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By 14 April 2011 | Categories: news

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Valve is one of the developers in the gaming industry who have some of the most loyal fans, thanks to their memorable game releases and excellent software, and the fact that they aren't stuck under the heel of the mega publishers.

That's why the gaming community was intrigued when Valve CEO, Gabe Newell, announced last year that the PC-centric developer would not only be releasing upcoming title Portal 2 on consoles, but that Portal 2 will be cross compatible between the PC and PlayStation 3, the first mainstream title to attempt this.

Valve recently disclosed new details on the upcoming release of Portal 2 (and the Steam service) on the PS3, set for the 21st of April. The cross-platform service will work in much the same way as its PC-based brethren, offering gamers easy matchmaking, friend lists, in-game chat and an achievement system tied to the PS3's existing trophy system.

Steam on the PS3 will also save co-op games in progress, as well as single player save files to the Steam Cloud, enabling players to jump right back into their game from any PS3 console.

And in an even more impressive example of its cross-platform capabilities, owners of Portal 2 on PS3, who have linked their PC and PS3 Steam accounts, will be able to play their copy of Portal 2 on any PC or Mac as well, with no extra charge.

An in-box access code is redeemed on Steam, with the software verifying that the linked customer owns a legitimate PS3 version, upon which Portal 2 is listed in your library of Steam games on PC or Mac.

Gamers who already have a Steam account on PC will be able to login to Steam on the PS3 using their existing login details. And don't worry if you're new to this whole Steam business, as new players will be able to create an account from within their PS3 with the click of a button.

The benefits that cross-platform play brings to the table is numerous to say the least, with PC and PS3 owning friends now finally able to compete and enjoy games with one another on their preferred platform. Players can also move saves between devices, earn achievements simultaneously on PC and PS3 and of course, enjoy the mind bending puzzles of Portal 2 with a friend in co-op mode.

It remains to be seen how the PlayStation network will deal with the extra influx of Steam users, and how smoothly cross-platform play will be at the end of the day, but we can take heart in one thing, Valve isn't exactly known for releasing sub-par products.

The new alliance leaves Microsoft's Xbox 360 out in the cold though, with the game being released on the console, but not offering any additional features on top of what Xbox LIVE already does.

Whatever the outcome, the venture is definitely a positive sign for the gaming world, and if successful we might just see cross-platform play becoming a major selling point in future releases. Keep those fingers crossed.

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