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Apple CEO Tim Cook spotted at video game designer Valve's headquarters

post #1 of 110
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Apple's chief executive Tim Cook reportedly visited the Bellevue, Washington headquarters of Valve Corporation earlier today, inciting questions about new potential for collaboration between the two companies.

Valve, created by two former Microsoft employees in the mid 90s, has grown into a major video games developer and maintains the Steam gaming platform, which distributes over 1,400 games to an audience of over 30 million active users.

Steam works similar to Apple's iOS App Store within iTunes, providing a market for PC video game titles and a mechanism for automatically delivering the latest software updates to players.




After months of rumors that suggested Valve would begin supporting Mac users in Steam, in early 2010 the company announced it would bring a series of its own video games, including Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2, to the Mac platform for the first time. It also announced it would simultaneously release Portal 2 for the Mac and Windows that winter.

At the time, John Cook, the director of Steam development at Valve, stated that Apple had "been a great partner so far and we look forward to growing our relationship with them over time."

Apple's big turn around in gaming

The shift was particularly significant because less than three years earlier, in late 2007, Steam co-founder Gabe Newell had publicly complained that Apple simply didn't get gaming.

"We have this pattern with Apple," Newell said in an interview, "where we meet with them, people there go 'wow, gaming is incredibly important, we should do something with gaming,' and then we'll say, 'OK, here are three things you could do to make that better,' and then they say OK, and then we never see them again.

"And then a year later, a new group of people show up, who apparently have no idea that the last group of people were there, and never follow through on anything. So, they seem to think that they want to do gaming, but there's never any follow through on any of the things they say they're going to do."

Newell added at the time that video games are "one of the biggest things holding them back in the consumer space. If you look at a Macintosh right now, it does a lot of things really well compared to a Vista PC, but there are no games. Why, I don't know. If I were a Macintosh product manager, it would be pretty high on my list."

iOS and Game Center

Apple's seemingly indifferent stance on gaming appeared to change rapidly following the release of iPhone and the new iPod touch in 2007, and in particular after the release of the App Store in early 2008.

Games became a major focus for iOS developers and accounted for a large percentage of the software Apple's new App Store began selling, threatening the business of entrenched gaming companies including Sony and Nintendo.




Apple has since added gaming-centric features to its hardware and to iOS, including Game Center. The company has since announced plans to bring Game Center to the Mac in this summer's OS X Mountain Lion.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 110
Tim Cook at Valve?

Huh.
post #3 of 110
With all the rumors of Valve making their own console, this could be very interesting if true.
post #4 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook reportedly visited the Bellevue, Washington headquarters of Valve Corporation earlier today, inciting questions about new potential for collaboration between the two companies.

Collaboration, possibly. Purchase? Unlikely I suppose but a lot more interesting.

-kpluck

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post #5 of 110
I like STEAM. I signed up as soon as it was released for Mac, and I've managed to get many Mac games for a pretty reasonable price. I also like the fact that you basically own the games for life, and your entire library will always live on the cloud, no matter which machine you use.

Tim Cook being spotted at Valve's HQ can only be seen as a good thing.
post #6 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeyestar View Post

With all the rumors of Valve making their own console, this could be very interesting if true.

Apple produced hardware...
post #7 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's chief executive Tim Cook reportedly visited the Bellevue, Washington headquarters of Valve Corporation earlier today, inciting questions about new potential for collaboration between the two companies.

inciting? really? is that the best word you professional journalists could come up with? hardly relevant in this context.
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appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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post #8 of 110
That's good. Did he stop by T-mobile HQ too?
post #9 of 110
Could it be that Valve is looking at Apple as a partner for their SteamBox hardware? That would be freaking amazing, an Apple-built box with first-class support from Valve and Steam. It could actually get me interested in PC-gaming again, after years of just consoles. I gave up on PC gaming because I got fed up of building and upgrading my ugly big PC towers, that almost continually seemed to lag behind what the games required. That, and the awful experience of having to dick around with Windows, drivers, installers, etc.

