Recently, the crew at Penny Arcade have set up a new section called the Penny Arcade Report to give a new take on video games. Ben Kuchera, formerly of Ars Technica, was brought in to head up the PA Report, and Kuchera sat down with Valve's Gabe Newell to discuss a little bit of everything. Kuchera asked Newell, sporting a new beard, about the possibility of Valve making hardware, and Newell responded by saying "if we have to make hardware we will." He knows that Valve has no reason to think it would be any good at making hardware, but if it is necessary to do so in order to continue to have innovation, it will. Newell would rather have the hardware people create it, but acknowledges the possibility exists for Valve to make hardware of its own.
Kuchera then turned the discussion to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 and Left 4 Dead 3, to which Newell says Valve is "acutely aware" of how much it annoys fans by not talking about those games. It sounds like Newell knows all about Valve Time, and would rather not reveal any information on the big projects until he has something solid to give us. The first Half-Life was delivered about a year after Valve said it would be, while Half-Life 2 shipped considerably after its announced launch date. Due to that, Valve has taken the opposite approach and will only reveal information on those games (and potentially more) when it knows it can deliver something soon after. While that may not appease everyone, at least Valve wants to try and only announce a new game when it is good and ready for it.
When asked about the subject of pricing and if Valve thinks it has that figured out, Newell said he does not think so. He believes Valve is still learning about it and what works best for the consumer. Newell also says people are approaching pricing from a "pre-Internet fashion" and have not realized the potential to deliver a better price. When a digital copy of a game costs less on launch day than a physical copy, I think we can declare a win, but until then, something has to change. Newell says free-to-play games should be a wake up call to others in the industry to see how much value customers can create without charging an upfront fee. Newell says F2P games are just one example, but wants the industry to see the value a community can bring instead of determining what price to sell a game at.
Gabe Newell covers plenty more topics in the interview with Ben Kuchera, so head on over to the Penny Arcade Report for the full story.