Why Valve’s Steam May Be Coming To Consoles (& Why Not)


Rumors suggest Valve’s Steam platform could be headed to consoles, but there’s good reason to be skeptical about the PC service coming to Xbox and PS.

For PC gamers, it’s virtually impossible to avoid Valve’s Steam. It’s the default storefront for most developers and, thus, most players. On top of this, some of its associated technologies – like Steam Link and SteamVR – just haven’t been replicated by alternatives like the Epic Games Store. There are hints Steam could soon make an appearance on consoles, too, but these should be taken with a grain of salt.

The most recent fuel on the fire is a comment from Valve president Gabe Newell. When asked if Steam games would be coming to consoles at a talk in Auckland, New Zealand, Newell said, “You will have a better idea of that by the end of this year.” Executives typically flat-out deny rumors if they’re not of substance. At the same time, Newell’s response didn’t offer any specifics and might even allow the possibility of reversing course.

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Related: Titanfall 2 Player Count Skyrockets By 750% On Steam

It should be noted that the least plausible scenario is Valve bringing the Steam storefront to consoles. Since Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft claim a portion of sales revenue from games sold on their consoles’ digital stores, it’s highly unlikely they’d be willing to let Valve divert some of that money. Valve, in turn, wouldn’t likely sacrifice its own sales cut just to have a presence on consoles. More probable is Valve porting Steam Link and Remote Play, letting gamers play PC titles on console via Wi-Fi or a LAN connection. Steam Link is already present on platforms like iOS, Android, Apple TV, and even some Samsung TVs; consoles are a logical next step.

Could Valve Bring Steam Games To Consoles?

Half-Life Alyx Combine PC VR

Another plausible scenario is more Valve games coming to consoles, possibly with Steam as a backend. Offering Half-Life: Alyx on PS5 would be an easy way for Sony to sell its second-generation PSVR headset, given the game likewise spurred sales of Valve’s Index VR hardware for PC. If more traditional games like Half-Life 3 or Portal 3 are in development, meanwhile, there’s little technical reason to avoid putting them on PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. Nintendo fans might have to wait for a rumored next-generation Switch, though, since the current model’s performance would likely be too weak.

Just having Steam Lin on consoles would be a win-win scenario. Valve could make Steam even more integral to PC gaming, while console makers could sell more units and accessories, like officially licensed keyboards and more. Whatever the company’s plans are, gamers could apparently hear about them in the next few months.

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