Valve's Newell Calls Xbox 360 Patching Process a "Train Wreck"

By Brian Leahy, Sep 10, 2010 4:20pm PDT In an interview with PC Gamer, Valve's Gabe Newell has called Microsoft's process for patching on the Xbox 360, discussing the disparity between the post-launch of support of Team Fortress 2 on the PC versus the Xbox 360 in The Orange Box.

"We thought that there would be something that would emerge, because we figured it was a sort of untenable," explains Gabe. "'Oh yeah, we understand that these are the rules now, but it's such a train wreck that something will have to change.'"

Gabe refers to the fact that issuing updates to Xbox 360 games after release cost the developer money and significant changes, requiring large amounts of new content to be downloaded cannot be offered for free, in most cases. This is why much of the content PC gamers get for free is available as paid DLC on the Xbox 360.

Valve had been hoping that Microsoft's position on patching would change following the launch of TF2, allowing Valve to bring all of the new content developed for the PC version to the console. PC players of TF2 know that the current game is wildly different from the version that shipped originally. This is key to Valve's philosophy of games as a service.

Previously, Valve had handled development of The Orange Box for the Xbox 360, choosing to have another developer handle the PS3 port. At E3, Valve announced support for the PS3 and its intention to bring Steamworks, its online framework, and Portal 2 to Sony's console. An Xbox 360 version of Portal 2 is also planned, but console gamers might want to consider the PS3 version since Valve will be allowed to better support the game there.

The rest of the interview covers other topics, including more on Valve mistakenly banning 12,000 Modern Warfare 2 players on Steam. It's definitely worth a read.

Click here to comment...


See All Comments | 22 Threads | 145 Comments
  • It's ok, Valve. You don't need to lie to us. We understand the concept of the almighty buck. Whether Sony or Microsoft or even Nintendo are waving it in front of your nose.

    But don't try that "It's so hard to patch" bullshit. Every other company patches their games on XBL when needed and don't complain about it. Say what you need to justify it to yourselves, but don't expect the public to just accept it.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 2 replies.

    • I'am pretty sure this has little to do with trying to monetize the updates on Valve's part. If you look on the PC side of things valve has given away tons of content for all their games and most notably TF2. I think they went on record as saying in a blog post saying that install size for TF2 is double or more what it was at launch. TF2 has been expanded for free to the point its not the same game it was in 2007 (new game modes, 9 class updates, community maps/weapons, hats). Every game I see on the console side is able to do patches to fix bugs but very rarely will you see that stuff being given away. In the other cases its still billed as DLC or Pre-launch or VIP items.

      Also you have to ask yourself why aren't you seeing a ton of MMO's on XboxLive and when you research the subject you will find its pretty much for the same reasons why Valve is having difficulties here. Microsoft in this case is the one that wants to turn every substantial update in to a transaction. An MMO would flounder without regular content updates.