What if Apple acquires Valve?

Posted by David The Expert on: Friday, April 13, 2012
Topic: Video Games     Read 19,378 Times

Speculation on whether Apple may dive deeper in the Video Game market by acquiring video game developer Valve.

Today, rumors surfaced that Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, visited Valve's headquarters. Neither company has announced what exactly the purpose of Cook's visit was, however. It could just have well been a friendly tour of a very interesting company. But Tim Cook is a very busy man, and if a visit to Valve is worth his time, I suspect he must have something up his sleeve.
Valve logo

Could Apple be considering acquiring or otherwise working with Valve on a video game project?

Valve is, of course, a popular video game developer, known for their hits such as the Half Life series, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, and their incredibly popular game distribution software, Steam. They are rumored to be working on a console system that would complement their online Steam store (currently full of video games which only run on third party platforms, like Windows, Mac, and recently even mobile devices like iOS and Android).

What would Apple do with Valve?

Apple has a virtually endless supply of liquid cash, and has been known to acquire companies that directly benefit their current projects. For example, when iPhones and the iOS operating system were relatively new, Apple purchased a mobile advertising business which they integrated with iOS and has since become iAds, the most common source of advertisements now used in iOS mobile apps.

But what would they want with a gaming company? Since it was founded, Apple has been primarily a hardware company. Valve is predominantly a software company. Could Apple be attempting to finally move into the software developing market full force? It's possible, but I rather doubt it.

What seems the most likely to me is that Apple could be interested in Valve's mysterious rumored video game console. There have been rumors of Apple entering the video game console market for many years. Ages ago, they were rumored to be considering buying Nintendo, Sega, and even Sony's entire Playstation project. But of course, nothing ever came of those rumors. Now that Valve has created an incredibly successful and profitable video game distribution system (Steam), it may finally seem a worthwhile endeavor to Apple.

iOS Video Game Success

Despite not manufacturing any video game consoles or developing any video game software, Apple actually controls an enormous share of the video game market. Games on iOS devices make up a tremendous portion of all mobile video games. They come from countless developers and can be played right on your iPhone or iPad or even iPod Touch. Once Apple realized the success of video games on these devices, they began marketing the iPod Touch as a video game device. Commercials touted the iPod as "the funnest iPod ever" and showed clips of many stunning mobile video games being played. So perhaps Apple has had a taste of the video game market, and it really likes it.

Rumors of Apple entering the video game market have come and gone over the years, so I suspect this rumor too shall go. But the possibilities of two exceptionally creative companies like Valve and Apple coming together could truly change the industry forever.

David The Expert

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