Steam Machines

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Steam Machines

No single gaming device is objectively better than the others. It depends on how you play, why you play, and where you play. There really is no clear winner. But on the corporate side, the debate has been over for almost a decade, and consoles won. It wasn't even close.

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If They don't have Half-Life 3 as a launch title, they're crazy.

That's something I hope that Valve will start pushing. If they expect people to invest money in the Steam Box, a lot of them are going to start wanting first-party titles delivered on a basis slightly more regular than "every few years, when we feel like it."

Valve is really good and the competition is that inept. For those that have been on Steam for a while, we know that Steam is (right now...not previously) the balance of what we the gamers want and what the publishers want. This equilibrium was possibly reached because Valve is a publisher.

SoulChaserJ:
Valve is really good and the competition is that inept. For those that have been on Steam for a while, we know that Steam is (right now...not previously) the balance of what we the gamers want and what the publishers want. This equilibrium was possibly reached because Valve is a publisher.

This.

We have the Pro-Gamer example (gog.com: DRM-free entirely, decently cheap, very few AAA games) and the Pro-Publisher example (Games for Windows Live... don't get me started...), and Valve is nicely in between the two.

Also, Shamus echoed quite a few things I've said, just... significantly less passionately. :P Feels good, man.

I am not sure brah, first you say:

Shamus Young:
without really understanding what it is or why this is such a completely fascinating move for Valve to make.

then

Shamus Young:
No single gaming device is objectively better than the others. It depends on how you play, why you play, and where you play. There really is no clear winner. But on the corporate side, the debate has been over for almost a decade, and consoles won. It wasn't even close.

And then explain why is important FOR THE CORPORATE SIDE, user base, library, market penetration and such. Forgetting that I as an user might care little about that, it depends on how I play, why and where.

I see why they can manage to get into the console race, how it makes sense and their strengths. I also care almost nothing about it, the most exciting announcement for me is that they will give for free (the two kinds of free) a Linux focused on gaming to the community, because I love to tinker with stuff and mod it and fiddle and learn! The second most exciting announcement is the openness to "hacking" the box and controller though I seriously doubt they release all the documentation for the hardware and the drivers (expect at least the source code, but even that might be too much). The third would be that they will at the same time free and standardize the PC gaming market... maybe. I only wish I was a teenager in middleschool when it launches to have all day to devote to silly hobbies :3

Edit: Thanks for the link to Gratis/Libre, baffled me a little bit why gringos had such trouble with the concepts till I realized you use the same word for both!

Actually PC games dont do more badly then either console when taken individually.
Its just that we dont have those numbers from Origin/Steam/GoG/the other ones avaiable. Still a larger portion of the money goes to the developer and publisher via digital distribution :P. So they cant be bad, sales. Though I do wonder how much Sony and MS pay so that a game is an exclusive. Must be quite the decent amount.

As for other games, well there are currently 1.4 million people playing World of Tanks. About the same on LoL? Many more on other games. I am certain the number of PC gamers is quite high.

I'm no particular fan of Valve, but I do have and use Steam pretty much simply because it's the only real option if you're going to game at all seriously on your PC. And there are numbers available on just how important Steam is at least on the developer side of things. Many indie developers have stated that the difference between being on Steam and not being on Steam is in the range of their pre/non Steam sales falling in around at best 15% of what they once they get on Steam. That's gigantic, and even more so if you're a smaller/indie developer where you might as well not even be making games if they're not ending up for sale on Steam.

Anywho, I do agree that it will be interesting to see what happens. It's a bold move by Valve, and they're not dumb, but it still seems to me like they're maybe shooting for a market that doesn't exist. That's not to say that it won't, especially if Apple and/or Google go whole hog in the same direction, but I don't see there being a big enough audience right now for what Valve is selling to make it worthwhile.

Thunderous Cacophony:

If They don't have Half-Life 3 as a launch title, they're crazy.

That's something I hope that Valve will start pushing. If they expect people to invest money in the Steam Box, a lot of them are going to start wanting first-party titles delivered on a basis slightly more regular than "every few years, when we feel like it."

well.. The recent trademarking of said prospect Launch-Title is making this scenario more and more believable.

