Valve Plans Living-Room Gaming PCs for 2013

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Urgh. I know what I'm not getting. I want less Steam and more GOG, not the other way around. There'll certainly be people who would buy that aplenty, though. What exactly would be the difference to other consoles, though, besides the different inventory of games? I don't see the point. In what way is this supposed to not be just another console?

Meh, I honestly see valve running into tons of problems with this. With consoles they usually have the whole "certification process" where they at least make sure the damn game at least starts when you pop the disc in. Steam really hasn't done this kind of quality control. It's happened numerous times where games have flat out not worked on launch, much to the anger of the consumers, and valve's answer is lol no refunds and they're not exactly putting the pressure on the developer to fix the problem; see Rage or Dead Island. The idea of a streamlined console is that the company is going to go out and try to fix the problem that normally pc users would have to trouble shoot themselves. Valve just can't throw a stream lined PC out there and say good luck. They're going to have to get involved, and considering they haven't done it already I really don't see them suddenly stepping up to the plate.

Not sure what to think of this...

Valve is steamrolling so much of the PC game market, and they're doing it by offering better deals than equivalent consoles (moving past that whole hardware cost issue...which is what they're addressing here, and what others have discussed before in this topic).

On the other hand, I can't help but shake the feeling that giving Valve even more market presence could end badly.
Especially if they ever decide to flip on their policy, ending in one giant DRM-nightmare scenario.

Call me cautiously optimistic.

This is a good idea. I wouldn't need to buy an expensive gaming computer with all the bells and whistles so that I can play the good pc games and content that can't get elsewhere. Now I can buy a normal, more convenient pc like an all-in-one or a laptop that weighs less than 12 pounds

I already have a steam gaming console, and I can play it and watch tv at the same time. e_e

It'll be interesting how Valve handles breaking in to already established market. It'll also be interesting to see a console from someone who actually knows what the hell they're doing.

LOL what evideance is there to prove that? Steam is a mess, slow, still full of bugs, still crashes without reason, still takes over a minute to log in and still goes tits up at the slightest breath of a sale, Valve barely know what they are doing in the market they are meant to be leading in, what on earth makes you think they have a clue what they are doing in a market that they have NO experience in, even MS had at least a small bit of hardware knowledge under their belt before XBox came online, Valve have nothing, not a thing.

I think Valve will be fine as far as breaking into the console market goes, all they have to do is list the number of games available on Steam (and that they're cheaper than other systems to buy, usually). The sheer crushing weight of having entire series back catalogs available right now, with free online play and very little in the way of publisher enforced 'support' ought to give them a big run in the advertising stakes.

Not quite, Sony and MS have the likes of EA and Ubisoft games on their systems, given that Ubisoft and EA have both come up with Steam alternatives for the PC I can't see them jumping at the chance to support what is effectively a console designed to help Steam and which ever way you slice it that is a HUGE market of games the Steambox would lose out on.

How is it full of contradictions?

The article I read about this had Gabe saying these two things

"The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions," he said. "Customers can find the ones that work best for them."

Followed by

Newell suggests that the company will create its own carefully managed PC ecosystem that's distinct from the one offered by other hardware partners

Those are contradictions how can you find a solution that works best for you when Valve are planning on having a carefully managed ecosystem? Doesn't make any sense.

Steam already exists, so that enormous cost is largely negated as Valve have the infrastructure ready, they would just be adding more users. If they avoid developing proprietary hardware that's another massive cost avoided.
You can already build system based on a Pentium (or let's be wild and say a Core) or AMD A-series chip, with a low level gpu (AMD77xx or GTX650) for under $500, at retail as an individual consumer.

