The Xbox Series X and PS5 have a lot going for them, but both consoles are still missing out on a crucial feature PC gamers have been enjoying for year — access to the Steam game distribution platform. But that could be changing.
Speaking at a public panel in New Zealand, Valve CEO Gabe Newell confirmed Steam could end up on consoles at some point in the future. The only question is when it might be, and what form it will take.
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This news came from a Reddit post which has since been deleted, from an account which has also been deleted. With an archived version of that thread not revealing any additional details, take this news with a big dose of scepticism.
In any case, when asked about the prospect of Steam on consoles, Newell reportedly said, “You will have a better idea of that by the end of the year.” Which is mysterious, but also suggests that some sort of announcement will be happening at some point over the next six to seven months.
The only question is, what would Steam for consoles look like? Presumably we’d not be getting the full digital store, since Steam deals in PC games and doesn’t cater to consoles. You also have to consider the fact Microsoft and Sony have locked their systems down pretty tightly, and aren’t likely to allow a competing service to eat into their revenue by choice.
My guess would be that Steam on a console would be limited to the platform’s many social features. Steam has long offered chat, voice chat, friends lists, and all sorts of other things you’d expect from other social gaming apps. Discord may get most of the attention, but Steam can do a lot of the same things.
Some of those features have already made it to consoles in the past. Portal 2 launched on PS3 alongside Steamworks, which allowed for some cross-device integration including cloud saves , cross-platform play, and instant messaging. Microsoft didn’t get on board at the time, but there’s no reason why Valve couldn’t organise this sort of deal for next-gen devices.
So we’ll have to see how this all pans out over the coming months. At the very least we hope this means that there will be better links between PC and console gamers, particularly given how large and popular Steam actually is.
In the meantime I’m just going to sit and wait, hoping that Valve decides to port Half Life: Alyx to PSVR sooner rather than later.
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