Shamus Young:
But note how Valve is routing around these problems. They're fixing the lack of titles by making a platform that will run (some?) PC games.

This is the biggest hurdle they have. Currently the SteamBox/SteamOS announcement page states that we can play Linux games directly on the box, but if we want to play our Windows games we have to stream them from another currently existing Windows PC on the same network that has said game already installed. Most big games people play fall exactly into that category. If they want to get any traction at all with SteamOS they need to get the Windows drivers cracked for Linux, otherwise they will end up with two groups of people: those that will just continue to play on Windows PCs and those that bought a SteamBox thinking they could play Windows games on it, only to realize they can't.

The big hurdle I see with the SteamBox is that it might not appeal to console players for it doesn't have the established franchises for that is where Valve really has been slacking to lure people to their console and unless you buy a SteamBox PC players are going to lose their biggest advantage and that is the ability to play older games. Unless Valve kicks up their game production I can't see the big lure aside from "sticking it to Windows".

Am I the only one who remembers that story, where Gabe Newell himself told how linux was actually better performance wise for pc games? I remember that he showed Left 4 dead as an example, where on linux they got 20-40% more fps than on windows. They should push that story if they really want more people on their side.

I think that Windows as an OS is spread a bit too thin for all it's purposes. Think about it, it's used everywhere, from offices to servers, and probably because of this, gaming on Windows is the last thing on Microsoft's agenda, which is why they so desperately are pushing the XBONE. OK, let them have it, let windows be used for work, I myself wouldn't have it any other way. But it's about time someone actually took the initiative on making truly dedicated software for gaming, since the PC gaming hardware is ever evolving, and people actually are buying their TITANs and i7 processors, which, so it seems, are already better than the hardware in PS4 and XBONE, not to mention the WiiU.

Long story short, i think it's obvious why AAA devs favor the consoles, it's because of dedicated software, and finally Valve is offering the same dedicated framework, only on pc, where anyone can make their own hardware setup, depending on their financial capabilities, and currently available hardware.

Just think about it, PS3 had about 512 mb of RAM, and for the same games,(say, for example, Fallout 3) to be played on Windows, you needed at least 2GB of RAM. Crazy ain't it?

sushkis2:
Just think about it, PS3 had about 512 mb of RAM, and for the same games,(say, for example, Fallout 3) to be played on Windows, you needed at least 2GB of RAM. Crazy ain't it?

When they say 2gigs of RAM for a Windows based PC they are also including the requirements for Windows itself which if I remember correctly is around 1gig and things like the draw distance and the amount of clutter on the ground were negatively impacted.

I just hope they don't go megalomaniacal on us and lock down their market Apple-style by making all Steam-based games SteamOS exclusive in the long run.

If the Steam Box/OS can run *any* Linux compatible games, whether they are from Steam or not, I'm in. Both as a player and as a hobbyist developer.

sushkis2:
Just think about it, PS3 had about 512 mb of RAM, and for the same games,(say, for example, Fallout 3) to be played on Windows, you needed at least 2GB of RAM. Crazy ain't it?

That was mainly due to the OS taking up about half of those 2GB. The tradeoff is that when you exit the game, you can do work stuff. Also, you shouldn't compare PS3 releases to WIndows ones. For starters, the textures are higher, the draw distance and clutter are better as someone has already pointed out, we have more graphics-intensive lighting/shadowing, tessellation, etc. Basically, all the goods you're getting on the PS4, we've been running it. Which is why we have higher requirements.

A gaming-only Linux distro sounds nice, and hopefully Steam Machines + SteamOS will convince devs to start building Linux ports. What I'm more concerned about are my old games, and the stuff I bought off GOG. Other than the streaming feature advertised, will they build emulators into the OS for those old Windows/DOS games?

Oskuro:
I just hope they don't go megalomaniacal on us and lock down their market Apple-style by making all Steam-based games SteamOS exclusive in the long run.

If the Steam Box/OS can run *any* Linux compatible games, whether they are from Steam or not, I'm in. Both as a player and as a hobbyist developer.

The whole reason for this SteamOS thing is because Gabe was disgusted with the Metro store's walled garden. Thankfully for him, Metro flopped hard, so Steam's presence on the desktop will continue unabated.