Missed some vital things

a). The existing system they have can barely cope with the users they have let alone with any significant increase in new users.
b). You think MS is going to give them a bulk discount on MS licenses if their system uses Windows, which it will have to if they want to tap straight in to their current game catalogue, alongside driver support, if not then you have
c). They go down the route of their own OS or a Linux variant in which case their back catalogue is useless because it would require the developers to convert their games to work on Linux or whatever OS Valve use, can you see developers doing that? If that does happen you then have
d). I have a gaming PC that will crush anything Valve bring out, I also have a Steam catalogue of over 50 games, if I buy a Steambox will I get free copies of my current Steam catalogue to play on it? If not why not, do they think I will happily split my Steam list between two separate media or rebuy games I already own? Why would I just not wait for a PC version of the game and buy it on my current Steam account? Exclusives that work on Steam box only, great way to piss off a user base who has sunk a lot of cash in to their current system.

Valve do this they are gonna have to sink a lot of cash in to it and accept that even then the console won't come out on top I know Gabe thinks that the many many fanboys will just blindly follow whatever Valve does to be honest that is the only way this mad idea will fly.

The second I read this I immediately thought..
They're going too release Half-Life 3 as this thing's first exclusive.
It makes so much sense too me, and it'll utterly and finally kill all confidence and trust in Valve as a corporation, damning them too the pits that Micro$oft and $ony occupy.

I don't have a pc capable of running Steam so I'd swing for this. I can definately see myself forsaking the ol' xbox (the future one) for something new

I don't have a pc capable of running Steam so I'd swing for this. I can definately see myself forsaking the ol' xbox (the future one) for something new

I will buy this, if it means I can PC game on a console.

My solution was pretty turnkey - picked up PC, walked into living room, plugged in to TV and tuner, done. Setting up my surround sound was more complicated than that. It's gotten so much easier to do the living room PC thing in recent years, but I guess there's still a psychological barrier for some folks.

As long as Valve doesn't ever restrict their services to proprietary hardware, I'm all for this.

I suspect that a more definitive description of the Steam Box would be a Linux Box; there's no reason to pay Microsoft royalties with some sort of lightweight OS. And if Valve knew what was good for them, they will stay away from using 'PC' in the description for it.

This announcement is a good move for Valve and I hope they're successful. But if they really want to make a profit then they're going to have to reach out to a specific section of the public. I'm not necessarily referring to 'casual gamers' but people who are afraid of maintaining a PC. Don't say it's a PC for your living room. Just put the tech in there and let people be amazed. This has been done for years with DVD/Blu-ray players that have wireless hardware connections and Netflix built-in. I suspect that your average consumer will cringe at the thought of having another PC to maintain. Think about it, I bet you know, or are related to at least one person who doesn't maintain their tower or laptop, running the minimal amount of RAM required.

Valve's already got my vote, but I'm genuinely console agnostic. I love games no matter which platform they're released on. Just please, don't associate yourselves with PCs. Windows Vista is still in recent memory, and with all the rumors floating around about how Microsoft was being bad for gaming with Windows 8, Valve needs to distance themselves from the image of the typical PC.

NotSoNimble:
Make it less than or around $300, give it all the exclusives consoles get, and let it play new AAA games 8 years from now, and I might be interested.

lol

We know that won't happen.

Consoles get exclusives? I know the PS3 gets a few here and there...but almost all games seem to come out on all platforms.

But then again, I do miss the days where each platform had a mad amount of exclusive AAA games. Hell, the entire console community raged when Crysis was PC only. And how CryTech said it'd never run on console. And then years later, it ran on consoles. On full settings. Fine.

So, basically Valve is making a console? I guess I understand it from a business sense, but not really from a practical sense. Sounds like it would be a lot easier and cheaper for me to just stay on the PC. I have no problem with this as long as there aren't any "Steambox Exclusives"

Now the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that Gabe's comments bashing Windows 8 were all done deliberately to plant the seeds for this announcement

Also, since the "hardware will be a very controlled environment", won't this even worsen the "end of a console cycle" effect after a few years?

Irridium:
And I know Steam is a closed system. I was just pointing out how it's interesting that Valve (Newell, specifically) has constantly decried closed systems, yet runs one of their own and will now be releasing another closed system.

