Google to Get Steamed?

    September 17, 2008
    Chris Crum

A rumor is going around that Google is going to buy Valve, the creators of the hugely popular game Half Life. The rumor, which started with the Inquirer, claims "well placed sources" told the publication Google will buy Valve "any second now". 

Why would Google be interested in this? The Inquirer suggests Valve’s gaming content distribution platform Steam as the main point of interest.


  For those unfamiliar with Steam, it allows users to:

– Instantly access a library of games

– Join a community of fellow gamers

– Chat with friends while gaming

– Easily browse multiplayer game servers

– Receive automatic game updates

– Play your games on any PC

– Enjoy special offers from the company

The rumor is not hard to believe despite Valve saying a while back they weren’t interested in selling. The signs of Google getting deeper into gaming have been around for a while. Early last year the company bought AdScape, a San Francisco in-game advertising company. Shortly thereafter, Google patented the profiling of online gamers.

Then of course there’s Lively, Google’s SecondLife, which they just announced yesterday would be opened up to third party developers to create an arcade of sorts. This will all no doubt contribute to Google’s master plan of advertising dominance ( recent survey from Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that 97% of American kids play video games). Google will have mobile phones covered very soon too (with great localization accuracy at that).

Let’s not jump to any conclusions though. The Valve purchase is after all, only rumor at this point. It should be confirmed or denied before too long.

Update: Stephen Totilo at MTV claims to have spoken to Valve’s PR deparment. Totilo writes:

I contacted Valve pr man Doug Lombardi who replied to my request for comment on this news with just two words: “complete fabrication.”

Just to make sure Lombardi wasn’t being cagey, I asked if it’s be correct if we posted that (my words) “Valve says Google isn’t buying the company.” He said that would be correct. So… no sale!

…And the Inquirer loses even more credibility.