Steam to be an Investment Tool?

Good Game has a video interview with Gabe Newell of Valve. If you wish to skip all the blah blah blah and get to the meat, it's at 7:18 on the timeline - Go ahead and watch, I'll wait...

Ok, now that you have watched it instead of listening to the bazillion of half-assed comments/news stories on the subject, there is nothing concrete in what he is saying here. His suggestion is that Steam could be a venue for developers to generate seed money from the gaming public instead of resorting to greedy and controlling VC's or publishing houses. He suggests that details such as returns on investment would have to be looked into, not that they would or wouldn't exist.

I think the bigger problem (beyond the insane amount of red tape that would have to be macheted through) is that 5000 gamers wanting 5000 different things and now having a legal say in the matter is a step backwards, not forwards. Gamers can't agree on anything, anywhere, period. Forums were created for people to bicker and complain, and they will - over anything, anywhere. Can you imagine the catastrophically inane sissy fight over a game like Tetris? Arguments over colors, shapes, speed, music, even default key assignments - it's endless.

I can easily foresee a positive side, and a few success stories here if the service sees the light of day. Narbacular Drop would never have become the innovative and highly successful Portal if Valve had not stepped in. There are many other Indie games that could become great if the developer could afford to spend six months straight with it without worrying about how he'll pay the rent or afford music and art assets.

It's a new door with a lot of old locks barring access, it will be interesting to see what unfolds.

An interesting side note: Valve's take on Piracy can be watched at 3:33 on the video timeline.
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