Sure, but there's a rather big difference between a content-service like Steam and an operating system like Windows or MacOS.

These are the "closed systems" Gabe Newell often refers to. The systems that are essentially unavoidable to anyone wanting to provide software to a specific audience.

If Steam is a "closed system", the only people it affects is those using Steam. PC gaming, and software distribution as a whole, barely notices.

If Windows or MacOS go fully "closed", then every single computer user and every software developer are affected. (save for the Linux base, of course)

That's the issue he often brings up.

Just thought I'd clarify.

Covarr:
"Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC."
Note that he said the hardware will be a very controlled environment. I'm guessing this is just so there can be more standardized specs that are easier to target, as opposed to the millions of possible PC configurations. He didn't say anything about controlled software. Maybe I'm taking this too literally, but I suspect people are reading too far into this.

P.S. Thanks

No, I think you've hit the nail on the head. He said the "hardware" is the controlled environment. Which, unless we start speculating or reading more into the sentence than is there, simply means the systems will have a unified hardware profile.

Which...honestly?...excites me greatly. The idea of having a unified hardware profile (consoles) with an open software environment (PCs) sounds like an incredible idea. Especially for gaming.

Whoever brings such a device to fruition; Valve or otherwise; I'm completely on board. I'd buy it up in a heart-beat.

Spartan212:

Also, since the "hardware will be a very controlled environment", won't this even worsen the "end of a console cycle" effect after a few years?

How so?

Keep in mind he said "very controlled environment" in regards to the hardware, not the software.

With a unified hardware profile, but an open software environment, you'd see a FAR less jarring transition between "system" releases.

Not to mention, backwards compatibility will be much, much easier to accomplish and therefore, more than likely, a far more common occurrence.

Think of it this way, with this type of build model, you could (in theory) play any game from your NES, SNES, N65, Gamecube, and Wii on your Wii-U without having to rebuy them.

Reaper195:
Hell, the entire console community raged when Crysis was PC only. And how CryTech said it'd never run on console. And then years later, it ran on consoles. On full settings. Fine.

Crysis is running on full settings on consoles?

I think the consoles have the settings somewhere around enabling foliage.

Valve has finally done what i've been hoping someone would do for years: create a 'standard' PC for people who want to play PC quality games but simply don't have the knowledge to get one for themselves (and it is a pain to learn it all if you don't know where to start). It lowers the barrier of entry to PC titles in terms of knowledge, and that's the only real issue with PC gaming, it's not like it costs all that much more in the long run.

It wont have any negative effect on 'normal' PC's as all it's doing is basically adding a standardized minimum spec, much like a console does now. The difference is that the 'steambox' would be updated more often as it's not just valve doing it. It also means someone can walk into a shop and buy a 'gaming PC' that they know will do the job.

I fail to see the issue with this. Not to mention it'll have many of the advantages of normal PC's but with less complexity. When you get a new console, backward compatibility is a minefield. When you get a new steambox, not only will all the games run, they'll run better. It'll be like having halo 4 running at 1080/60fps on the xbox 720 without any hassle. Then there's all the great things like you can play with anyone else who has any form of PC or steambox: linux, Mac, PC, laptop, desktop, steambox - anything that can run steam, and because it's not a 'new' community like a new console is, it'll have a good, active multiplayer community from the get go.

P.S. To people saying 'where are the exclusives?!' PC gaming has more exclusives than all console platforms combined every single year. A lot of them also sell a lot more than the console exclusives (especially PS3 ones). You just don't hear about it because PC gaming as a whole doesn't need to make investors happy. It's also why you never hear much fanfare about PC having more people on steam than xbox live does, and league of legends making CoD look like small fry in terms of players. The companies who're making that money don't need their competitors to know ;)

Easton Dark:

Reaper195:
Hell, the entire console community raged when Crysis was PC only. And how CryTech said it'd never run on console. And then years later, it ran on consoles. On full settings. Fine.

