The Quinault Indian Nation, a federally recognized self-governing tribe in Washington state, is suing Valve over gambling rights. The lawsuit, filed in Grays Harbor Superior Court, alleges that Valve runs the equivalent of an unlicensed virtual gambling outfit through Steam via skin and loot box purchases. The nation’s lawyers further accuse Valve of benefiting from third-party trading sites and purposefully acting slowly and ineffectually to combat those sites’ exploitation of children. More pragmatically, the Quinault Indian Nation says Valve is cutting into their legal casino business.
“By providing Washington residents with an illegal, online form of gambling, Valve offers unlawful alternatives to gambling at the lawful and highly regulated Quinault Casino, which takes away revenue from both Quinault and local governments.”
The Quinault Indian Nation wants Valve to cease its online gambling business, and asks the Washington Gaming Commission to regulate the practice, or shut it down permanently. You can read a copy of the filing here.
Valve has tactical shooting, hero shooting, and a MOBA. The two things missing from their catalog would be an MMO and a deck builder. With Artifact, Valve takes their Dota property into card flopping. Run, everybody! The 800-lb gorilla is entering the CCG room!
All we know for know for now is that it’s coming in 2018.
The second part of The Washington Post’s interview with Gabe Newell of Valve highlights the company’s relationship with its customers. It’s an uneasy mix of adoration and capitalism. When fans can make up to six figures of income from creating Steam Workshop items, the normal company-to-customer dynamic has to be modified. It’s not all business, though. According to Gabe, his fans like to get more touchy-feely in person.
“And they hug me when they run into me. I’m not a hugging person, but that’s what they want.”
I imagine many hugs end with “Hey man, where’s Half-Life 3?”
Gabe Newell spoke to The Washington Post about Valve’s history, how they work, and what makes their unconventional organization perfect for them. Valve famously has a fluid structure that allows anyone there to take the reins of a project. Decisions on what to do next are driven by the marketplace. For Half-Life fans waiting on the third installment, that means they may be waiting a long time. As long as free-to-play multiplayer remains wildly profitable, why create a singleplayer game with little to no recurring revenue stream?
So, if somebody becomes the group manager of X, they’re going to really resist it when X is not what you want to do in the next round of games. You don’t want them to sort of burrow into that – you want them to recognize that being really good at Half-Life level design is not as nearly as valued as thinking of how to design social multi-player experiences. You’ve had them feel like they have an organization and title tied up to something when the key is to just continue to follow where the customers are leading.
Valve has anounced SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system that will allow gamers to stream their games to their televisions and other devices. Beyond being just a cloud gaming service, Valve is positioning the software as an all-inclusive entertainment solution. The system boasts features for the living room, including in-home streaming, media services, sharing, and other family options. In typical Valve fashion, the system will be open for users to share and modify.
Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.
The free operating system will be available “soon” according to Valve.