A Steam Library In Your Hands - An Interview With SMACH Z

A Steam Library In Your Hands - An Interview With SMACH Z

Can the SMACH Z Kickstarter bring Steam to handheld gaming? The Escapist talks with co-founder Daniel Fernandez to learn more.

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A generation later, the PS Vita and 3DS are lagging far behind their handheld peers.

I'm not really sure what "peers" means in this context. If it means that they have sold worse than Android and iOS devices in general, well, that doesn't mean much when you consider that most such devices are not purchased for gaming. It's like including business laptops when comparing PC sales to Xbox and Playstation.
If it means that the 3DS and Vita are doing worse than previous generations of handhelds? While this is certainly true of the Vita, which Sony hasn't really bothered to support, 3DS sales have been pretty consistently solid since 2012, with current life-to-date figures at 53.07 million (PDF warning). This is, admittedly, half of the DS's sales at this point in its life, so the statement would TECHNICALLY be true, but misleading. The 3DS's sales to date are quite healthy and not indicative that handheld gaming is going anywhere.

Despite constant claims by the games journalism industry that handheld gaming is on its way out, there really isn't any solid evidence to back this assertion up. A narrative doesn't become true just because it's commonly believed to be true. "Sold less than the DS" is a ridiculous benchmark to call failure, considering the DS outsold pretty much everything.

P.S. Thanks

I can't possibly be the only one voicing concerns about keeping the device cooled somehow. A modern smart phone can get extremely hot just from watching videos for extended periods of time. My laptop gets hot from gaming just like anyone else's and that has a fan in it. From the pictures I'm not seeing any heat outlet. I can't see it ending well if they don't/haven't addressed that.

Covarr:
The 3DS's sales to date are quite healthy and not indicative that handheld gaming is going anywhere.

Do the 3DS graphics and gameplay still appear to be on par with Gen 5 and 6 or consoles? Keeps me from wanting one. The Vita does a decent job of emulating Gen 7 (I'm old and my eyesite isn't what it had been but I cannot makeout a thing with PS4 link to Vita: I'll try eyeglasses when playing soon). In different ways, they both disappoint.

But this gives me hope. Fingers crossed. Might be too early, the tech may not be there yet. But when I first started messing with Android tablets, only a few years ago, they were slow and clunky. 1 or 2 cores. Now multi Gig Ram and Octoprcessors in thin, cool devices. We're getting there.

The Enquirer:
I can't possibly be the only one voicing concerns about keeping the device cooled somehow. A modern smart phone can get extremely hot just from watching videos for extended periods of time. My laptop gets hot from gaming just like anyone else's and that has a fan in it. From the pictures I'm not seeing any heat outlet. I can't see it ending well if they don't/haven't addressed that.

I have an i3 in a mini itx motherboard with a 20gb SSD, wireless card and 8gb of ram in about 2/3 of the space and also it's entirely passively cooled. PC's with this form factor are not exactly new the addition of a battery and touch screen will push up the heat but it's in a bigger space to compensate. I wouldn't worry about the heat.

What I would worry about is the performance. That chip will only play a limited number of games. If you think you will be play assassins creed on it forget it. At best you will only get 20 fps on low on a 2 year old game. You will be able play 2d games and things like Dota but it just doesn't have the juice to even play 2 year old AAA games.

albino boo:

What I would worry about is the performance. That chip will only play a limited number of games. If you think you will be play assassins creed on it forget it. At best you will only get 20 fps on low on a 2 year old game. You will be able play 2d games and things like Dota but it just doesn't have the juice to even play 2 year old AAA games.

I imagine the point is I can play Assassins Creed on it at home via streaming, then on the road play a bit of Spelunky, Invisible Inc and Baldurs Gate.

Rack:

albino boo:

What I would worry about is the performance. That chip will only play a limited number of games. If you think you will be play assassins creed on it forget it. At best you will only get 20 fps on low on a 2 year old game. You will be able play 2d games and things like Dota but it just doesn't have the juice to even play 2 year old AAA games.

I imagine the point is I can play Assassins Creed on it at home via streaming, then on the road play a bit of Spelunky, Invisible Inc and Baldur's Gate.

I could spend $300 on laptop and with gamepad and get better performance, more games because of steam under windows and because of the bigger screen better game play when streaming. The SMACH Z has the performance of tablet but because of the SteamOS less utility than the average tablet.

albino boo:

The Enquirer:
I can't possibly be the only one voicing concerns about keeping the device cooled somehow. A modern smart phone can get extremely hot just from watching videos for extended periods of time. My laptop gets hot from gaming just like anyone else's and that has a fan in it. From the pictures I'm not seeing any heat outlet. I can't see it ending well if they don't/haven't addressed that.

I have an i3 in a mini itx motherboard with a 20gb SSD, wireless card and 8gb of ram in about 2/3 of the space and also it's entirely passively cooled. PC's with this form factor are not exactly new the addition of a battery and touch screen will push up the heat but it's in a bigger space to compensate. I wouldn't worry about the heat.

What I would worry about is the performance. That chip will only play a limited number of games. If you think you will be play assassins creed on it forget it. At best you will only get 20 fps on low on a 2 year old game. You will be able play 2d games and things like Dota but it just doesn't have the juice to even play 2 year old AAA games.

Good point. I'd still like to see exactly how they're addressing the beat though.

And yea they are definitely going to need to upgrade the GPU because right now, if I recall correctly, it can barely handle BioShock infinite.

Kickstarter campaign canceled 5 hours ago.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smachteam/smach-z-the-first-handheld-steam-machine/posts/1445260

At this point though, android gaming handhelds with emulators seem like the best bang for buck for gaming handhelds. JXD, Nvidia shield, GPD, etc.

albino boo:

Rack:

albino boo:

What I would worry about is the performance. That chip will only play a limited number of games. If you think you will be play assassins creed on it forget it. At best you will only get 20 fps on low on a 2 year old game. You will be able play 2d games and things like Dota but it just doesn't have the juice to even play 2 year old AAA games.

I imagine the point is I can play Assassins Creed on it at home via streaming, then on the road play a bit of Spelunky, Invisible Inc and Baldur's Gate.

I could spend $300 on laptop and with gamepad and get better performance, more games because of steam under windows and because of the bigger screen better game play when streaming. The SMACH Z has the performance of tablet but because of the SteamOS less utility than the average tablet.

But the form factor would be nowhere even close to as good. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't spend $300 on something like this either but it does at least occupy an interesting niche separate to a laptop, ultrabook or even tablet.

Rack:

But the form factor would be nowhere even close to as good. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't spend $300 on something like this either but it does at least occupy an interesting niche separate to a laptop, ultrabook or even tablet.

As Cerebrawl states above, the kickstarter has been pulled. Two of the reasons given, is demand for windows support and and lack of performance of AMD SoC. It could work but I'm not sure there is big enough market at the cost for handheld that could truly play PC games.

 

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