UPDATED: Could Google purchase Valve?

A rather strange rumor has popped up on the web this morning. The Inquirer’s Charlie Demerjian claims to have it on good authority that Google is just about to announce a buyout of Valve.

As Charlie points out, you don’t have to think very hard about Google’s potential motives for a deal like that. Valve owns what’s likely the biggest game distribution service out there—Steam—and it has deals with third-party game studios and publishers from Activision and EA to id Software and Rockstar Games. Slap a Google logo and pin a few ads on Steam, and Google could make (even more) millions.

With that said, Charlie doesn’t justify the deal from Valve’s perspective beyond saying, "It’s a good thing for Valve." Is it really? Valve has become rather big lately, and like many independent game developers, it may want to retain the status quo. Would Gabe Newell really want Eric Schmidt peering over his shoulder to check on Half-Life 2: Episode 3‘s progress? That seems doubtful, especially considering how well Valve is doing on its own.

Some sort of deal—not necessarily a full-out merger—might make sense, though. We’ve heard plenty of talk about Google’s plans to kick off an in-game advertising scheme, and Valve could be the perfect business partner for such a venture. (Thanks to TR reader Tom for the link.)

Update: Valve’s Doug Lombardi has told the MTV Multiplayer blog the Inq’s story is a "complete fabrication." Lombardi went on to specify that Google is in fact not buying Valve.

Comments closed
    • kilkennycat
    • 11 years ago

    Cyril, it is about time that you gave up replicating Inq stories and got down to more direct investigative journalism. Many, many apologies for being this critical, but as a regular reader of Tech Report for many years, I know that you and the TR staff can be well above all this gutter-grubbing.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      What, ya think TR has a crack team of investigative reporters in fedoras and trenchcoast spinning clever phrases like /[<"Dont' crack wise with me, skipper! I need details, I need them now, and I have a green tinted Lincoln that says you're the man to spill the beans. Now level with me and you'll stash the cash -- what did the little bird say about Valve, and when did he say it?"<]/ The purpose of a news aggregator is to find the interesting stories and then compile them so that you, the reader, don't have to chase them all down yourself. If you want something a little closer to direct reporting, then you might try...uhm...reading The Inquirer?

    • PetMiceRnice
    • 11 years ago

    I hope Google does not do this, I don’t want them to become the next borg.

    • Shinare
    • 11 years ago

    r[

    • kilkennycat
    • 11 years ago

    The deal fell through because Gabe nixed it. They don’t have McDonald’s hamburgers in the Google cafeterias……

    • KamikaseRider
    • 11 years ago

    If there’s a God somewhere and he likes gamers, He will not let this happen.

    • gargar
    • 11 years ago

    physical media should die. period.

    there’s no excuse to fill the world in garbage. we make enough garbage as it is.

    i can’t remember when was the last time i bought a game from store. 100% of the games i bought in the last 3 years were from Steam and i am very happy with that. being able to play everything i got whenever i want and wherever i go is very fun. i can share my games with friends (i played all HL games with two different friends, it was fun as hell) and doesn’t have to pollute the world on the way.

      • =assassin=
      • 11 years ago

      That’s fine if you’re rich and can afford a very fast connection with a huge amount of bandwidth, but it’s also completely ridiculous to think everyone else can have that, and would even want to buy games this way. Physical media should not die at all for this reason. I shouldn’t have to re-download a huge amount of files every time I want to reinstall a game, and to suggest such a thing is also a silly waste of bandwidth as well. You also start going on about garbage being created – why? Do you throw your games and boxes away in the bin all the time – are you that rich you can do that? Most people would either keep their disks/boxes or sell them on if they didn’t want them. I think you’re living in your own little imaginary world, but in real life, digital downloads do not work for the majority of people, and to start using “garbage” as a way of backing up your statement just doesn’t make any sense.

        • gargar
        • 11 years ago

        no need to download “every time” you want to install. you are free to burn yourself a copy (or 10) steam will also help you split the files to whatever size you want. +you won’t have to deal with crappy DRM which forbid you from playing with your legit backup (95% of the recent releases do this)

        no need for very fast connection. i got a simple 1.5Mb download which isn’t considered fast really. yes, i wait a day or two to get a game but i’m not in a hurry. i can also download another game if i want while i play. or just leave my connection 24/7. it cost the same anyway (monthly fee)

        i don’t throw my games and boxes because i don’t have none. i don’t have consoles either for that reason. all my current games are from steam.

        most people don’t sell games. feel free to brows Ebay. you won’t find many used games. especially not recent releases. the only people who use that not being able to sell games with steam don’t sell games anyway.

          • clone
          • 11 years ago

          I despise downloading, it’s an eventuality but personally I’ll miss the day when I can’t buy a physical copy of a game, I keep them all lined up on my shelves as a testament to how much free time I’ve wasted.

