Valve boss Gabe Newell has signaled an end to the company's long hiatus. At a talk yesterday, the president said the company is "going to start shipping games again." He also opened up about why the pace of its releases slowed down so much, and what's changed since then.
The presentation (via PC Gamer) was centered mostly on Artifact, the Dota 2-themed card game announced last year. But he made sure to point out that it's not the only game on Valve's slate. He explicitly said that it's "the first of several games" coming from the studio. Since the release of Dota 2, Valve's gaming efforts have been focused mostly on supporting it and Team Fortress 2.
As for why Valve moved away from games, Newell frankly said he was concerned about PCs becoming more of a closed system. He said his investments into Vive were an effort to "offset" the impact of Microsoft and Facebook looking into OS and VR concepts that the company considered less open. The result has been a newly revised Valve that he says feels comfortable in hardware design as well as software. Newell hinted that may impact how they treat their game designs going forward.
"We've always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo," Newell said. "When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he's thinking what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities. He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things. And he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he's designing the software at the same time that's really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we've been jealous of, and that's something that you'll see us taking advantage of subsequently."
As for the identity of these mystery projects, Newell was much more tight-lipped. He did say in a Reddit AMA in January that they're working on a single-player game. He's also mentioned three more VR games on the way. That's four more in addition to Artifact, with a notable focus on custom hardware, so those could be the games he was referring to. Either way, though, it sounds like Valve is back in the games business.