Gabe Newell on the "train wreck" of working with Xbox Live

Being both amazing and resolutely independent, Valve is in the fortunate but sadly rare position of being free to say whatever the hell it likes about anything. And it does. Although currently enjoying a great big make-up hug with the PS3, MD Gabe Newell has been no stranger to giving Sony's machine a brutal kicking in the past. But to balance things out a little, he's just fired the phrase "train wreck" at Xbox Live.

Speaking in one of an epic series of interviews currently being prepared for the internets by our busom buddies at (this one covering Valve's self-precieved failings), Gabe blamed the current XBL system for a big chunk of Valve's console-based woes.

Speaking alongside project manager Erick Johnson and marketing director Doug Lombardi, Gabe mentioned Valve's currently happy situation of bundling its own Steamworks game update and maintenance tools with the PS3 version of Portal 2, comparing it to the nightmare Valve has had in trying to deliver the full Team Fortress 2 experience to its Xbox 360 customers.

Erik Johnson: Favourite conversation of ours! PS3, so far. The way we’ve dealt with those customers so far, and the product that they have. And the lack of updates on the 360, for TF2, is also a total failure. Those are the ones that sting the worst because…

Doug Lombardi: There’s actual ramifications.

Erik Johnson: Because it got all the way through to customers. It’s like a bug. If you fix a bug before it ever ships, it’s pretty cheap.

If you ship it and then fix it, it’s really expensive. Those ones are really bad.

Gabe Newell: That’s why we’re really happy with the current situation with the PS3… We’re solving it now in a way that is going to work for our customers, rather than assuming something is going to emerge later that will allow us to fix this.

PC Gamer: Was the mistake on the Xbox side to think that Microsoft would let you update it more often?

Gabe Newell: We thought that there would be something that would emerge, because we figured it was a sort of untenable… Oh yeah, we understand that these are the rules now, but it’s such a train wreck that something will have to change.

Want more? Well there's plenty more. PCG already have the first of their big Valve interviews up, with six more to be added over the next week. The full version of this one joins it at around 4PM today, GMT, and covers a grand old 13 things Valve think they have failed at. Keep checking back at the Valve Week hub page for more. It's all guaranteed to be great.




  • newgames128 - September 12, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    Good for him. Someone's got to call Microsoft out on what a scam Xbox Live is. People who say it's the best must either like wasting money and/or simply don't know any better.
  • FeathersMcgraw - September 10, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    Damm 360 gamers talkin smack about VALVe, be gratefull they touch your gross consoles with their subscription fees and not-free DLC.
  • BurntToShreds - September 10, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    All the updates for TF2 would take up so much memory on the 360 that I highly doubt that most players have any space for it. Gabe needs to -Get Valve back to developing exclusively for the PC -Tell the development teams to get their asses in gear -Stop spending the Episode 3 fund on Big Macs. It's really pathetic that Duke Nukem Forever, a game that's been in development on and off for 13 years, is going to be released before an expansion pack for a set of physics puzzles.
  • jmcgrotty - September 10, 2010 8:44 a.m.

    ANYONE who gets offended about fat joke with this guy need to just go sit in a corner. He's fat and it is fun to joke about. Live with it. It's a societal thing.
  • JakeyBaby - September 10, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    Gabe in a suit?! Dang! He suits up gooooood! lol
  • elpurplemonkey - September 10, 2010 6:57 a.m.

    I love my 360, but Gabe is absolutely correct. We get screwed with L4D and Team Fortress 2 updates so much so that our versions are vastly inferior to the PC, all thanks to Microsoft's system. And jesus guys, are we all 10 years old here? Fat jokes, MS conspiracy theories, Valve conspiracy theories, fuck- grow up.
  • youxue - September 10, 2010 2:32 a.m.