          I also keep them to replay them on old systems…. I just finished Mechwarrior 2 the Titanium trilogy for like the 15th time….. it’s starting to look a little old graphically though I’ll admit….. heh.

        • BenBasson
        • 11 years ago

        Worst reply ever. The cost of broadband is falling continuously and availability is going up. Physical media is on the way out sooner or later, arguments to the contrary are short-sighted.

        Last time I installed a game on Steam, it took about the same time as it takes to install from a DVD, plus it was prompt-less and I didn’t have to insert any media, codes or choose an installation directory. DVDs don’t have to be inserted to play the game. I can buy games and play them the same day without leaving my house or waiting for a delivery. If this isn’t the future of gaming, I don’t know what is.

          • clone
          • 11 years ago

          their will always be physical media if their is a market for it.

          any thoughts to the contrary are shortsighted….. the market will find it’s own balance although I do agree physical may likely go the way of the dyno.

            • BenBasson
            • 11 years ago

            What possible market will there be for it? Where is the added value from having a physical thing when what’s being sold is an experience?

            Physical media sales for music are dropping every year. Games are bigger downloads, but it’s only a matter of time before the download time, bandwidth costs and storage become as negligible, a lot of people in a lot of countries are already there. At that point of ubiquity, what possible benefits are there to physical media?

            Couple this with the fact that games are increasingly online experiences, with at least online play for longevity, if their entire premise isn’t based around it to start with.

            • poulpy
            • 11 years ago

            One thing you shouldn’t neglect is that a lot of people are attached to the physical aspect of things and won’t switch to digital downloads for that reason. They just enjoy storing the boxes, bringing them to a friend’s, opening them, reading the paper manuals, manipulating the media, etc.. That’s the whole “owning” experience.

            The fact that physical media sales are declining and internet downloads are eating part of their pie doesn’t mean one has to die for the other to exist, it merely means that there is a re-balance of the market because of a new comer.

            On top of loving the physical media part, lots of people just don’t want to send their personal/bank details anywhere, don’t want to get screwed by a company suddenly stopping a service, because they want to offer something to someone that’s more than a serial number, or even have a download cap they don’t want to bust..

            When it’s well done I’m not against digital downloads and use them once in a while but I wouldn’t bury the physical media business just yet.

            Edit: physical books didn’t die because you can read them online and/or print them at home

      • PetMiceRnice
      • 11 years ago

      What works for you may not work for everyone else. I prefer to actually go to the store and buy my games. Also I don’t want to have to go through DRM to be able to play or update my games either. I want to be able to download patches as files and be able to archive them.

      The day that services like Steam completely take over the PC gaming landscape is the day I no longer play games on the PC. Period.

        • gargar
        • 11 years ago

        instead you go through DRM when you insert the disk and end up with Mass Effect limiting you to three installs only. this is not the way to go.

        steam DRM (at least when it comes to Valve games) isn’t intrusive. in fact, it doesn’t exist. steam itself is the DRM. the games are tied into it and no one is dumb enough to try and pirate games into their steam client because they may lose their account.

        this means that there’s no need for DRM in services like steam. Valve proved this with 4 million Half Life 2 sales by the end of 2005 and who know how much now.

    • flomp83
    • 11 years ago

    What a surprise. The Inq posts another false story

      • Mystic-G
      • 11 years ago

      It’s sad that Techreport actually posts their stuff.

        • cobrala
        • 11 years ago

        The majority of these sites merely regurgitate everyone else’s RSS feeds and slap a twist here and there to make it look like ‘reporting’. Nothing exclusive to TTR

        • Thresher
        • 11 years ago

        Oh grow up. All they did was report on the rumor, including skeptical remarks regarding its veracity. They didn’t report it as fact.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 11 years ago

      *gasp*

      A news source called the /[

    • Klopsik206
    • 11 years ago

    Do I recall correctly Google was experimenting with inserting ads straight to game content? In such case buying Valve is logical thing to do.

    • IntelMole
    • 11 years ago

    I guess that means that Half Life 3 will be released as a beta.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    That would explain the rumors over the last six months or so that Valve is researching Linux and/or OSX ports. Google likes coverage.

    • yogibbear
    • 11 years ago

    Not going to happen. Ever.

    Deal… maybe… but i won’t like it if they put ads on steam for google.

      • BKA
      • 11 years ago

      Never say ever. Anything can happen.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      Why wouldn’t it ever happen? I see it as a fantastic fitg{<.<}g

    • tejas84
    • 11 years ago

    Charlie Demerjian is an idiot and I cannot believe that anyones takes that fool seriously. He has an irrational hatred of Nvidia which I really don’t understand.

    Don’t get me wrong, since I am an ATI man( since 9800pro days) and purchased a 4870 yesterday, you would expect me to deride Nvidia. However nothing could be further from the truth as I respect that company very much.