Crysis is running on full settings on consoles?

I think the consoles have the settings somewhere around enabling foliage.

Crysis was roughly medium settings at 720p/30fps on console. Far from max :) I think people just got confused when people said consoles can't run crysis. They always could run crysis, but they can't 'run crysis' in the way that 'running crysis' was meant - 1080p/30fps+ at ultra. It's a world apart from what consoles can produce, and that was 2007.

Who is this being marketed to?

Do people really want the chunkiness of their PC tied to a tv?
Console gaming makes sense to me because it offers the ease of a controller with general convenience and comfort of your living room.

Is this intended to be a true console with focus on a controller?
If so, why would someone buy it when there are no exclusives and more choice through their competitors?
Half the games on steams library would play poorly with a traditional controller over mouse and keyboard.

It seems to make a lot more sense to let Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo use Steam on their online stores rather than try and compete with your own Living-Room Gaming PC/Console.

I'm actually oddly enough really interested in this. I've always wanted to get a gaming PC but never really had the money or motivation. My laptop plays modern games well enough, with a few games that aren't exactly playable, but if the price point is right, and it has mouse and keyboard functionality I could see myself buying this day one.

Vigormortis:

Spartan212:

Also, since the "hardware will be a very controlled environment", won't this even worsen the "end of a console cycle" effect after a few years?

How so?

Keep in mind he said "very controlled environment" in regards to the hardware, not the software.

With a unified hardware profile, but an open software environment, you'd see a FAR less jarring transition between "system" releases.

Not to mention, backwards compatibility will be much, much easier to accomplish and therefore, more than likely, a far more common occurrence.

Think of it this way, with this type of build model, you could (in theory) play any game from your NES, SNES, N65, Gamecube, and Wii on your Wii-U without having to rebuy them.

My thought is that since the hardware is controlled, in 5 years it will be outdated. The same way that the Xbox's graphics and AI today are considered behind the times. New games lose their luster the longer a console is out

Laughing Man:

The article I read about this had Gabe saying these two things

"The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions," he said. "Customers can find the ones that work best for them."

Followed by

Newell suggests that the company will create its own carefully managed PC ecosystem that's distinct from the one offered by other hardware partners

Those are contradictions how can you find a solution that works best for you when Valve are planning on having a carefully managed ecosystem? Doesn't make any sense.

How is that a contradiction? Valve isn't the computer Nazis who are going to force you to use their system. They are offering another solution. One that PC users are free to choose if they feel it works best for them; as was explained in the first quote. It's still going to be a free country and you will still be allowed to purchase whatever computer system you want. I know, I'm relieved too, I also thought valve was going to start suspending civil liberties and break into peoples houses to dismantle their computers for being 'non-regulation.'

Laughing Man:

Steam already exists, so that enormous cost is largely negated as Valve have the infrastructure ready, they would just be adding more users. If they avoid developing proprietary hardware that's another massive cost avoided.
You can already build system based on a Pentium (or let's be wild and say a Core) or AMD A-series chip, with a low level gpu (AMD77xx or GTX650) for under $500, at retail as an individual consumer.

Missed some vital things

a). The existing system they have can barely cope with the users they have let alone with any significant increase in new users.
b). You think MS is going to give them a bulk discount on MS licenses if their system uses Windows, which it will have to if they want to tap straight in to their current game catalogue, alongside driver support, if not then you have
c). They go down the route of their own OS or a Linux variant in which case their back catalogue is useless because it would require the developers to convert their games to work on Linux or whatever OS Valve use, can you see developers doing that? If that does happen you then have
d). I have a gaming PC that will crush anything Valve bring out, I also have a Steam catalogue of over 50 games, if I buy a Steambox will I get free copies of my current Steam catalogue to play on it? If not why not, do they think I will happily split my Steam list between two separate media or rebuy games I already own? Why would I just not wait for a PC version of the game and buy it on my current Steam account? Exclusives that work on Steam box only, great way to piss off a user base who has sunk a lot of cash in to their current system.

