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E3 2010: Why Valve on the PS3 can change EVERYTHING

First, on the most basic level, Valve will run the patching of Portal 2 themselves, and you can save a bit of hard drive space thanks to the inclusion of the Steam Cloud online storage service. But I’m more interested in how this could expand.

Above: Extra bonus GlaDOS for zero bonus money? Maybe...

First up, it’s entirely probable that Portal 2’s DLC will be free on the PS3, or at least a hell of a lot cheaper than you’d expect it to be. Valve gives away its PC DLC for free as a matter of course, put out as part of its standard game updates. ‘Update’ is standard Valve-speak for anything added to a game, not just patches, and updates were mentioned at the press conference. With Valve running all of that stuff through Steam, there’s a chance Portal 2’s eventual DLC will bypass the PS Store altogether. Of course it all depends on the exact details of the deal struck with Sony, but I can’t imagine Valve would port Steam to a console just to put out a few patches and store a few saves for a single game.

And on that subject, expect more Valve games. If we get a semi-full-fat version of Steam on the PS3, there’s no reason it couldn’t be used as a lower-cost way of putting out more of Valve’s back catalogue via direct download. After all, the PS3 allows users to upgrade their hard drives, so storage space needn’t be a problem. EA currently handles console publishing for Valve, but unless the dev’s non-PS3 back catalogue is part of the contract, Valve could probably bash out the likes of Left 4 Dead or even its earlier Half-Life games on its own, direct through the internet tubes.

Above: Would Left 4 Dead finally make an appearance? Again, maybe...

Again, this will depend on Valve’s deal with Sony regarding the PS Store, but I really don’t think it’s impossible. After all, the positive PR that would come from having the best console versions of Valve’s contemporary work and exclusive, Steam-managed versions of its classic games would surely make up for taking a smaller cut.

Also, Valve puts out free, fan-made game mods through Steam on the PC. As I said earlier, there’s already a precedent for this on the PS3 with Unreal Tournament, so I expect future Steam-enabled PS3 games could easily follow suit. And with the newly-released Mac version of Steam allowing cross-platform multiplayer with PC users via Valve's platform, maybe one day we'll even see that on the PS3 too.

Above: With the PS3'skeyboard and mouse support, you'd be at no disadvantage

Don’t go expecting Steam distribution on the PS3 to expand past Valve’s own games if it does happen. After all, there’s no way Sony is going to let anything replace the PS Store across the board. But if things develop as I think they might – and do remember, this is me enthusiastically thinking out-loud here, with no input from either company involved – Valve gaming could bring some very interesting changes for the PS3 over the coming years. And as a PC and console gamer and a long-time Valve fan, I'll personally welcome with open arms if they happen.

But what do you reckon? Is Steam's presenceon the PS3 a big deal? How much of what I've theorised do you think could happen, and how would you feel about it if you did? Let me know in the comments, or bash out your feelings via our eternally revving community engines onFacebookandTwitter.

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.