Imagine a box like the Mac Mini, fast enough to run current games, using a hardware profile that developers can target, and (say) a 2 or 3 year upgrade cycle, that can also be used as a fully capable OS X machine. The hardware is not the problem, but the support from developers, and Valve could make that happen.
post #10 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

Could it be that Valve is looking at Apple as a partner for their SteamBox hardware? That would be freaking amazing, an Apple-built box with first-class support from Valve and Steam. It could actually get me interested in PC-gaming again, after years of just consoles. I gave up on PC gaming because I got fed up of building and upgrading my ugly big PC towers, that almost continually seemed to lag behind what the games required. That, and the awful experience of having to dick around with Windows, drivers, installers, etc.

Imagine a box like the Mac Mini, fast enough to run current games, using a hardware profile that developers can target, and (say) a 2 or 3 year upgrade cycle, that can also be used as a fully capable OS X machine. The hardware is not the problem, but the support from developers, and Valve could make that happen.

Not going to happen unless Cook and company has been really working hard on a tool set that can rival Direct X...
post #11 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Apple produced hardware...

The 3 things I'd buy if they existed:

Apple television
7" iPad Nano
Apple game console, integrated into the TV would be even better
post #12 of 110
As much as I would love an Apple-made Steam-box, I wouldn't hold my breath. I could see them trying to integrate consoles better into their AppleTV plans. Maybe that's what this is about.
post #13 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tim Cook at Valve?

Huh.

Yeah, somehow they stretched it into a whole article. Well written recap of the players, but nonetheless a bit thin on "what's new?" other than Tim Cook being spotted somewhere OMG what does it mean???

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #14 of 110
Gaming played big part in pushing iOS. Now that Game Center is coming to OS X it makes sense for improved Mac App Store for Games. Apple's best bet is to go after someone with experience in gaming and buy them. We don't want what happened with Bungie to happens again.
post #15 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Not going to happen unless Cook and company has been really working hard on a tool set that can rival Direct X...

OpenGL can already rival DirectX, especially if you have full control over the hardware specifications. In terms of capabilities, OpenGL + vendor extensions = just as powerful as DirectX.

Did you know the PS3 runs OpenGL?
post #16 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Not going to happen unless Cook and company has been really working hard on a tool set that can rival Direct X...

Are you actually talking about DirectX, or Direct3D? And, in particular, the desktop version or Direct3D Mobile and comparing that against OpenGL, or OpenGL ES?

To summarize, Apple's doing perfectly fine with OpenGL ES (especially 2.0 which adds much more flexible shader pipelines) compared to DirectX Mobile, and the rest of DirectX (video, etc) Apple's way ahead on. As for the desktop versions, as long as you're not on a Windows kernel they're pretty comparable. Microsoft hobbles OpenGL on Windows by keeping the necessary OpenGL support out of the kernel leading to excessive context switching and thus worse OpenGL support. This should be considered a deficiency of Windows, not of OpenGL.
post #17 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I like STEAM. I signed up as soon as it was released for Mac, and I've managed to get many Mac games for a pretty reasonable price. I also like the fact that you basically own the games for life, and your entire library will always live on the cloud, no matter which machine you use.

Tim Cook being spotted at Valve's HQ can only be seen as a good thing.

I also think highly of Steam. It works. EA should really stop trying to compete with it.
Game Center is a bit of an unknown. (Incidentally, Games for Windows is completely dysfunctional and constantly updating itself when all you want to do is play a game, intruding into user experience, something that Microsoft has loads of experience at fucking up.) Interestingly, when a CEO goes to visit another, its usually because he wants something. Whatever Tim Cook's business is at Valve, I hope it means good things for Mac and iOS.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #18 of 110
Apple has shifted their focus, to iOS gaming. macintosh desktop gaming is still sub part. Lion pushed opengl 3.2 as a sub feature, barely even mentioning it at all, and highlighted a bunch of features relevent to a mobile platform instead. Even then, 3.2 was about 2 years too late to end user. Even with 10.8, no 4.x is in sight. They aren't working very well with ati and nvidia either in bringing the latest hardware to us sooner, instead of having to settle for a 2 generation old card still being sold at a premium price when it is flat out obsolete (5870). Mac pros that haven't been updated since 2010, about the only true hardware for a high end gamer. Apple has not turned their feelings around even remotely. What's 10.8's most promising feature for gaming? Gaming center? more apis that mean more to mobile gaming like a macbook pro or air, then an actual desktop gamer would care about. But no modern advances to the things that actually IMPROVE our gaming hardware or even software performance in sight. Companies like blizzard and steam and the like spend more time trying to make their games work at all then they do making them work smooth. It's no secret a mac boote into boot camp running same game will run it a ton better there then in OS X, there is a reason for that, and it's because windows platform actually has real gaming focus and not "oh look, you'll get to play angry birds with friends in 10.8 on gaming center"
post #19 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tim Cook at Valve?

