Valve announced the PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2
at least year's E3, and promised Sony would be getting the best version of the game. Launching with Steam on the PlayStation 3, giving players a copy of the game on the PC and Mac
when accounts are linked, and allowing cross-platform play is certainly a good way to get the attention of gamers.
We spoke with Doug Lombardi, Valve's VP of Marketing, about this news, and what it means for other consoles as well as future PlayStation 3 games.
"It's not two copies of the game, it's the same game"
"The goal is to give a Portal 2
customer access to their game on as many devices as possible. We introduced this notion when we launched Steam Play for Mac and PC games in the spring of last year," Lombardi explained. "Giving a PS3 owner of Portal 2
the ability to also play their game on the PC and Mac is an extension of this philosophy. From our perspective, it's not two copies of a game; it's the same game, but with Sony's help we've worked out a method to allow that Portal 2
PS3 customer to also play their game on the PC and Mac."
Which of course brings up an obvious question: was this option also offered to Microsoft? "It is achievable from a technical standpoint, yes," he told Ars. Allow us to speculate for a moment and say that Microsoft most likely doesn't like third-parties using their own online tools, nor would it agree to giving up any control of patches or updates, an issue that has long been a sticking point
between the two companies.
Now that Steam is running on the PlayStation 3, the service may be added to other games as well as Portal 2
, but Lombardi refuses to give any specific news. "We are hoping other titles will benefit from the Steamworks tools and services we've created for Portal 2
PS3, but we don't have anything to announce today."
Mouse and keyboard vs. controllers, Episode 3
The PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2
offers a free version of the game for the PC and Mac once you link accounts, and you'll be able to play with friends on those platforms as well. "Portal 2
is cooperative multiplayer, and co-op only. So the mouse/keyboard vs. gamepad flame war doesn't really apply," Lombardi said when asked about the difference in controls. "It's also worth noting that Portal
is more about brain power than split-second reflexes. If you're thinking with Portals, the input device used to execute each move is very much secondary."
Some of our readers expressed nervousness about linking their games with their Steam accounts. Will they still be able to resell their games? Lombardi declined to offer specifics when asked about what protections were built in, saying only that we'll have more details on account linking closer to launch.