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.

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  • That's good and all for Valve, Newell and gang. Yeah updates could be better applied through Xbox Live for more frequent updates to games. That is not the way it is. So Valve puts out their game, and chooses not to support it because of how they will have to patch it through Xbox Live. In the end "we" customers lose, not exactly that Valve is looking out for us.

    Valve quit acting all high and mighty. If you're not gonna update and patch your games, don't bother developing for Xbox. Straight up lazy.

    Another thing, I'm want to play Portal 2. I'm a Xbox gamer mostly. So Valve is saying the best console version is on PS3. Doesn't make sense to degrade a product you hope to sell in the future. I guess I won't get the best exp. on Xbox. Thanks Valve!!!

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 3 replies.

    • Well. I don't even have a PS3, and I prefer to game on the console now (Xbox 360, wii, nDS, or Iphone). So I'll probably still get Portal 2 on the 360. For one thing, gaming on consoles is more ergonomic for me now. For another, I don't like dealing with the hassles of pc gaming anymore. My xbox 360 serves me instead of me serving my pc so I can game on it. Video drivers, differing hardware issues, firewalls, windows glitches, etc... just bug the hell out of me. Thankfully the 360 is more of a real plug and play box. Updates are easy for me. Yes, I have a pc desktop and a work laptop that can probably handle the latest pc games, but why guess when I can just pop it into a 360 and not worry about it. I don't have to tweak graphics settings either to make sure my framerate is just right. I don't even have to think about that BS. And when a new Xbox comes out, I'll spend less than I'd ever have to spend on a new desktop, and be able to play all the latest.