Steam slows Valve development, suggests Stardock CEO

Wednesday, 13 April 2011 15:56 GMT By Stace Harman

If you’re wondering where Half-Life 2 episode 3 is, Brad Wardell thinks he may have the answer for you. The Stardock founder and CEO recently told Industry Gamers that, with Steam, Valve may be a victim of its own success.

Speaking about Stardock’s recent sale of its digital distribution service Impulse, to US-based retail giant GameStop, Wardell commented:

“Yeah, we could have become a retailer and tried to compete in that space long-term, but there were two possibilities. One is that we’d lose out and become a permanent minor player – Impulse relative to Steam today I would argue is a minor player. Or two, we’d be successful and we’re basically just a 600-person retail digital distribution company where three-quarters of the staff are sales people and account managers. And when the winning scenario is not what your objective in life is, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you want to do.”

Drawing comparisons between Valve and Stardock, Wardell went on to say that despite Valve’s prominent position in Seattle where “you can get developers everywhere” he feels that Steam has had an impact on Valve’s development schedule.

“There’s not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that,” he said. “They’ve have their own challenges getting new titles out the door, and a big part of that I’m sure is the same problems we’ve had. When one of your groups is so ridiculously profitable, every business instinct you have is to throw all your best people at it, because that’s what’s making the money. That’s just sound business. At the end of the day, again you have decide if that’s what you want to do.”

The Half-Life franchise began back in 1998 and, by the original game’s 10th birthday, had sold 20 million units. 6 years passed between Half-Life and it’s sequel, with episodes 1 and 2 launching within the 3 years of Half-Life 2’s arrival.

It has been almost four years since Episode 2’s release, with Valve remaining tight-lipped about when we can expect Episode 3.

Meanwhile, Valve’s Portal 2 arrives next week, Thursday April 21, or possibly even earlier.

Thanks, 1UP.