So, the latest rumor on the interwebtubes is that Google will be purchasing Valve. For those of you who don’t know, Valve is the game design company behind the Half Life series of games. Now Valve did mention recently that they would be interested in talking acquisition. Does this rumor make any sense? Is there any reason for Google to do it? What could this mean for Half Life? Did John McCain invent the Blackberry? Is Jimmy Hoffa buried in Larry Page’s backyard?
Does this rumor even make any sense? I mean what could Google want with a game company? Especially a 3D first person shooter (FPS) game company. Googles traditional roles in the industry have been about information and advertising. This would be the first time they got into a strictly for profit software venture. I mean advertising is for profit, but that’s not what I mean. This would be the first time Google would straight up charge for their product. Unless of course they go free, which with a license like Half Life, sorry, it just isn’t happening. I mean I can see a 2D webbased game company being bought by Google to release totally free ad supported games. But with an FPS game, there’s too much overhead for that. So why?
The answer is simple, advertising. The next big thing in gaming is advertising. IN game ads are already popping up all over the place, sports games, racing games (Burnout Paradise City has CompUSA ads, which I find hilarious). With Googles focus on advertising as income I can see them wanting to get into that space. So we could see ads for real products in the next Half Life game. But it goes deeper than that.
I said earlier that Google won’t be giving Half Life away, there’s really just no way, but I can see them having other advertising supported games. Smaller 3D games, even 2D games. There is a lot of potential here. I’m guessing Google has some other ideas I haven’t thought up.
If this really happens (and I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance this is true) then it means we’ll be seeing a new Half Life game, probably developed by the very same people who have been doing it all along. We’ll also see Valve ramp up design and focus towards new markets. This could mean some very interesting Half Life spin offs. Puzzle games, games which tie into the larger game. Mini games available both on in the game and out of the game. This could also put Google in a whole new venue, gaming consoles. I can see a lot going on there too.
I’m split on whether we’ll actually see this thing go through. I think it could be very interesting though.