Valve's Erik Johnson

On Portal 2, PS3 and technology...

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Do you think you would've done Steamworks on Xbox 360 if it weren't so closed?

Yeah. We think customers would like that. We think, anyway. We'd love to try that.


How exciting is the stuff you've got being worked on at Valve at the moment compared to previous years?

I've worked at Valve for 12 years and it is pretty much true that every day is more exciting than the previous. I feel like we're getting better at a lot of things and hiring a lot of great people. That's kind of what our goal is.

There's a lot of interesting things going on right now. But I think that that has kind of always been true, at least to me personally.

You've made a name for yourself with generous post-release support for Team Fortress 2 and now Left 4 Dead. How much of Valve is now tied up supporting already-released games?

They end up generally being the same teams that shipped the product and they continue to work on it. In terms of an investment it's a great investment. Those products continue to sell and it's a great business for us.

We've never really came to a decision where it just didn't pencil to continue supporting our customers. Usually the trade-off looks more like there's some other newer product that we feel like we need to start building for customers like Portal 2. But it's driven a lot more by what customers demand and what people at Valve want to work on.

In the last few years Valve's seemingly stepped away from technology and engine licensing, which seemed to be a much bigger focus for you years ago. Why is that?

It's just not something that we've focused on a huge amount. We have licensees who have had really successful products. I think Epic for one does an amazing job with licensing.

Do you think technology and licensing as a whole has become less important in the PC market?

In a lot of ways in the future I think it's going to become more important. As architectures change and you move to a more parallel world in terms of many, many cores and many, many threads running, the number of people that can build that technology is going to decrease by a huge amount.

That would suggest that licensing's probably going to become more important over time. For us the trade-off is generally do we want to devote a whole load of time to that or on building the next game. We just kind of work through those as they come up.

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