Crossing the Steams
Just a few years ago, Gabe Newell wasn’t too keen on the PS3. When Valve was working on The Orange Box, he called the system “a total disaster,” while also suggesting that Sony scrap the system and start all over. With the company handing off the PS3 port of The Orange Box to EA, while also keeping the Left 4 Dead games locked to the PC and Xbox 360, it seemed that Newell wanted no part of the system.
That’s why it was such a shock to see him marching onstage during Sony’s E3 keynote in 2010 to announce that not only was Portal 2 going to come to the PlayStation 3, but would also implement Steamworks. What this meant was that game saves would be uploaded to the Steam Cloud for use on any PS3, easier delivery of game patches and updates, and the possibility of cross-platform play — any two people playing Portal 2 on PS3, PC, or Mac could connect to play one of the premier co-op games of 2011.
The Portal 2 parade was immediately rained on by the PSN outage hitting just a day after the game launched, sidelining the prospect of cross-platform co-op (or even regular PSN co-op) for an entire month. But with the announcement of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive not too long ago also came confirmation that Steamworks would once again be front and center, allowing for cross-platform play once again.
Yeah, Microsoft did cross-platform play first with Shadowrun on Xbox 360 and Games for Windows Live. It was a noble idea, felled by the fact that PC gamers didn’t want to pay to play online, and 360 players didn’t want to get their asses continually handed to them by keyboard-and-mouse-wielding PC players. The fact that Steam and PSN, two completely free services, can cooperate so much better shows that hey, maybe Sony aren’t so bad to work with after all.
Phew. So that does it for our favorite PS3 moments. Surely you’ve gathered a few of your own in five years — share them below!