I personally have faith that Valve can pull off a venture like putting another console in the market. The only other attempt for a new console to break the scene was the Ouya, and to say that it barely made a splash in the little puddle it made is a huge disservice to the puddle or the very concept of splashing.

But Steam has a backlog of huge titles that you'd want to play on the big screen, a lot of fanbase support, and this controller that people legitimately say DOESN'T suck. There's no way this can possibly go wrong.

... Hopefully.

Oskuro:
I just hope they don't go megalomaniacal on us and lock down their market Apple-style by making all Steam-based games SteamOS exclusive in the long run.

Huh?

Apple doesn't do this. If you sell software through the App Store, you are free to make Windows, Linux or Android versions of your software too. They do not have to be exclusive to Apple's store.

Shamus Young:
The debate is still very much alive and no single gaming device is objectively better than the others. It depends on how you play, why you play, and where you play. There really is no clear winner.

Except that is pretty much wrong, the "better" device is the one that:
1) Has the stronger hardware allowing for more possibilities.
2) Allows for a customized experience and choice to be able to play with anything you want (Mouse + Keyboard, Controller, Joystick, Wheel etc.) and allows for other periphery like say the Oculus Rift.
3) Allows for an open environment, making it possible for any and all Independents to self-publish their software without paying royalties and also allowing for things like Mods.
4) Doesn't incur additional fees like royalties off of every sale or fees for Online gaming.

A machine on which all of the above applies is objectively better than machines that do not allow for any of the above. You can say that they have their uses or that you are so susceptible to shitty business practices like paying off development studios for "Exclusives" that you will pick the inferior experience like having to pick a SONY or Samsung TV based on which movies you'd rather watch, but that doesn't make them "better".

The "Steam Machines" will pretty much eliminate some of the last complaints that people still bring up with PC gaming and will likely make it idiot-proof and possible to a cheaper price point.

Shamus Young:
But on the corporate side, the debate has been over for almost a decade, and consoles won. It wasn't even close.

I'd beg to disagree: http://www.newzoo.com/press-releases/newzoo-announces-new-report-and-projects-global-games-market-to-grow-6-to-70-4bn-in-2013/
image

Will the SteamOS be available to load on your own "Steam box"? That would be awesome, you could either buy their's or just order one of their controllers and build your own.

I may actually buy one of these for the living room, since I have been looking to put a streaming media box on the 60" plasma in the living room and if it could also play my Steam library then I am all for that.

Amir Kondori:
Will the SteamOS be available to load on your own "Steam box"? That would be awesome, you could either buy their's or just order one of their controllers and build your own.

I may actually buy one of these for the living room, since I have been looking to put a streaming media box on the 60" plasma in the living room and if it could also play my Steam library then I am all for that.

From what I understand the SteamOS will be free for anyone to download if they want to. I am not sure about the controller, but I would imagine so for it would be reducing the size of the market if they make it exclusive to the SteamBox.

Amir Kondori:
Will the SteamOS be available to load on your own "Steam box"? That would be awesome, you could either buy their's or just order one of their controllers and build your own.

personally i'm thinking of re purposing an old (original) xbox as a SteamOS "thin client" for game streaming.

sure it might sound far fetched but its potentially not outside the bounds of possibility entirely...

if streaming games to an (original) xbox is at all all possible there will be people who endeavour to make it a reality...just for the hell of it...as there will be no doubt for other consoles (PS3 for example can already have Linux put on it)...

regardless i have other options lying around...an "under monitor" desktop PC about halfway between an (original) xbox and my current PC being the main contender.

if i can put Skyrim and Torchlight II and the likes on my living room TV just using spare "junk"...well that's well worth a rainy weekends effort imo...

Sanunes:

sushkis2:
Just think about it, PS3 had about 512 mb of RAM, and for the same games,(say, for example, Fallout 3) to be played on Windows, you needed at least 2GB of RAM. Crazy ain't it?

When they say 2gigs of RAM for a Windows based PC they are also including the requirements for Windows itself which if I remember correctly is around 1gig and things like the draw distance and the amount of clutter on the ground were negatively impacted.

