You can tell when a new game release is approaching – not only does the hype machine kick up, but all the talking heads come out of the woodwork, ready to talk up their game and talk down their rivals. Gearbox aren’t shy of smack talking their rivals.
By rivals, I mean Valve (or more specifically Steam).
Gearbox Marketing Manager Steve Gibson (nee. Shacknews), put out a few sound-bites late last week during an interview posted on the London Games Festival blog. A portion of the interview about the games availability on Steam reads like an attack on both Steam and it’s broken red-headed stepchild of a rival, Games for Windows: Live.
The charge – generating distinct markets that couldn’t interact with each other…
We wanted to have as many ways that people could get to it as possible. What we think is also going on is, we want people to be able to play together and right now if a guy buys a game on Games for Windows and a guy buys a game on Steam – they can’t play together. If another guy bought it in a retail store, he can’t play with the first two guys.
Right now we’re like “Please, work together” Our big concern right now is that these silos are being built. Everybody’s separating out and it’s really… as a developer who just wants gamers to be able to play games together, it’s frustrating right now. Things like that are hurting the PC industry for gamers. This is frustrating for everybody right now. Call out to the gamers. Hey gamers? Tell these guys to play nice!
Of course, such words are patent nonsense – no releases I can remember have different match-making services per SKU, with vendor lock-in only really seeming to apply to DLC – and (as per usual), in a bout of furious back-pedalling, a statement was issued that he was talking about friends lists. Yeah.
Moving on, Gearbox have announced that purchasers of the Borderlands: Game of the Year editions would get early access to the Duke Nukem Forever demo when it is released, although after consideration, it seems Gearbox have ‘downgraded’ the requirement for PC owners to simply ‘owning Borderlands’, although at the moment it seems to be just for Steam copies of the game.
Whether this is a marketing decision (existing owners are hardly likely to buy into a GOTY edition, especially if they already have a vendor-locked version) or a technical one (Gearbox could be pulling a Pop-Cap/PvZ, transmogrifying Borderlands + DLC into the GOTY edition for existing owners) is unknown.
If you own Gearbox’s Role-Playing Shooter on Valve’s platform, right click on the installed game, select ‘CD Keys’ and copy your Duke4Ever access code and paste it into http://www.dukenukem.com/access/.
Seems Gearbox do love Steam after all!