Close to six years after its original release, Pokémon Go continues to be one of the most popular mobile games in the world. Nevertheless, its promised AR revolution hasn’t quite materialized, and Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is among those disappointed.
Speaking with Rock Paper Shotgun on the occasion of the Steam Deck’s release, Newell said he thinks Pokémon Go should have had “more implications” for mobile gaming. Instead, follow-ups like Harry Potter Wizard’s Unite have mostly fizzled out.
By contrast, Newell hopes that Valve can follow up on the release of the Steam Deck by building more mobile experience that make sense for the platform.
“I think Pokémon Go really should have had more more implications for people thinking about the opportunity space for what’s possible with mobile gaming, and it really hasn’t,” Newell said. “So I think that that’s one of the things that we’re super excited about is, you know, we built this building block, this pretty critical set of components in order to allow this. And now, we get to do the really fun stuff, where we go into R&D mode.”
Valve has a history of building games that take advantage of its hardware innovations. Half-Life: Alyx is a recent example of this, being built explicitly with Valve’s VR hardware in mind.
Newell says that he’s looking forward to digging into the new possibilities. “[I]t’s also super exciting to say, let’s go prototype, three or four different new ideas for what he could put into a mobile gaming platform that extend the experience. Go into software developers and have them go, ‘That’s rubbish,’ or ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool.’ Or ‘Oh my god, you have to do this’ and ‘Let’s start working together on a software prototype to go with your hardware prototype to really test out these features.’ That’s pretty exciting, when you can plumb it all the way through to not just… a point where you can do it, but also start opening what you can be doing in those environments. So yeah, we’re pretty fired up. We’ve a lot of appetite for continuing to try to be innovative.
We recently got our hands on the Steam Deck, which we called a “well-built piece of hardware” that doesn’t have a particularly smooth user experience. We also spoke with Newell about the platform’s launch and future, where he confirmed that Valve has no plans to increase the price of any of the three original hardware configurations.
As for Pokémon Go, it’s still rolling along after all these years. A host of Pokémon announcements are expected this weekend to celebrate Pokémon Day 2022. Expect more Pokémon Go news on February 26.