Exactly my point, I think I can speak for everybody, when I say that we would all want to get more out of our hardware, and not having Windows hog all of that PC horsepower, just to sustain itself.

sushkis2:
Exactly my point, I think I can speak for everybody, when I say that we would all want to get more out of our hardware, and not having Windows hog all of that PC horsepower, just to sustain itself.

hopefully Valve will make sure dual booting is supported in a consumer friendly way.

do that and there's really no reason not to run SteamOS going forward alongside any existing OS choice so as to compare in game performance for games that work on both...

One simple question has to be asked about this offering from Valve. Have they reversed their anti consumer policies and cease duping people into willingly abandoning money with nothing in exchange for it? Unless the answer to that question is an emphatic yes, every single other thing about it is 100% completely irrelevant. It is nothing but the proliferation of the cancer of the industry. Nothing else need be pondered or stated yet it still bears repeating it seems regardless of which company of the moment is trying to push the envelope in the war of attrition this time. It is not tolerable in any circumstance or under any conditions. Not from Microsoft, Not from EA, Not from Sony, Not from Valve. Not from ANYONE. EVER.

Let us put it another way. In a historical context, in the future people will look back at this point in history with what the masses impose upon everyone in humiliated smugness much the way people today look at what the smokers of 30-200 years ago built up through their reckless funding and manipulated decision making.

If they are discontinuing their core philosophy of anti consumer/industry behavior, then and only then the potential, merits, and values of such a potential device can reasonably be considered.

The greatest shame of it all is that sadly no great epiphany comes without being built upon the manipulation, exploitation and misfortune of so many. It will one day come because the model being pushed is one incapable of sustaining itself and can only end it annihilating itself with maximum collateral damage. It has happened so many times before in history and those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Sleekit:
snip

Nahh, it is outside the bounds of possibility, entirely.

First of all the original xbox hardware is dated, like 12 years dated, there is no point at all to use that hardware or build an OS for it outside nostalgia.

Secondly, it has custom made CPU, GPU, MoBo, everything.... and the data for those components is not available, meaning you will need to do a fucking lot of high level reverse engineering to fit your OS to that.

In short, you would need to be a genius and devote years to reverse engineer the specifications of that hardware and then fit it to an OS, all to use crap super dated hardware; or have been an intel and nvidia engineer and be willing to have your ass sued to China. It is NOT going to happen.

If this thing has Half-LIfe 3 for launch and the game won't be on any other system, I will highly consider getting it. If it's as easy to set up, figure out, and use as my PS3 and 360 and has HL3, consider it sold. Otherwise, I'm afraid I just can't get interested enough. Entirely possible they can change my mind, but at the moment I'm just shrugging and going, "Huh. That's nice."

Dexter111:

I'd beg to disagree: http://www.newzoo.com/press-releases/newzoo-announces-new-report-and-projects-global-games-market-to-grow-6-to-70-4bn-in-2013/

The graphic immediately above that predicts that PC downloads and boxed games will only make nine percent of that total market, the other thirty percent coming from casual gaming and MMOs.

That more or less agrees with the assertion that for big boxed sale games PC is now the minor market, there are anomalies (specifically Dice, Valve, Relic and Blizzard) but most developers and publishers expect the major sales to come from console players.

I'm not sure classifying MMOs as a thing by itself is entirely fair as it skews the figures against PC games somewhat, but it also holds true that MMO markets are separate from the annual/bienniel triple A release cycle and follow different trends.

romxxii:

sushkis2:
Just think about it, PS3 had about 512 mb of RAM, and for the same games,(say, for example, Fallout 3) to be played on Windows, you needed at least 2GB of RAM. Crazy ain't it?

That was mainly due to the OS taking up about half of those 2GB. The tradeoff is that when you exit the game, you can do work stuff. Also, you shouldn't compare PS3 releases to WIndows ones. For starters, the textures are higher, the draw distance and clutter are better as someone has already pointed out, we have more graphics-intensive lighting/shadowing, tessellation, etc. Basically, all the goods you're getting on the PS4, we've been running it. Which is why we have higher requirements.

A gaming-only Linux distro sounds nice, and hopefully Steam Machines + SteamOS will convince devs to start building Linux ports. What I'm more concerned about are my old games, and the stuff I bought off GOG. Other than the streaming feature advertised, will they build emulators into the OS for those old Windows/DOS games?

