Friday, November 21, 2008

Speaking of insane ideas

If you're like me you'd remember of a rumor that came up a few months ago of a plan by Google to purchase Valve now not alot of fans of Half Life and Steam took too well to the idea of the search giant buying a company behind one of the best FPS games out there (mostly citing privacy issues) and it ended up being just a rumor anyways.

But now on to the dreaming side of things. I am probably one of the only gamers who thinks that the buyout would've been an awesome idea, for both Google and Valve.

Why? Well for one, tech manager at Valve John Houlihan had mentioned Google is "f***ing massive" which would equal alot for Steam, Steam as of now has a few more registered accounts than the PlayStation Network, with Googles help that could make a leap of almost more than half of that just from a few changes/updates to the platform.

Imagine Steam on Mac or even Linux, two platforms that are known for being deprived of games. Making it to Mac and Linux would inevitably takeover the gaming markets on those platforms.
Then there's also Google accounts which knowing how Google works, would double as Steam accounts which would increase the amount of registered users greatly.
And something that is a big issue in PC gaming and is never really mentioned, cross platform development.
Now what I could see is a platform that doesn't limit developers in the style of Android but by how much power their games are allowed to use. What would I propose? an open-source emulator of an imaginary Google game console that runs a stripped down version of Android for it's firmware and doesn't limit developers from programming whatever language they want on it (allowing them to access the emulated hardware itself) the specs of the console would be a little less than the PSP with a graphics card that varies upon the users settings. Being open-source this imaginary console would be ported to stuff like the GP2X and [unofficially] to the PSP and Wii.

Now this emulator wouldn't be made to replace how the existing games on Steam are made, but it would be there to aid small game developers in making multi-platform games without much work.

Then going on to Kevin Hanna of the failed Google Lively project stating that the gaming industry has a "corporate mentality" and that it's "sucking the life out of what should be the most creative and innovative medium out there". I'd could bet that Google would freely distribute games on the Steam network allowing small developers to sell their games or give them away for free on the Steam content distribution service with a size limit on their game unless they paid some sort of fee or had some sort of deal with Google.

Then the last and possibly the largest feature, the network. Google would open up the Steamworks library even more than Valve did, adding support via several protocols instead of it just being C/C++ code (possibly using OAuth and Jabber/XMPP) and allowing developers to use it in Flash games, game consoles, the iPhone and even Android.

Then the obvious factor of how they would fund most if not all of this. Ads all over the Steam client, website and even within the games, expanding their in game advertising program.

I couldn't even predict what else might have done, maybe they would make open standards for online gaming alike Open Social, or maybe that would be an extension of Open Social, who knows?