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Six ways Valve changed the gaming world

How the studio sets the gold standard time and time again

Ah, Valve. Few developers have had such a dramatic effect in so many different ways on the way the world of video games works.


Great games aside, the studio has managed to set the standard for everything from distribution to pro-gaming.

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1. STEAM
A digital-distribution and gaming platform used by 25-million people. Two million are online at any given time, and can play with each other at the click of a button. Easy, fast and cheap, it is, for many, the only way to shop and play.


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2. COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Team Fortress 2 was released in 2007. Since then, new items, weapons, game modes, maps and unlockables have been added free of charge almost every month. Valve are the kings of supporting gaming groups.


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3. MODS
On release, Half-Life became the modding platform of choice for a gaming generation. Some added co-op, others gutted engines and invented genres. Valve's Source engine then became the new go-to platform.


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4. PHYSICS
Half-Life 2's gravity gun was a game-changer. Others had done realistic physics but not as well. Launching a toilet at someone and seeing their corpse flying over a building is hilarious and educational. Well, mainly the former.


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5. STORYTELLING
In Half-Life, you journey from underground labs to huge skyscrapers via outer-bloody-space. You make allies and enemies and learn things no human should. Oh, and you never speak. Valve puts the player in the game.


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6. PROFESSIONAL GAMING
Counter-Strike is a pro-gaming gold standard. Numerous versions were toyed with before it was ported to Valve's Source engine, and it's still the best tactical shooter. Even the ageing 1.6 is still of tournament standard.

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