    As for Valve I hope they stay independent, but if they had to be bought then I would rather Google did it, than Microsoft or EA.

    • Mystic-G
    • 11 years ago

    Google’s idea of gaming would be to hire a team of graphic artists then to have them put advertisements on the loading screen, walls, dirt, sky, bullets, and HUD

      • bogbox
      • 11 years ago

      But then the games are free . No problem for me.

        • Mystic-G
        • 11 years ago

        Who ever said free? They could make money from the consumer and the sponsors.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        Excuse me?

    • Joerdgs
    • 11 years ago

    You know, I just recently saw a thread about this on the Garry’s Mod (HL2 sandbox mod) forum. Maybe an Inquirer journalist took it for real… wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Thresher
    • 11 years ago

    I think this makes a lot of sense. Digital distribution, like it or not, is the way software SHOULD be sold. The expense reduction alone would make it worthwhile, no more shipping boxes filled with mostly air. DRM is integrated right into the client and is unobtrusive.

    I was a Steam nay-sayer, but the more I’ve used it, the more I like it.

      • BKA
      • 11 years ago

      Physical media will always be my top choice.

        • PerfectCr
        • 11 years ago

        Until you lose it.

          • BKA
          • 11 years ago

          Then I would use my backup. Thanks for the reminder.

            • PerfectCr
            • 11 years ago

            And if you lose that or the backup becomes corrupted?

            • poulpy
            • 11 years ago

            Then you use the other backup you sent to a friend back then just -err- in case 🙂

            • BKA
            • 11 years ago

            Hasn’t happened yet. And I own a lot of PC games dating back to the early 90’s. Still have all the boxes and manuals. Makes a nice wall in the basement. Physical media will always be my first choice until the price is cheaper for online distribution. Before anybody explains it, I’m aware of the resons retail and online are the same price.

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            Let him have his medium. IIRC, the Amish are still doing fine with horses. The two can exist in perpetuity, but as anyone who has gone in a software store in the past few years can attest, PC software on the shelf at retail is getting smaller and smallerg{<.<}g

            • BKA
            • 11 years ago

            The only store I notice that at is EBgames/Gamestop. Every Best Buy and Circuit City I shop at has at least two isles of PC gaming software. So how long before this old technology of physical media will go away? NEVER. What major game release has been released as online distribution only? NONE There will always be a market for it. Just like DVD/Blu Ray movies, people keep saying its going the way of online distribution. I guess those are shrinking at the store also huh? To each his own.

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            /[

            • adam1378
            • 11 years ago

            Online distribution is a beautiful thing. The real problem is bandwidth providers like Communist, i mean Comcast capping bandwidth usage. I dont see it meshing well together. Isn’t that why we all hate AOL?

            • srg86
            • 11 years ago

            Still, you’ve got to keep it on something, it’s not going to be available online forever. So backing it up (in case it becomes unavailable) brings you back to physical media.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      May you rot in a special place in hell.

        • Thresher
        • 11 years ago

        I take it you do not concur?

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    Getting tips from the Inquirer is like getting your facts from Weekly World News.

    I can’t believe that TR deigned it necessary to link to their tripe.

      • davidedney123
      • 11 years ago

      Amen, brother!

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    I think it’s more likely that Google will just buy Steam from Valve, as opposed to the entire company.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t get why Valve would sell it.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 years ago

        Everyone has their price. Plus google’s got the server’s and bandwidth and content distribution system. Maybe they could expand into more international markets?

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          Except that selling Steam would be tantamount to selling the company. Valve isn’t exactly rolling out new game engines and content these days; their revenue pretty much has to be coming from the content distribution deals they’ve been inking.

          I can easily see Valve signing a “close business partnership” with Google to fully integrate Steam and Steam titles into Google’s massive advertising network (70% of the entire online ad market, last time I heard a figure). I can’t see them selling off Steam unless the rest of the company goes with it.

    • PerfectCr
    • 11 years ago

    l[

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      Put enough money in front of Valve and they won’t say no. Valve is privately held, it’s all about the giant check in front of their faces.

      To be fair, Valve has A LOT of room to grow Steam. Can they do it with their current resources? Maybe. Could Google grow Steam? MOST DEF.

    • Jigar
    • 11 years ago

    It was me… 🙁

    • cegras
    • 11 years ago

    I was already extremely annoyed when I found “Subway, Eat Fresh!” ads and “Rogers home phone” ads on billboards while I was playing Enemy Territory Quake Wars.

    I don’t want to see shit like that slathered all over other multiplayer games in the future.

    • Price0331
    • 11 years ago

    I wouldn’t exactly count the inquirer as a reputable source,,

      • Jigar
      • 11 years ago

      Charlie has been going good guns this days … he can’t be ignored.

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