Valve head Gabe Newell says that games are entering a transitional phase, and warns that the industry may be moving away from open platforms, towards proprietary technology instead. "On the platform side, it's sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms," Newell said in a panel.
He also suggests that Apple could be on the verge of releasing a living room device that could shake up the industry like the iPhone.
According to The Seattle Times, Newell says platform holders "view themselves as more rent guys who are essentially driving their partner margins to zero." He accuses platform holders of attracting users and then controlling access using their platforms.
"I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear," he said. "I'm worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going - there's going to be an attempt to close those off so somebody will say 'I'm tired of competing with Google, I'm tired of competing with Facebook, I'll apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don't like from my world.'"
Newell has been vocal about console criticisms before, but surprised gamers last year when he appeared on-stage at Sony's E3 press conference to announce Portal 2 on PlayStation 3. Sony allowed Valve to include Steam features into the game, proof that Newell supports whichever platform happens to be the most open.