a) That does not even make sense, you are going to have to cite your sources because I can pull down a superfluous amount of data off of steam with little to no lag. Which tells me that they have more than enough bandwidth for the users they currently have and thus could easily take on new ones.
b) Yes I do. Why wouldn't they? Microsoft has always been lax on piracy because it knows that the more people steal it, the more software becomes completely reliant on it, the more legitimate customers have to actually buy it. By helping bankroll another system they would be forcing more developers to design for windows, and instead of having it stolen they would be making a profit while they do it. Its 100% smart business to incentivize valves system, and it's business strategies like that one, that put them in their position at the top of the whole industry.
c) This relies on Microsoft being stupid. And even if they do it, valve could retrofit games themselves if they so chose.
d) Yes, because forcing you to create a new account and buy games again totally makes more sense than having you just log in using your existing account. I can't imagine what world you think any company including valve would do that in. It's a computer like any other. He never said anything about exclusives so I'm really not sure where you are getting these ideas from. It's just a hierarchically designed computer: mass produced so that it comes cheaper, is easier to set up, and presumably has stronger hardware than consoles do.

Laughing Man:
Valve do this they are gonna have to sink a lot of cash in to it and accept that even then the console won't come out on top I know Gabe thinks that the many many fanboys will just blindly follow whatever Valve does to be honest that is the only way this mad idea will fly.

Yes you're right; no one would follow the mad idea that your brain imagined based on nothing. And its probably a good thing, because you have some really weird ideas on how business, economics, and computing hardware/software work.

So its just a pre-fab PC that happens to be mass-produced and designed specifically for gaming and presumably runs nothing but Steam (saving on some stuff like licensing Windows).

EDIt : Or actually, a ton of STeam games are Windows-based, and I doubt MS is going to give them a deal on licensing the OS for an Xbox competitor. So the Steambox'll only play Linux versions? Or they'll be expensive as heck?

Thats not entirely innovative. The only advantage I'm seeing over any other pre-fab PC is it'll be able to tell you quickly whether the game will run or not, which isn't a gigantic effort to go hit up SRL or something to begin with. Its still going to fall into console lag-behind too, unless they pop a new one off every 2 years (minimally) which'll get expensive pretty fast.

I'm all up for more options but...who's this appealing to?

PC gamers? Yeah, maybe, but something tells me they might not be attracted to the more typical "playing in the living room" idea.
Console gamers? Well, I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but in my case, I still prefer to get physical copies of my games unless I have no other choice.

I dunno, Valve. Color me doubtful.

Finally.
It's funny to see how the current face of PC gaming is transitioning into consoles.
That said, while I dislike Valve, this is a good thing.
If one of the consoles supports mice/keyboards, and mods, pretty soon all of them will.

Not sure what to think of this really.

It would be nice if this was a cost effective way of me being able to play Team Fortress 2 at a decent framerate. But even then, I'm not sure.

I connected my pc to the big tv and now... living room gaming

Irridium:
But I guess it makes sense Valve would be fine with it when Valve's in control.

And their fans will be, too. Because it's okay when the people you like do something that's otherwise considered wrong or evil.

It amuses me how many people bring up exclusive titles as a reason for "Steambox" not succeeding.

Has everyone neglected to notice that this generation has ushered in the cross-platform releases? At the beginning of the current gen, when consoles were still fresh, both Sony and Microsoft assumed that exclusive titles would be of paramount importance to their success. Sure enough exclusive titles played a big role at the beginning of the generation, but now most major developers have went cross-platform.

The fact remains - no matter how much money either Microsoft or Sony will pay a developer to keep a title exclusive to a specific platform, the developer will still make more money by having their titles cross-platform.

The only exception to title exclusivity applies to consoles such as the Wii because of how different the input device is from other consoles.

uchytjes:
Y'know what I can see valve doing? Releasing a certain game as a timed exclusive for people who buy the "steam box." Isn't that kinda what they did when steam was first released?

