Despite Valve Managing Director Gabe Newell’s extreme pessimism for Windows 8, it doesn’t appear his company’s relationship with Microsoft has been hampered by his views. In fact, today the company released The Orange Box on Xbox’s Games on Demand, making all of its Xbox 360 products except the original Left 4 Dead available through the console’s digital distribution platform.
The addition of The Orange Box marks the third game Valve has released through Games on Demand, following Portal 2 (released on July 10) and Left 4 Dead 2 (released on July 24). The expanded version of original Portal, Portal: Still Alive, was released on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade platform on October 22, 2008. Additionally, the company plans to release Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Xbox Live Arcade later this month.
Interestingly, Games on Demand is now the only non-Steam digital distribution platform Valve has released its games on, although PlayStation Network will also see the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive next month. While the Left 4 Dead series hasn’t seen a PlayStation 3 release, both The Orange Box and Portal 2 were released on physical media for Sony’s console. Valve hasn’t released any of its titles on a computer digital distribution system besides Steam.
Valve’s had an odd history with Microsoft on the console front, with Newell praising the system’s ease of development in its early years before later chastising Microsoft’s lack of an open network with Xbox Live.
Conversely, Newell was originally critical of the PlayStation 3’s development difficulty, and the PlayStation 3 version of The Orange Box was actually ported by an internal Electronic Arts studio. Newell later praised Sony for creating a more open network and allowing Steam to operate on the PlayStation 3. The game studio developed Portal 2 for the PlayStation 3 internally and even included cross-platform play with computer users and more advanced anti-aliasing methods in comparison to the Xbox 360 version.
Valve has yet to announce a digital release for any of its previously released PlayStation 3 games through Sony’s PlayStation Network.