It totally has to do with EGS and Stadia. They need a big PR piece to keep the mindshare with gaming crowd, otherwise EGS and Stadia is going to start drawing away users.
No, it really
doesn't. Superjawes has your number, sorry.
Stadia didn't get serious until a year ago, and the concept isn't anything new: OnLive died
in 2015. Playstation Now launched around the same time.
EGS also launched less than a year ago, and while they are obviously competing with Valve, it is *EPIC* that is desperate for mindshare. They're the ones handing out free games left and right (I have like 30 now, maybe even more, and I've bought exactly *one* game on the platform), buying exclusives (thereby enraging
huge swathes of the gamer crowd---including me [I'm just more mercenary and I wanted to play Control]) -despite- how Epic offers a much better cut to publishers.
If Valve was worried, the solution isn't VR titles (I mean, seriously? The genre is niche), but dropping their rate (which they have already done, at least for AAA publishers...)
MEANWHILE, this new Valve game is blatantly a showcase for Valve's VR equipment (and its "grippable" controllers) and has been in development "Valve Time" for at least THREE years (they announced three "full game" VR titles back then).
Valve wants to advance the art again. That's what this is about. That's what they've said this about. They've even openly admitted it just might not really work (that is, VR just can't be made into a new paradigm and not a gimmick--that it'll never really be mainstream).
This isn't a short-term competitive business decision. At all. If they were worried about the marketplace and thought that a new exclusive would help with "PR" (which, by the way, they wouldn't even remotely because that makes zero strategic sense[to the point of a business non sequitor, actually], as everyone already has steam...
) we'd get portal 3 or episode 3 or whatever.