Valve: Xbox Live Rules are a "Train Wreck"

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Valve: Xbox Live Rules are a "Train Wreck"

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Gabe Newell of Valve says the studio mistakenly expected it would have more opportunities to update the Xbox 360 version of Team Fortress 2 after it was released because the rules for Xbox Live were "such a train wreck" that they'd have to be changed eventually.

How you feel about Team Fortress 2 depends a lot of on your platform of choice. Owners of the PC version, wallowing in the mountainous piles of free stuff Valve has put out over the years, are generally pretty satisfied with their bang for the buck, while 360 players are more likely to feel a little bit hosed over being more or less abandoned. But speaking to PC Gamer, Newell, along with Erik Johnson and Doug Lombardi, said it's not entirely Valve's fault; the company knew Microsoft had strict rules about how games could be updated over Xbox Live but assumed that things would eventually change because it's such an obviously flawed system.

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

"The lack of updates on the 360 for TF2 is... a total failure," Johnson said. It's particularly troubling for Valve, he added, "Because it got all the way through to customers. It's like a bug. If you fix a bug before it ever ships, it's pretty cheap. If you ship it and then fix it, it's really expensive. Those ones are really bad."

Somewhat ironically, Newell also praised the PlayStation 3, which not too terribly long ago he treated like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe, for picking up the ball Microsoft dropped. "We're really happy with the current situation with the PS3," he said. "We're solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this."

My, how things change, eh?

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I agree about a lot of what they say. Despite being a good service for the ned user, it's just hell to work around XBox Live.

Yeah the Xbox Live rules kinda suck. More than I thought I guess if they're the specific reason Valve can't update TF 2.

I wonder how the Wii's internet would work with Valve's update system. Then again Valve seems to not want to put anything out on the Wii so...

No one blames Valve, it really is hell to work around the 360's rules.

I agree that Microsoft needs to loosen on their rules a bit... but I don't get it.

Valve own a massively used PC game platform plus loads of highly rated titles that millions of people have bought and played regularly...

Yet they won't shell out for one god damn update?

I mean yeah... the rules are strict and bad and blah de blah. But can't they take a small wad of money from the Valve cash pile and throw out an update? I mean really are they that stuck up about this?

I'll just leave this here

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Andy Chalk:
Somewhat ironically, Newell also praised the PlayStation 3, which not too terribly long ago he treated like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe, for picking up the ball Microsoft dropped. "We're really happy with the current situation with the PS3," he said. "We're solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this."

Wait......Did microsoft Kill his dog or something? Until now everything i have read about Gabe Newell and PS3 has been him hating on it and the people who bought it.....This new future doesn't seem so bleak after all.

Did it occur it him to try and work out this issues with Microsoft?

Tankichi:

Andy Chalk:
Somewhat ironically, Newell also praised the PlayStation 3, which not too terribly long ago he treated like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe, for picking up the ball Microsoft dropped. "We're really happy with the current situation with the PS3," he said. "We're solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this."

Wait......Did microsoft Kill his dog or something? Until now everything i have read about Gabe Newell and PS3 has been him hating on it and the people who bought it.....This new future doesn't seem so bleak after all.

Or it could be Sony money talking.

Gabe Newell has one of those voices like Farnsworth, you see a quote from him and instantly read it in his voice... well, I do, at least...

I guess we could just look on the bright side. If they'd been able to update the 360 version of TF2 as much as the PC version, we'd need about 50 hard drives to store all the data.
It'd be worth it. For hats.
Everything's worth it for hats.

One suspects there is quite a large amount of Sony money heading the way of Valve re: Portal 2.

But anyway, I seem to recall a certain Kotick (Robert) mentioning something similar about Xbox Live...

canadamus_prime:
Did it occur it him to try and work out this issues with Microsoft?

I'm sure they've actually talked to Microsoft about it.

How do the rules stop them from releasing a patch? It doesn't stop other companies.

GamesB2:
I agree that Microsoft needs to loosen on their rules a bit... but I don't get it.

Valve own a massively used PC game platform plus loads of highly rated titles that millions of people have bought and played regularly...

Yet they won't shell out for one god damn update?

I mean yeah... the rules are strict and bad and blah de blah. But can't they take a small wad of money from the Valve cash pile and throw out an update? I mean really are they that stuck up about this?

Valve doesnt have to pay but its a xboxlive rule that microsoft that updates with alot of content (determined by microsoft) aren't allowed to be updates.
The updates are only allowed to be sold as dlc so the players that payed for the new dlc and thus weapons would get an advantage for money. Its not about bribe money that you pay microsoft XD
Another example is castle crashers, they wanted to release the dlc for free but microsoft determined a price for it and dictated that it was payed dlc.