Huh.

Well, he would be really high on my CEO list if he did two things related to gaming:

- Buy Steam and ensure porting of every Valve game to Macs;

- buy Bungie and make us all enjoy Marathon for Lion!

iMac Intel 27" Core i7 3.4, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD + 1TB HD + 4TB RAID 1+0, Nuforce Icon HDP, OS X 10.10.1; iPad Air 64GB; iPhone 5 32GB; iPod Classic; iPod Nano 4G; Apple TV 2.

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iMac Intel 27" Core i7 3.4, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD + 1TB HD + 4TB RAID 1+0, Nuforce Icon HDP, OS X 10.10.1; iPad Air 64GB; iPhone 5 32GB; iPod Classic; iPod Nano 4G; Apple TV 2.

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post #20 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalOS View Post

instead of having to settle for a 2 generation old card still being sold at a premium price when it is flat out obsolete (5870).

You can't use that as evidence.

Quote:
Mac pros about the only true hardware for a high end gamer.

No, that's not true at all.

Quote:
But no modern advances to the things that actually IMPROVE our gaming hardware or even software performance in sight.

Li~ke what?

Quote:
Companies like blizzard and steam and the like spend more time trying to make their games work at all then they do making them work smooth.

No, companies take the lazy way out and make idiotic Cider ports instead of native software and then whine when it doesn't work.

Quote:
It's no secret a mac boote into boot camp running same game will run it a ton better there then in OS X

Secret to me. OS overhead is marginal at beset.

Quote:
there is a reason for that, and it's because windows platform actually has real gaming focus

No, not in the slightest. That's not the reason.
post #21 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

OpenGL can already rival DirectX, especially if you have full control over the hardware specifications. In terms of capabilities, OpenGL + vendor extensions = just as powerful as DirectX.

Did you know the PS3 runs OpenGL?

I don't disagree, but I think the OP was referring to the entire DX code stack, which was originally designed to abstract away all access to the PC hardware. Audio, input controllers, video display devices were hidden behind DirectX, not only making games work on different generations of PC hardware, but the Xbox as well. OpenGL really ony deals with a subset of graphics programming: 3D rendering. However, Apple has done a pretty good job adding gaming APIs into iOS to complement the non-3D graphics hardware access provided by OpenGL, so in the end, what he's wishing for probably already exists, without a name like DirectX to draw attention to itself

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #22 of 110
Sony and Nintendo are screwed.
post #23 of 110
In the end Apples #1 problem is GPU drivers. In this regard they could use some improvements, doing so would attract more gamers.
post #24 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticalOS View Post

Apple has shifted their focus, to iOS gaming. macintosh desktop gaming is still sub part. Lion pushed opengl 3.2 as a sub feature, barely even mentioning it at all, and highlighted a bunch of features relevent to a mobile platform instead. Even then, 3.2 was about 2 years too late to end user. Even with 10.8, no 4.x is in sight. They aren't working very well with ati and nvidia either in bringing the latest hardware to us sooner, instead of having to settle for a 2 generation old card still being sold at a premium price when it is flat out obsolete (5870). Mac pros that haven't been updated since 2010, about the only true hardware for a high end gamer. Apple has not turned their feelings around even remotely. What's 10.8's most promising feature for gaming? Gaming center? more apis that mean more to mobile gaming like a macbook pro or air, then an actual desktop gamer would care about. But no modern advances to the things that actually IMPROVE our gaming hardware or even software performance in sight. Companies like blizzard and steam and the like spend more time trying to make their games work at all then they do making them work smooth. It's no secret a mac boote into boot camp running same game will run it a ton better there then in OS X, there is a reason for that, and it's because windows platform actually has real gaming focus and not "oh look, you'll get to play angry birds with friends in 10.8 on gaming center"

