I'll admit it. I'm a little sad that the title of this article isn't "Half-Life 3 Confirmed," but Valve's latest announcement is almost as good. Source Engine 2 is coming, and it's free.
The original source engine was released way back in 2004, but it's still powering some of the biggest games on the market. All of your favorite Valve-made games—including Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2—use Source. And third-party titles like Titanfall and Garry's Mod also utilize the engine.
So, for Valve, this announcement is a very big deal. It means that players can start expecting a brand-new generation of Source-driven games. And, following in the footsteps of the Unreal Engine 4, Source 2 will be free for developers.
According to developer Jay Stelly, Valve hopes Source 2 will turn gamers into developers. Here's a quote from the press release (via Polygon):
"With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity. Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not just for the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games."
To be fair, we don't really know what Valve means by "free." Unreal Engine 4 is also "free" but Epic expects a five percent royalty check for any revenue above $3,000. And there's a very good chance that Valve will follow a similar strategy.
However, Valve might be banking on the fact that most developers who choose Source 2 will distribute the game via Steam. And Valve reportedly takes about 30 percent from anything sold on Steam. Either way, it's a win for Gabe Newell's bank account.
The last few days have been huge for Valve. On Sunday, HTC surprised everyone by announcing a virtual-reality collaboration with the Half-Life developer. And today, Valve showed off its latest piece of hardware: a $50 streaming device called Steam Link.
Hardcore fans are undoubtedly disappointed by Valve's lack of upcoming games. But consider this: aside from Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2 was Valve's first release following Source's unveiling in 2004. So, even if Half-Life 3 hasn't technically been confirmed, it feels like we're moving in the right direction.