There’s been a rumor this week, skinny even as far as these rumors normally go, however so monumental in potential impression it appears to have captured folks’s consideration anyway: In line with Polygon, Microsoft has reportedly talked about buying Valve, the unbiased firm behind the Steam gaming platform. Or there’s been “a whisper about Valve,” as Polygon places it.

It appears ludicrous to me—in any case, we’re speaking about Valve, the corporate that hated Home windows eight a lot it tried to transform builders (and gamers) to a customized Steam-centric Linux construct.

However let’s assume this hypothetical situation is extra critical than it appears. Something’s potential, I assume. After which, as soon as we’ve thought-about the likelihood, let’s speak about why it might be disastrous for PC gaming.

Certification? What’s that?

Really, within the title of equity, let’s begin with some positives. First off, there’s Xbox Recreation Move, Microsoft’s console-only service that offers subscribers entry to about 100 video games, new and outdated, for $10 per month. That features new first-party Microsoft video games the identical day they hit retail. This might conceivably come to the PC anyway, however the probabilities get lots higher when Microsoft truly has greater than a handful of PC video games to entice folks.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

A low-cost subscription program like Xbox Recreation Move on PC could be fairly attractive.

There’s additionally the persistent concern of Valve’s hands-off strategy to Steam. I really feel the dearth of curation is a detriment to the platform. Misplaced within the shuffle, or maybe unwilling to even set foot within the shuffle, an increasing number of indie builders are seemingly headed to the Nintendo Swap—a spot the place tighter requirements and a smaller library ensures somebody would possibly truly see your sport earlier than it’s swept into the void.

Microsoft runs the Xbox in a similar way to Nintendo, and thus an acquired Steam might look a bit extra like…properly, 2010-era Steam, when Valve nonetheless curated its assortment. On this one explicit style, not less than.

Higher the satan you don’t know

Then once more, we know what a Microsoft storefront appears to be like like. Two of them truly, they usually’re each fairly unhealthy. On the Xbox, gross sales are uncommon, the interface is terrible and cluttered with non-gaming adverts, and oh yeah, folks nonetheless must pay out the nostril each month for Xbox Dwell Gold if they need multiplayer. Microsoft additionally hasn’t fully overcome the wave of destructive sentiment that culminated within the “Microsoft hates indies” catchphrase a couple of years again. It’s getting higher, however the Xbox nonetheless isn’t a major vacation spot for indie builders the way in which it was from 2008 to 2012 or so.

The Microsoft Retailer in Home windows 10 is even worse. Microsoft has did not persuade just about anybody to care in regards to the built-in Retailer, which has been a part of the working system since Home windows eight launched in 2012. It’s exhausting to say it’s “higher curated” than Steam when that is what the best-selling chart appears to be like like:

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