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  • NightCrawler_358 - September 10, 2010 2:11 a.m.

    i just wanted to say something unrelated to the article @Redeater. its spelled LEIA! LEA IS A MANS NAME!! You SCRUFFY NERFHERDER!!! but that was a funny comment. props
  • xerroz - September 10, 2010 1:01 a.m.

    what a fat asshole, fuck off you big fat asss, go eat your moms tits for lunch
  • KaiokenKid - September 10, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    I personaly really like live. I can totaly justify paying for it while I cant really say the same for PS Plus. But yeah, its kinda messed up how closed it is.
  • D0CCON - September 9, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    I guess that Sony paid Valve for getting Portal 2 and then paid extra to have Gabe say this. No, I don't actually feel that way, but after having Sony fanboys constantly bashing MS for paying people off, I couldn't resist. I agree with him. TF2 is not good on 360. It's a shame because if the connection didn't drop out and we were given DLC, it would be an amazing, addicting game. I can easily see that when it isn't lagging or dropping out.
  • QWERTYCommander - September 9, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    Whoah! Where's his neck? reCAPTCHA: vishelin Half-title err... what?
  • Genericide - September 9, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    I never understood the reasoning behind using a $ instead of an S in the word microsoft. Is anyone aware that it makes it hard to consider your opinion objective?
  • Twizinator - September 9, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    lol all of the xbox fanboys are pissed at this dude xD don't get me wrong, I love my Xbox. I don't own a PS3 but that is at least half because I can't afford it.
  • Giinjii - September 9, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    The headline of this article made it sound like Mr. Newell was being a dick, but he didn't seem to be talkin' shit about the three sixty, it justs sounds like the online infrastructure the three sixty has is stressin' him out
  • BonafideMyth - September 9, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    GN does realize that there's give and take from every partnership. Micro$oft has many flaws but Excels(see what I did there)in many areas much like the PS3 and PC. There's no use of expressing your negative feelings all the time, they're apart of life.
  • RebornKusabi - September 9, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    *Insert juvenile fat joke here* Now that that's out of the way, let me just say that as a multi-console owner, I'm really not a big fan of Xbox Live. Sure I pay for it, but what other choice do I have to play online with my friends from work and school? Oh, that's right... I have been playing PC games with them on Steam and playing Demon's Souls and Metal Gear Online on the PS3 with them instead. It's not fanboyism, it's simple facts... no, it's simple opinions and that is what is wrong with most people who crow endlessly about "PS3 fanboys". Please realize that ZERO companies give a shit what you think of them aside from getting your money. Valve MAY be less money-hungry but they're money-hungry nonetheless. For everyone whining about "PS3 fanboys going stir-crazy" in the comments, my advice is this: Grow up.
  • Fiirestorm21 - September 9, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    It makes sense if you think about it. Of course Microsoft and Sony control updates that are made directly through their networks, XBL and PSN respectively. Part of the reason that TF2 has been largely neglected on the 360 is because as Valve mentions Microsoft hasn't let them update the game as they would like, because again, MS controls that. That's what Gabe Newell is referring to with his comments; it's very unfriendly to developers, especially those that aren't in bed with Microsoft already. I mean, come on, when has Microsoft ever had a reputation for being developer friendly? This isn't exactly earth-shattering. I'd bet that if it wasn't for Gabe's ultra-blunt PR style it wouldn't even have been news, really. Also, Valve is more favorable to the PS3 now not because of any kind of bias or because Sony paid them money, they're favorable towards it now because they're allowed on the PS3 to put their own update system in that circumvents PSN, which means they don't need Sony's permission to do everything like they do Microsoft's on the 360. As someone else said, Valve's previous animosity towards the PS3 was how Sony created a powerful but arguably too complex system architecture. That's hardware, and hardware is a separate issue from online services. And apparently, when you consider it from an online services standpoint, Valve thinks Sony has a better system, at least in the sense that it's more developer-friendly. Just like I said to all the PS3 fanboys going stir-crazy against Valve before E3 this year, it's not personal, it's not like Valve has this secret evil conspiracy going on with the console manufacturer that you don't like. It's just business.
  • NotBraze - September 9, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    While the 360 is my preferred console, I have to admit that Microsoft's money grubbing nature still bleeds through onto the 360 in a way that irritates me to no end. Now that Steam is finally on Mac I can see why everyone treats it like a gift from God, it's a shining example of how you should handle online gaming services. Xbox LIVE, while by far the best online service for consoles, is brought down by the greedy nature o Microsoft, if they have a lick of sense they'll try to strike a deal with Valve to get Steam on the 360 as well as the PS3.
  • PaulieWaulie - September 9, 2010 5:48 p.m.

    I didn't realise that Peter Griffin worked for Valve. ReCaptcha - Fat Bastard Not really ;)

Showing 1-20 of 38 comments

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