Valve: If you want a mobile engine, call Epic

Valve: If you want a mobile engine, call Epic

By Rob Crossley

May 6th 2011 at 10:00AM

Washington studio says it has no existing smartphone strategy for Source, Steam or games

Developers looking to build mobile games shouldn’t hold their breath for a smartphone edition of the Source Engine, Valve’s president has said.

Gabe Newell dismissed ongoing rumours that the company is building a mobile version of its flagship engine with a ringing endorsement for would-be rival Epic Games.

“On mobile we’ve done nothing,” Newell told Develop.

“If people want people to build a mobile engine today, call [Epic Games CEO] Tim Sweeney.”

Newell, a technology veteran of 28 years experience, expressed his adoration for Epic’s Unreal Engine and specifically how it has adapted to mobiles.
 
Valve’s own Source Engine, which first launched in 2004 on PC, has since expended incrementally to support Mac, Xbox 360 and most recently the PlayStation 3.

In the wake of the smartphone revolution, the persistent rumour is that Valve sees devices like iPhone and iPad as the next step in its tech and games expansion.

But Valve project manager Erik Johnson was openly critical of the company’s vacant mobile agenda.

“If you look at the profile of Valve as a company that builds entertainment software, we’ve had no mobile strategy at all,” he said.

Jason Holtman, meanwhile, said he saw potential in mobiles for its industry-leading digital games portal, Steam, but confessed there are no solid plans yet.

“Mobile is really interesting, but it’s too early to say anything definitive,” Holtman said.

Total mobile entertainment revenues will this year rise from $33.2 billion to nearly $38.4 billion, according to independent data.

Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi suggested that Valve would move into this booming market eventually, but only if there is a demand from customers.

“We do feel we’re late on mobiles across many of Valve’s services,” he said.

“It’s something we’re starting to look at now. There’s a common set of features that people could see themselves using, and are starting to ask us for.

“The more we hear about those requests, the more we feel the need to act on them.”

THE VALVE MANIFESTO

Valve’s comments are drawn from a new six-page feature in Develop magazine issue 116 (which arrives at games studios and on doormats from today).

The feature draws from interviews with ten key staff at the company. It will appear online, along with five separate Q&As, throughout next week.