well let’s have things a little more baked before we start getting people all excited about it.”

Newell also spoke of DRM, consoles opening up, used games and piracy, game ownership and the “Russian customer” incident.