I get your point, but think about it, by releasing SteamOS, Valve are theoretically putting that tradeoff out of the equation. My point is - why worry about the ever expensive hardware upgrades, when you are presented with an opportunity to squeeze some more juice with a more sensible software setup? Even though, they have yet to prove themselves, if they can deliver on their promise. I, like many people have high hopes for Valve.

Regarding your old games - you don't seriously think of completely abandoning Windows are you? Looks like SteamOS' sole purpose is to get you a great gaming experience, not necessarily run any program you desire. How will you go on the internet, or write documents, or whatever else non gaming related? Hence, such opportunities open like Steam machines, if you're willing to dish out for it or if the machines end up far more superior than your PC, or multibooting, if you are satisfied with your rig and wish to equip it with SteamOS for gaming. I don't think there would actually be people who would actually abandon Windows altogether, if they do absolutely anything other than gaming from dawn til dusk.

There problem solved, keep Windows, and you keep all of your GOG games.

I think I have noticed a pattern in behavior surrounding the announcement of this, and many other new devices/OS/whatever. Whenever something new gets announced, take for example, the Nvidia Shield, people start questioning if it can run things other than what it is supposed to. Hence the streaming service - was it really necessary? Of course, I may be 100% wrong, but I think, it is because of this catering to some truly absurd needs, as in wasting all of those finances and manpower, to achieving that function, just for the sake of people being able to play Battlefield 3 or whatever a couple of feet away from their PC on a teeny tiny screen (which in turn could have been put to better use, like, say, core software R&D). PLEASE, don't ask Valve to have SteamOS or whatever else new product do what it isn't supposed to. Look at XBONE, look how laughable it looked after all of those announcements of those non-gaming functions, like TV, Skype and that fantasy football nonsense.

viranimus:
One simple question has to be asked about this offering from Valve. Have they reversed their anti consumer policies and cease duping people into willingly abandoning money with nothing in exchange for it? Unless the answer to that question is an emphatic yes, every single other thing about it is 100% completely irrelevant. It is nothing but the proliferation of the cancer of the industry. Nothing else need be pondered or stated yet it still bears repeating it seems regardless of which company of the moment is trying to push the envelope in the war of attrition this time. It is not tolerable in any circumstance or under any conditions. Not from Microsoft, Not from EA, Not from Sony, Not from Valve. Not from ANYONE. EVER.

Let us put it another way. In a historical context, in the future people will look back at this point in history with what the masses impose upon everyone in humiliated smugness much the way people today look at what the smokers of 30-200 years ago built up through their reckless funding and manipulated decision making.

If they are discontinuing their core philosophy of anti consumer/industry behavior, then and only then the potential, merits, and values of such a potential device can reasonably be considered.

The greatest shame of it all is that sadly no great epiphany comes without being built upon the manipulation, exploitation and misfortune of so many. It will one day come because the model being pushed is one incapable of sustaining itself and can only end it annihilating itself with maximum collateral damage. It has happened so many times before in history and those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Hey buddy, might want to tuck that shirt in, your irrational hatred of Steam is showing.

Seriously though, perhaps it's obvious to you but I'm not sure anyone else gets what you mean by "anti-consumer policies" or "duping people into willingly abandoning their money". It helps to elaborate when shitting on a system that most people like so that there's a chance that they'll take you seriously, if only so they can refute your viewpoint.

viranimus:
One simple question has to be asked about this offering from Valve. Have they reversed their anti consumer policies and cease duping people into willingly abandoning money with nothing in exchange for it? Unless the answer to that question is an emphatic yes, every single other thing about it is 100% completely irrelevant. It is nothing but the proliferation of the cancer of the industry. Nothing else need be pondered or stated yet it still bears repeating it seems regardless of which company of the moment is trying to push the envelope in the war of attrition this time. It is not tolerable in any circumstance or under any conditions. Not from Microsoft, Not from EA, Not from Sony, Not from Valve. Not from ANYONE. EVER.

Utterly false and single-minded.

SteamOS will have a major effect in translating PC gaming as a whole to the Linux platform. That alone makes these exciting times, regardless of what you think of Valve's consumer policy on the Steam platform itself.

Infernal Lawyer:
Hey buddy, might want to tuck that shirt in, your irrational hatred of Steam is showing.