You would assume that if Apple was to team up with Valve in any kind of way, to create some kind of non-mobile gaming platform, they would make sure both the hardware and the software side will be covered. Macs have never been a good choice for gaming, for the simple fact that they have always been designed with other desirable properties in mind. Small, silent, beautiful. Just because it has always been like this, it doesn't mean Apple could not build something that could work well as a gaming platform. It doesn't take years of R&D to improve OpenGL drivers, or to design a box with a GPU fast enough for serious gaming at 1080p. The iPad and iPhone have shown that Apple is not oblivious to gaming, since they have had very capable graphics hardware since the 4S, much more than you would need just to run the iOS UI.

You don't need to have top of the line specs rivaling high-end gaming rigs if you want to create a great gaming platform. The Xbox and PS3 are no match for even a 5 year old PC (not in terms of graphics at least), yet they are still the most popular platforms for games. Alienware is trying to imitate some aspects of consoles with their X51 (which is very nice but ridiculously expensive), and it comes with a mid-range GPU...
post #25 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I don't disagree, but I think the OP was referring to the entire DX code stack, which was originally designed to abstract away all access to the PC hardware. Audio, input controllers, video display devices were hidden behind DirectX, not only making games work on different generations of PC hardware, but the Xbox as well. OpenGL really ony deals with a subset of graphics programming: 3D rendering. However, Apple has done a pretty good job adding gaming APIs into iOS to complement the non-3D graphics hardware access provided by OpenGL, so in the end, what he's wishing for probably already exists, without a name like DirectX to draw attention to itself

I get it, put it that way it's a good point. But as you say, candidates to fill the gaps missing between DirectX and OpenGL do exist. First thing that comes to mind is SDL, which has already proven to be very capable, many Linux ports (and possibly also OS X ports) of triple-A Windows games use it. It basically adds input, sound and video API's to OpenGL, and works on about any platform you can imagine.
post #26 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

inciting? really? is that the best word you professional journalists could come up with? hardly relevant in this context.

Quote:
in·cite
Encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior)

Consider first that this is not a professional journal, but rather an organized and sensationalized super-blog. Sounds just right to me.

Context is dead-on; the only etymological concern here is whether the word is too strong for the intended meaning. Again, given the local context (sensationalized blog), I would argue that it sounds just right.
post #27 of 110
I'm imagining direct integration between Steam and the Mac App Store.

Tangential to the matter, I hope they consolidate the Mac App Store with the iOS App Store and pull all related app content ::COUGH::COUGH::BLOAT::COUGH:: from iTunes.

Think about it:
I'm more likely to use the iTunes store on my OS X machine because I'm already using media playback features within the same software.
I'd also be more likely to use the App Store on my OS X machine if I'm already there using app management tools within the same software.
post #28 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Are you actually talking about DirectX, or Direct3D? And, in particular, the desktop version or Direct3D Mobile and comparing that against OpenGL, or OpenGL ES?

To summarize, Apple's doing perfectly fine with OpenGL ES (especially 2.0 which adds much more flexible shader pipelines) compared to DirectX Mobile, and the rest of DirectX (video, etc) Apple's way ahead on. As for the desktop versions, as long as you're not on a Windows kernel they're pretty comparable. Microsoft hobbles OpenGL on Windows by keeping the necessary OpenGL support out of the kernel leading to excessive context switching and thus worse OpenGL support. This should be considered a deficiency of Windows, not of OpenGL.

He needs to play HL2 or Portal on OSX. Then he will understand.

It was one of the best days in Apple history, IMHO, when Valve announced they would be supporting the Mac. And I have been using Apple computers since the Apple II days.

Signed,
Bill Budge
post #29 of 110
There was whisperings in the gaming industry that Valve was working on a project to create a console. Birdies called it the Steam Box. Valve was quick to deny it but recently, a job posting was revealed that Valve was looking for 'hardware platform engineer'.

