(EDIT: Apparently, Google are not buying Valve, but I’m suspicious. Both companies seem to have been fairly evasive, with Valve’s “This is 100% rumour” not being a flat out denial, and Google refusing to nix the speculation. Nicholas Lovell reinforces the quote from Kim Pallister below: Content doesn’t make much sense for Google, but Steam really does. It’s possible that early talks for the acquisition of Steam have mutated into an uncontrolled rumour about buying Valve. This would explain just why the rumour has bitten so hard, with at least one news editor I know stating their sources are certain something is, or was, going on).
It seems Google might be entering videogames in a bolder way than anyone expected.
I don’t think believe the content publishing business – where specifically I mean publishing to mean “the business of funding and otherwise aiding the production and bringing to market of content” – is something that fits within Google’s DNA.
Kim often has pretty good analysis on his blog, and I found this convincing, but the Inquirer reports that Google is set to acquire Valve. Within hours it’s been linked to by MCV, Develop, EDGE, Rock Paper Shotgun, and C&VG among others. This rumour is biting hard because it’s surprising yet makes sense. The official line from Google is a highly suspicious, or improbably mischievous, “no comment“.
Of all the buys Google could make, as one of the few developers big enough and forward looking enough, Valve are a good fit for them. In the long run, Google ownership of Valve, and more specifically Steam, could be a massive factor in prying PC gaming dominance away from Windows, and integrating AdSense with more than just casual or web games.
(CC image by Don Solo)