Inside Pulse 12

Valve Lists Portal 2 Goodies: Cross-Platform Play, Steam Play For PS3 Buyers

Valve has announced that the PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2 will have two huge additions.

The first big deal is that Portal 2 will be the first PS3 game to use Steam on the system. In practise, this means that PS3 gamers can play across platforms with gamers using the PC and Mac OS/X versions, and any saves from one system will be compatible with the others, all utilizing Valve’s cloud-based storage. Secondly, it was announced that gamers who buy the PS3 version of the game will also receive a code for a free Steam download for the game, effectively extending SteamPlay to the PlayStation 3 as well. All gamers will have to do is link up their PSN and Steam accounts.

Josh Weier, project lead for Portal 2, explained how the system works:

“We designed the Portal 2 PS3 experience to be very straightforward for gamers… PS3 gamers will be able to simply drop the Blu-Ray disc in the PS3, link to their Steam account from inside the game, and all their Steam friends (on PC and Mac) will be visible and accessible for chat and game invites.”

None of this will apply to the Xbox 360 version. All versions of the game are due out on April 21st.

Frankly, I don’t even know why Valve is bothering with the Xbox 360. The console port of the Orange Box has been effectively made useless due to a combination of Microsoft’s ridiculous update policy and Valve’s subsequently telling them to go forth and multiply. At this point, with what they’re doing on the other platforms, Valve might as well call the 360 version Portal 1 1/2, because it won’t be the full experience. If you’re a 360 owner and you’re not happy about this, you really only have Microsoft to blame for their insistence on locking down Xbox Live and taking all of that revenue for themselves. It’s why you’re not getting MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV (ignore that the game sucks, because it’s a larger issue with MMOs), and it’s routinely turning off developers who want to try something different, like Valve. Really, the only people who can be happy with them at this point are Call of Duty fans, because they get map packs early. Everyone else should really consider this before dropping another $60 for a year of Live.

As for the game itself, this is tremendous technology. To make this make sense, imagine if, as a kid, you were able to play NHL ’94 or Earthworm Jim with the second player being connected over the internet, on their Super Nintendo while you play on a Genesis. That only begins to explain the technology going on here. This isn’t just cross-platform play, this is cross-platform play between consoles and PCs. If a console developer started supporting mouse-and-keyboard play, the second to last advantage for PC gaming (behind the ability to install mods) would fall. This is a huge deal, and as the technology matures, I can only see good things coming from this.

The full press release is below the cut.

PORTAL 2 PLAYSTATION 3 STEAM FEATURES REVEALED

January 18, 2011 — Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the Steam features shipping with the PlayStation 3 (PS3) version of Portal 2.

Marking the debut of Steam functioning on any next generation console, the features shipping in the PS3 version of Portal 2 include cross platform play (PC/Mac vs. PS3) for multiplayer games, persistent cloud-based storage of PS3 saved games, and cross platform chat (PC/Mac and PS3).

In addition, those who purchase Portal 2 for the PlayStation 3 may unlock a Steam Play (PC & Mac) copy of Portal 2 at no additional cost by linking their PSN and Steam accounts.

“We made a promise to gamers at E3 that Portal 2 for the PlayStation 3 would be the best console version of the product,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “Working together with Sony we have identified a set of features we believe are very compelling to gamers. We hope to expand upon the foundation being laid in Portal 2 with more Steam features and functionality in DLC and future content releases.”

“We designed the Portal 2 PS3 experience to be very straightforward for gamers,” said Josh Weier, project lead on Portal 2 at Valve. “PS3 gamers will be able to simply drop the Blu-Ray disc in the PS3, link to their Steam account from inside the game, and all their Steam friends (on PC and Mac) will be visible and accessible for chat and game invites.”

These features are made possible thru the use of Steam, Valve’s platform for the delivery and management of games and digital content.

Portal 2 is due for release on the PlayStation 3, PC, Mac and Xbox 360 this April.

For more information, please visit www.thinkingwithportals.com

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