Washington studio Valve is striving to take full advantage of the PS3’s relaxed network restrictions by uniting PS3 and PC customers through its upcoming online shooter.
The developer is building the next edition of Counter-Strike, an immensely popular competitive FPS series, and wants PS3, PC and Mac customers to all play online together.
That cross-play feature, which needs approval by Sony to work in its entirety, would signify a change of guard for consoles in the online era.
Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have historically been reluctant to share customers online, though Sony has in recent months shown more flexibility on the matter.
The PlayStation platform holder will tie PS3 and PC owners via two games built by Icelandic studio CCP. The upcoming FPS Dust 514, a PS3 exclusive, will share data with the PC MMO phenomenon Eve Online. How data is shared remains unclear, though CCP has said each game can affect the other via online battles.
But Valve could get there before CCP. The upcoming Counter-Strike GO is due for “first quarter 2012” release, according to Kotaku.
The game is being co-developed by Hidden Path, a studio also based in Washington, whose staff have helped build previous entries in the Counter-Strike series.
The uniting of PS3 and PC online is in part possible because Valve has been able to install Steam – everything aside from the online store – on PS3. The move, announced last year at E3, has transformed Valve’s once-disastrous relationship with PlayStation.
In an interview with Develop, Valve president Gabe Newell said Sony deserves valuable and lucrative PS3 content for integrating third-party services within its online network.
“I think Sony will start to benefit from what it’s doing,” Newell said.
“They’ve done the scary thing and I think it’s up to us as developers to make sure Sony and its customers are rewarded.”