With its countless games, online marketplace, game engines, and billions of dollars in revenue, it's easy to see that Valve has indeed made an impact on the gaming industry as a whole. The question is, how?
Valve Corporation, well-known for their cult classic games and game engines, is a long-standing entity as well as one of the biggest names in the gaming industry.
The company was founded in 1996 and debuted with the horror first-person-shooter, Half-Life, which is often praised as “one of the best and most influential games of its time”. For its countless contributions in the gaming industry, the company has already brought about billions of revenue.
One of Valve’s contributions to the gaming industry is Source, commonly known as Source Engine.
Source Engine is a 3D video game engine that first debuted in 2004, with the first-person-shooter remake, Counter Strike: Source. It was the successor to the GoldSrc, the same engine used for the PC cult classic, Half-Life.
For over 11 years, Source Engine was the primary engine used by independent game developers to create their 3D projects, mainly due to its ability to create games that can still be played even on computers with lower specs. Many of Valve’s own games, such as Team Fortress 2, Portal series, Half-Life series, and Left4Dead series, were made on Source Engine. These games have now grown huge in the gaming industry, with huge followings of their own.
Some of the most notable games made using the Source Engine, apart from the ones created by Valve themselves, are Dear Esther, Insurgency, and The Stanley Parable.
In 2015, Valve released its successor, the Source 2 Engine, with the multiplayer online battle arena, DotA2.
As of writing this, Valve already has around 34 titles developed and published under their name. Many of these games have greatly influenced and inspired the future generation of games, for their in-game mechanics, masterful storytelling, and reinvented genres.
One of Valve’s earliest games, Half-Life, as well as its sequel, Half-Life 2, has been considered a cult classic for years now by both gamers and critics. The game is often lauded for being one of the first modern shooter games during its time.
It also started the rise of showcasing stories in games, even in games that weren’t supposed to focus on stories such as shooters or strategy games.
The biggest waves brought about by Valve’s presence in the industry can be felt with Steam, a revolutionary online marketplace for games.
Steam was first established in 2003, supposedly for the sole reason of streamlining patching processes for online games, a process that used to take up large chunks of time for both players and developers.
Now, Steam has become the top marketplace for games, with almost 800 million games registered on the platform, ranging from small titles by independent developers to popular AAA projects by big-time publishers with large followers. Sadly, almost 37% of these games have apparently never been played or downloaded.
For big publishers, Steam acts as both a marketplace and another advertising medium.
For indie developers, it gives them a chance to play in the same field as the bigger players in the industry.
Indie developers are also benefitting from the fact that they can publish their games on Steam rather easily, essentially cutting off the middleman in the process. This, in turn, has contributed a lot to the indie game industry.
Valve’s presence on the gaming industry has been impacting games for many years now, and it seems like they’re not going to stop anytime soon.
Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to the players’ discretion.
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