Now, Apple's Tim Cook is spotted at their HQ. It may or may not have any connections with Valve secret project or Cook was there just to strengthen relationships or discuss some issues.
post #30 of 110
I wrote to SJ a year ago and suggested Apple needed far more involvement with Steam as this was the future for game retailing.

PC consumers want this stuff.

Together Apple and Steam could create a Cumulonimbus.
post #31 of 110
I'm surprised no one here mentioned the obvious: Valve wants to launch a game title at an upcoming Apple keynote. Other game devs do it all the time.

The only question is: will it be an ordinary Mac/PC game, or will it be Valve's first iOS game?

Valve doesn't need Apple to build the SteamBox, which is nothing but standard PC components. Apple would be an unnecessary middle man in that arraignment.

EDIT: I suppose Valve might be looking to put their games on the Mac App Store. They do sell their games in other download stores after all.
post #32 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gluskap View Post

The only question is: will it be an ordinary Mac/PC game, or will it be Valve's first iOS game?

Half Life 2: Episode 3.

iOS exclusive.

OH how people would scream.

Quote:
They do sell their games in other download stores after all.

No, they don't Do they?
post #33 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Not going to happen unless Cook and company has been really working hard on a tool set that can rival Direct X...

Open GL does that but Apple are dragging, as usual. All Jobs' promises for Apple being the number one platform for this and for that came to nothing. Gaming came to iOS by accident, not design. Steam is the only thing giving them any credibility in the gaming market. Maybe Cook can take the bull by the horns and get Apple a big chunk of that market but they need a partner because they have no traction on their own.
post #34 of 110
I hope Valve is licensing Apples Drag Your Downloaded Apps to Any Drive You Like technology.

Messing with Terminal to get my Steam stuff onto an external isnt Mac-style user friendliness!
post #35 of 110
I think this is more of Valve releasing something for Apple more than the other way around. More games for the Mac OS or even some for iOS? Left 4 Dead iOS? I'm quite intrigued....
post #36 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


No, they don't Do they?

Nope, all of Valve game products are thru Steam exclusively.
post #37 of 110
Apple may want to work with Valve on a standardized Bluetooth game controller design that can work on multiple platforms. If there was a standard minimum design for button and analog stick layout and a common Bluetooth protocol that was adopted for all Steam games and also on iOS we could see the end of the video game console in a year or two. I already suggested to Apple that this is what they needed for iOS devices but the same is true for the Mac, and PC desktops and laptops.

Have you seen the rumored specs for the next XBox? Not very exciting. One said it would be six times faster. Really? Six times? The iPad's graphics got twice as fast in one year. You can pick up a complete dev kit for $99 and there are several game engines for a few hundred. You can sell app games for any price you want in any region you want. Compare that to the closed and expensive dev kits for the XBox, Playstation and Nintendo. Those $60 games look pretty expensive when you can pick up thousands of decent app games for a buck or even free. The missing element is a standardized controller interface because touch and gyroscope UI limit the potential of the platform.
post #38 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeejay21 View Post

Nope, all of Valve game products are thru Steam exclusively.

False. For instance, you can buy and download Valve's games from Impulse: http://www.impulsedriven.com/publisher/valve

I'm not sure, but you can also probably buy from Origin.

But you still need to download Steam to play Valve games, you just need to place them in your Steam library.
post #39 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Not going to happen unless Cook and company has been really working hard on a tool set that can rival Direct X...

Apple, Google, Sony, Nintendo, and everyone already have something better, it is called Open GL. Microsoft's proprietary Direct X is crap in comparison.
post #40 of 110
Quote:
in·cite
Encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behaviour)

Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Consider first that this is not a professional journal, but rather an organized and sensationalized super-blog. Sounds just right to me.

Context is dead-on; the only etymological concern here is whether the word is too strong for the intended meaning. Again, given the local context (sensationalized blog), I would argue that it sounds just right.

I cannot believe that you actually looked up this word, printed the definition of it and then argued it was correct within the context!!! Argh!

It's so obviously not the correct term.
It's far, far, far too strong for the intended meaning.

"engender" would be much closer.
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