Google May Eat Valve

Aron Schatz
September 17, 2008

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Google may be purchasing Valve (the game maker) primarily for its Steam DRM distribution system. Google is starting to branch out into all kinds of different areas. Maybe Google will start bringing more Linux games out natively, but I doubt it.


That rationale makes some sense to me as well, in part because getting into the video game business in and of itself doesn't sound terribly well aligned with Google's mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Steam is an online foundation for selling and distributing games, updating patches, enabling multiplayer online chat, and using digital rights management to control who has permission to use elements like game versions or game terrain. While a lot of that is specific to games today, I see no reason why it might not apply more broadly. Google, of course, likes to be the clearinghouse for online activity, and this could add some expertise. Steam Powered shows 448 games available now, and in February, Valve said Steam had 15 million account holders. But this is the more telling statistic: During peak hours, online activity crests at about 1.2 million users every day. That's clearly a lot of activity.


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