Seriously though, perhaps it's obvious to you but I'm not sure anyone else gets what you mean by "anti-consumer policies" or "duping people into willingly abandoning their money". It helps to elaborate when shitting on a system that most people like so that there's a chance that they'll take you seriously, if only so they can refute your viewpoint.

This is just what he does. He's taken it upon himself to bear the cross of "consumer rights" to the exclusion of sanity and artist rights. He's got a right to it, he just doesn't get very many people following him on it. I will admit that he's pretty good at what he does, though.

His point for years is that since you're only purchasing a "license" that can be revoked at any time, Steam is pure evil. He doesn't seem to comprehend that I'm entirely OK with merely "renting" the games I get on Steam, because I get them for so cheap. If Valve wiped my library tomorrow with good reason, I'd be really annoyed, but it wouldn't be a massive loss of investment. I'd only want Tomb Raider, Skyrim and Civilization V back.

He does have a point in that these ARE just "rentals", which is why if I have a choice between gog.com (who actually sells you a copy to do what you want with) and Steam, I'll pick gog.com every time. But for when there is no crossover, I have no problem with paying a comparitively small amount for a license.

I'm pretty stoked for the whole thing. I hope it'll be good but if it fails I can still use Windows at no loss. Valve is cemented into the PC gaming market so solidly that they won't budge even if this is a total flop.

sushkis2:
I get your point, but think about it, by releasing SteamOS, Valve are theoretically putting that tradeoff out of the equation. My point is - why worry about the ever expensive hardware upgrades, when you are presented with an opportunity to squeeze some more juice with a more sensible software setup? Even though, they have yet to prove themselves, if they can deliver on their promise. I, like many people have high hopes for Valve.

Yeah, I think we can agree that by stripping down the OS to its barest minimum and making it gaming-centric, we should see an upswing in performance for games. I don't think it will stop progress on the hardware, but that means the more affordable models will need to be replaced less often.

Regarding your old games - you don't seriously think of completely abandoning Windows are you? Looks like SteamOS' sole purpose is to get you a great gaming experience, not necessarily run any program you desire. How will you go on the internet, or write documents, or whatever else non gaming related? Hence, such opportunities open like Steam machines, if you're willing to dish out for it or if the machines end up far more superior than your PC, or multibooting, if you are satisfied with your rig and wish to equip it with SteamOS for gaming. I don't think there would actually be people who would actually abandon Windows altogether, if they do absolutely anything other than gaming from dawn til dusk.

A good number of people have long ago abandoned Windows to work exclusively with Linux distros. Unfortunately for me, I can't because my work requires Silverlight. As for why I'd want my old games to run on the SteamOS natively? I was thinking of building a mini-ITX LAN party/travel rig, and I was thinking of installing SteamOS on it exclusively. Streaming from my desktop is ok at home, but not when I travel to another location. Broadband isn't good enough in my country to support streaming across locations. Hence, the need to be able to run all my games natively.

PLEASE, don't ask Valve to have SteamOS or whatever else new product do what it isn't supposed to. Look at XBONE, look how laughable it looked after all of those announcements of those non-gaming functions, like TV, Skype and that fantasy football nonsense.

Valve doesn't have to do anything. Remember that Linux is a DIY platform. That means, so long as they keep it open, then some bloke out there is gonna come up with a Windows emulator that can fit my needs. Hell, I might even learn to program again and do it myself, if I'm so ever inclined.

Infernal Lawyer:

viranimus:
-insert insane rant here-

Hey buddy, might want to tuck that shirt in, your irrational hatred of Steam is showing.

Seriously though, perhaps it's obvious to you but I'm not sure anyone else gets what you mean by "anti-consumer policies" or "duping people into willingly abandoning their money". It helps to elaborate when shitting on a system that most people like so that there's a chance that they'll take you seriously, if only so they can refute your viewpoint.

He's probably talking about the fact that you're technically leasing, not owning, digital downloads. Probably uses it to justify his constant piracy of games from the publishers he mentioned. Otherwise, what the hell is he doing on a gaming website?

My guess is, he's a holdover from the time when Steam was still shit. That, or he has a shitty connection. Those are the usual suspects when it comes to irrational Steam hatred.

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