That's it Valve, turn to the dark Sony side.
OT: Then why haven't they updated the PS3 version? Or have they and I missed something?

Well, yeah. The PS3's system has much more freedom for developers and suchlike, and the 360's is too controlled. I think Sony really have this online millarkey nailed now.

GamesB2:
I agree that Microsoft needs to loosen on their rules a bit... but I don't get it.

Valve own a massively used PC game platform plus loads of highly rated titles that millions of people have bought and played regularly...

Yet they won't shell out for one god damn update?

I mean yeah... the rules are strict and bad and blah de blah. But can't they take a small wad of money from the Valve cash pile and throw out an update? I mean really are they that stuck up about this?

Any new weapons or hats are impossible, as Team Fortress 2 takes up nearly all of the 360's RAM.

However, this is no excuse for the lack of map packs, or even bloody bug fixes. Don't forget the horrible class limits update, which not only made it even more difficult to find a playable game but also prevented game modding, and ruining possibly the only chance 360 players will get to play Payload. This is why i mad at Valve.

Though I'll probably get Portal 2 anyway.

GiantRedButton:
Valve doesnt have to pay but its a xboxlive rule that microsoft that updates with alot of content (determined by microsoft) aren't allowed to be updates.
The updates are only allowed to be sold as dlc so the players that payed for the new dlc and thus weapons would get an advantage for money. Its not about bribe money that you pay microsoft XD
Another example is castle crashers, they wanted to release the dlc for free but microsoft determined a price for it and dictated that it was payed dlc.

That's not even what I was talking about.

I realise I wasn't clear. So let me make that right.

F*ck the new content. I don't want it. Just fix the god damn glitches and server errors and everything that screws up the online.

Optimus Hagrid:
Any new weapons or hats are impossible, as Team Fortress 2 takes up nearly all of the 360's RAM.

However, this is no excuse for the lack of map packs, or even a bloody map pack. Don't forget the horrible class limits update, which not only made it even more difficult to find a playable game but also prevented game modding, and ruining possibly the only chance 360 players will get to play Payload. This is why i mad at Valve.

Snip

Though I'll probably get Portal 2 anyway.

Ergh...

Look a few posts up there ^ ^ ^ Same response applies.

Odegauger:

Tankichi:

Andy Chalk:
Somewhat ironically, Newell also praised the PlayStation 3, which not too terribly long ago he treated like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe, for picking up the ball Microsoft dropped. "We're really happy with the current situation with the PS3," he said. "We're solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this."

Wait......Did microsoft Kill his dog or something? Until now everything i have read about Gabe Newell and PS3 has been him hating on it and the people who bought it.....This new future doesn't seem so bleak after all.

Or it could be Sony money talking.

I thought microsoft had that corner covered? Now it may seem fan boyish that i say that BUT! i still remember reading about how microsoft threw money at bethesda to delay the DLC for the PS3 for Fallout 3....yet it was still released. ALSO! if it is sony giving him money then the future is still bleak because he has given us his price on his word.

Woodsey:

canadamus_prime:
Did it occur it him to try and work out this issues with Microsoft?

I'm sure they've actually talked to Microsoft about it.

Presumably, but the way he talks in that article it makes it sound like Valve was perfectly content to sit back and hope that Microsoft would fix the problem. So it makes me wonder, did it occur to them to go to Microsoft and say 'Hey, your rules are not allowing us to get updates for our game out to our customers on your system. How can we fix that?' ...or something to that effect?

I honestly stopped giving a damn. I already got the PC version, so as far as I'm concerned, I might as well throw the Xbox 360 version in the trash. I don't give a flying rat's ass if I have to pay for the content. Release the content and I'll be happy.

MS just wants to control everything, monitor every details - Its a real shame, as at end of the day, it we who lose ouit

Hmmm. This article made that quote sound far more malicious than it did in the interview

Especially when you realise the whole interview was about Valves failures. This is just one of the things they class as a failure.

I hope Valve doesn't start to take shit on the 360, though, that would end up being bad for the customer, and that is no fair.

Andy Chalk:
shameless attention grab to ask a related question

Is their any chance of a link to these rules, or even better have you considered doing a piece on them?

I wasn't aware that they was such a problem, what with alot of games getting updated regulary fixing glitches and some getting regular free content (battlefield bad company 2).

Perhaps it's just because i'm an xbox user, but to me it seems like it's just Gabe trying to validate changing sides (I hate using the word sides, but I couldn't think of a better way to put it). Or at the least, a bad workman blaming his tools.

Optimus Hagrid:

However, this is no excuse for the lack of map packs,

Ker-ching!

or even bloody bug fixes.

Ker-ching. Pay up.

Don't forget the horrible class limits update, which not only made it even more difficult to find a playable game

Ker-Ching!

but also prevented game modding

Ker-Ching!