While this does make sense, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has already been released and is being advertised as having full controller support in Big Picture mode.

NotSoNimble:
Make it less than or around $300, give it all the exclusives consoles get, and let it play new AAA games 8 years from now, and I might be interested.

so basically you want Steambox to be something noone has ever accomplished?

Isnt PC is already a living-room gaming PC? i mean mine sits in my living room and everyone i know as well. maybe people who have more rooms than items would need something like this.

I'd like to have a PC hooked up to my TV that isn't so big and loud.

step 1: replace that worm off cooler for 5 dollars.
step 2: hook it to whatever you want
sucess.

d) Yes, because forcing you to create a new account and buy games again totally makes more sense than having you just log in using your existing account. I can't imagine what world you think any company including valve would do that in.

One word: Origin.

Marendithias:
Interesting idea. A console that plays PC games. Since it is independent from any specific manufacturer this could be really good for not only the pc gaming but gaming as a whole.

Think about it. This thing is immune to the issues of the "console generation" which means that we don't have to wait a full 5 to 8 years for more advanced hardware and games that can take advantage of that hardware. This would also mean that we will see companies competing to bring faster and more powerful hardware to the market at a much higher rate. In other words, it would be a driving force for improving computing technology (something that has really been stagnating the last 5 years or so - thank you consoles). It also has near perfect backwards compatibility (as good as any pc).

This thing sounds great if multiple manufactures get on board with it (which they will).

My thoughts exactly, I dont know if people remember how fast the technology was improving before the current console generation. Do you remember how much of an improvement Far cry and HL2 was over everything before it?

Irridium:
It'll be interesting how Valve handles breaking in to already established market. It'll also be interesting to see a console from someone who actually knows what the hell they're doing. Sony's bungling along, Microsoft seems to be getting less and less interested in games and more interested in ads, and Nintendo... well we'll see how the Wii U turns out.

Also a bit odd to see Valve releasing a closed system, since they've always been on about how closed systems sucks. Specifically about Microsoft's Windows 8 and Xbox Live, and Apple. But I guess it makes sense Valve would be fine with it when Valve's in control.

well just like MS did when sega nintendo and sony had it established. and the second part i think your slightly misreading, the hardware will be locked down ie its going to be a fixed setup like all consoles have been.

They havent said anything about the open ness or closed ness of the Operating system. your leaping to judgement there.

but this gives me a bit of a semi boner, my hope is they will use a LINUX based OS this will provide pressure on nvidia to make better drivers for that OS and make it feasible for the PC crowd to drop windows like a bad habit.

other options are windows.. well don't see MS letting them for one and they would be loathe to do that anyway or make a propriety system which doesn't make a lot of sense either. much better to have their produce under one OS rather than 3.

this could be good news , time will tell but im gonna go on the optimistic side of this one for a change

shiajun:
OK, am I missing something? A plug and play gaming PC with controlled hardware that you use in your living room isn't going to compete against consoles, it is a console. Way to try spin re-inventing the wheel into a PR success. Valve, you seem to be losing your grip.

That's what I thought and so far this thread to me seems like most people only read the article title...

OT: Meh, sounds like a console, not a gaming PC, if it's a closed system that I can't change components in what the hell is the point?

A console is a console Valve. Nice PR spin.

I like the idea of a steam console. To be honest it is high time that another console war starts anyway and it looks like linux based consoles are going to be the new guy on the block given Onya and the Steam box.

Most of the people in this thread are completely missing the point, which I don't understand. "Hur dur I already have a gaming computer" "hur you can just hook said gaming pc up to TV". Well no kidding, this isn't aimed at you really.
This is aimed at the average joe and jenny. This is aimed at people who want to play games but don't want to invest time, money, on a gaming computer. Especially when they don't really know comptuers to begin with. This isn't aimed at hardcore PC gamers primarily, this is solidly aimed at the XBOX, and PS3 market.

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