Next week, 4/19, to be exact, marks the release of Portal 2. Valve has already unlocked Steam pre-loading for the game if you pre-ordered directly from there. If you were one of the many who held out for the PS3 version, which also includes access to the PC and Mac versions, you may have wondered how exactly that whole process would work and how Steam would interact on the PS3. Maybe you have no intentions on playing it on the console, and were just a savvy shopper who figured that Amazon’s $20 credit on the PS3 version actually turns out to be less than the PC version. Hint: [amazon_link id=”B003O6E3C8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]that deal is still available here[/amazon_link].
What’s interesting is that they are bringing pretty much the full Steam overlay to the PS3 (you press the “select” button in-game to access it). When you link your PSN to your Steam ID in game, you’ll also be able to see and chat with all your Steam friends. While it’s great to see Steam branch out, I can’t help thinking that it’s a bit odd to have an additional, duplicate functionality layer on top of PSN. So now you’ll have your PSN friends and separately your Steam friends. You’ll have Steam achievements and PSN trophies, which, if you’re playing on the PS3, will unlock both sets of “cheevos” simultaneously. Playing on the PC or Mac, however, does not unlock any PS3 trophies. Cheevo whores take note.
If you did buy the PS3 version only for the cost savings mentioned above, and could care less about the PSN interaction, you’ll be happy to know that each PS3 copy includes a one-time use code which you can activate on Steam. Valve does indicate you will have to link your PS3 account to your Steam ID before you do that — so don’t buy the PS3 version if you don’t actually have a PS3. Duh.
Also, the PS3 and PC/Mac interaction doesn’t stop there. The co-op game can be played across those platforms without any issues. The Steam Cloud save game feature is also available on both the PC/Mac and PS3, however save games between platforms are not compatible, so no starting the game on the PS3 and finishing on the PC — each system will have separate saves.
Lastly, those who were looking to do local co-op with one copy of Portal 2 will be disappointed to hear that this is not allowed (unless it’s split-screen on 1 PS3). You’ll need two copies of the game if you had ideas of playing with a local friend on the PC and the other on a PS3 in the same house. Too bad, it would have been nice to see that supported.
I think Steam on the PS3 is an interesting experiment for Valve. It’s fairly obvious that this is the next step towards them trying to make Steam become a de facto standard across multiple platforms. Since it’s clear that Microsoft would never let an additional layer be bolted onto games on the Xbox, the PS3 was the next best thing and allows Valve to showcase their Steamworks package to console publishers as well.