, and ruining possibly the only chance 360 players will get to play Payload.

Ker-Ching!

This is why i mad at Valve.

Shouldn't you be mad at MS for not allowing Valve to give you this stuff for free, like they want to? Like they do on the PC?

GamesB2:
I agree that Microsoft needs to loosen on their rules a bit... but I don't get it.

Valve own a massively used PC game platform plus loads of highly rated titles that millions of people have bought and played regularly...

Yet they won't shell out for one god damn update?

I mean yeah... the rules are strict and bad and blah de blah. But can't they take a small wad of money from the Valve cash pile and throw out an update? I mean really are they that stuck up about this?

Do you know what that means? It means that they have to pay Microsoft to givethe stuff away..
And i once read the sums of cash they had to pay also, and that was not just some small amount.. For every MB downloaded they had to pay quite a sum of money, and if hundreds of thousands download the 300-500 MB updates, its millions of dollars they have to pay..

Its not good buisness to pay to give stuff away for free..

Corpse XxX:
Do you know what that means? It means that they have to pay Microsoft to givethe stuff away..
And i once read the sums of cash they had to pay also, and that was not just some small amount.. For every MB downloaded they had to pay quite a sum of money, and if hundreds of thousands download the 300-500 MB updates, its millions of dollars they have to pay..

Its not good buisness to pay to give stuff away for free..

GamesB2:
I realise I wasn't clear. So let me make that right.

F*ck the new content. I don't want it. Just fix the god damn glitches and server errors and everything that screws up the online.

BrunDeign:
I wonder how the Wii's internet would work with Valve's update system.

Honestly I think the Wii is too weak to run Valve games.

And that's saying something...

GamesB2:

Yet they won't shell out for one god damn update?

It's not Valve that has to shell out. It's the customer. Microsoft wants to force Valve to charge for the DLC

xbox has poor policies - we've been being told about that on and off since the system went live.

I want to know how well things are going with the PS3 steamworks.
Will my horrid PS3 orange box I got gifted actually going to be adopted into the fold or will it stay the black (EA branded) sheep of valve products.

TestECull:
It's not Valve that has to shell out. It's the customer. Microsoft wants to force Valve to charge for the DLC

GamesB2:
I realise I wasn't clear. So let me make that right.

F*ck the new content. I don't want it. Just fix the god damn glitches and server errors and everything that screws up the online.

Demon ID:

Is their any chance of a link to these rules, or even better have you considered doing a piece on them?

Well...

I'm sure Andy can find the other rules if they're not under a NDA. If they are, you can't know them until you can't tell them.

I don't get it. What rules?
Was one of the updates called "Fort Gay"?
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103313-Microsoft-Apologizes-to-Fort-Gay-for-Xbox-Live-Ban

And are you sure it was Gabe Newell and not Kevin Butler in a fat (and greasy) suit.

BrunDeign:
Yeah the Xbox Live rules kinda suck. More than I thought I guess if they're the specific reason Valve can't update TF 2.

There's no reason Valve can't update TF2 on the 360. They would just need to follow Microsoft's rules (because you know, it's Microsoft's platform). As far as I know the rules aren't that restrictive, just things like requiring certification for the update so that it doesn't negatively affect the console or LIVE in any way.

So as far as I can tell the issue Valve is having is that they want their DLC to just be updates. However Microsoft won't allow them to do this, as Xbox LIVE requires people to download all updates for a game when they play it while connected to LIVE. They don't want Valve's giant updates to be required because not all 360 users have hard drives and the internal memory isn't sufficient for anything larger than code modifications.

So for Valve to release all the PC TF2 content on the 360 they would have to create one or more game updates which are required and release the various maps and character changes as DLC. Depending on how many packages of DLC they create they could have problems with overly dividing the game's community, they certainly would have run into problems if they released concurrent with the PC updates.

So in my interpretation of events it's entirely Valve's fault up to this point. That's a controversial way of looking at things because of the next complication. Microsoft would probably have a fee for hosting the content on the Xbox LIVE servers. In order to make this arrangement affordable Valve would probably have to charge for the DLC, which is something they are firmly against. Valve probably could offer it for free if they hosted the content on their own servers but Xbox LIVE rules prevent that from happening.

One other rule Microsoft has is that content that can give achievement points must have a price tag. There are only a few exceptions. However I'm sure this wouldn't really be a problem, Valve could just take out the achievements.

Regardless, I see the lack of TF2 DLC or updates on the Xbox 360 being mostly the fault Valve's aloof attitude and refusal to compromise. The rules are there for a reason, policy disagreements between a privately owned company with a couple hundred employees and an $86 billion corporation don't make the rules a "train wreck."

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