Valve Unveils Steam Machines, Hardware Beta Coming Soon

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You hear that? That's the waveform collapsing.

This console can play my Steam games, can be hacked, and it can be upgraded. Yeah, shit just got real.

This will seriously undermine the competition on the console market.

I'm really not sure what Valve is getting at here. From where I'm sitting, the issues are numerous.

1) To get any traction in the console world, Valve are going to have to heavily subsidize the unit cost. But it's not immediately clear where this money is going to be made back. If you buy one of these and then just play your existing library on it without increasing the amount of games you buy, then they'll be losing money on you.

2) Considering that the console market already has 3 big competitors, I have to wonder if there's actually room for a 4th party. Figuring out which console you should get in order to get certain exclusives is annoying enough as it is. This is the entertainment business, not car insurance sales.

3) Valve are only going to make a fraction of the games for this thing. 4 titles does not a console sell. They're going to need big contributions from all of the other game developers out there to build a decent software base. These game developers already have 3 or 4 platforms to worry about as it is, another mouth to feed might not be very welcome.

4) Valve have stated that you can hack and upgrade the console, but most of the console users I know don't CARE about being able to do this. They just want their console to frigging work without having to worry about what hardware they're using or the rest of the hassle that goes with PC gaming. Many people switched to console for this exact reason. Those who DO care will probably be better off just buying a PC. So what niche does this unit fill, exactly? For playing PC games on your TV? I have a HDMI lead for that. It cost me $10.

So yeah, I really don't see the point. IMHO Valve should probably stick to what they do best. Making kick-ass games. Let someone else worry about the hardware/OS.

Griffolion:

Andy Chalk:
-snip-

Browsing through groups for the Steam Universe group, and it can't be found. I'm in the UK. Chances are this is a US only beta invite. Massively disappointed in Valve.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamuniverse

I didn't see anything in the really short terms and conditions about region locked beta. I'm now eligible, and I'm in Canada, so you have a good chance.

malucullus:
I'm really not sure what Valve is getting at here. From where I'm sitting, the issues are numerous.

Let me try to answer them! You've overlooked a few things.

1) To get any traction in the console world, Valve are going to have to heavily subsidize the unit cost. But it's not immediately clear where this money is going to be made back. If you buy one of these and then just play your existing library on it without increasing the amount of games you buy, then they'll be losing money on you.

It's been said that brand loyalty is a company's biggest asset. Besides, if it makes Steam more appealing, then there will be more games sold on Steam, which is money in their pocket.

2) Considering that the console market already has 3 big competitors, I have to wonder if there's actually room for a 4th party. Figuring out which console you should get in order to get certain exclusives is annoying enough as it is. This is the entertainment business, not car insurance sales.

There's no extra effort needed to figure out where the exclusives are, because...

3) Valve are only going to make a fraction of the games for this thing. 4 titles does not a console sell. They're going to need big contributions from all of the other game developers out there to build a decent software base. These game developers already have 3 or 4 platforms to worry about as it is, another mouth to feed might not be very welcome.

...all the games that the console are on Steam. If they were going to put the game on Steam in the first place, then the game WILL at least be streamable on the Steam Machine, at no extra effort on the dev's part. And if they do want to put in some extra effort and make it run natively without streaming, they just have to make the game compatible with Linux, which is not excessively hard and increasingly common anyways.

4) Valve have stated that you can hack and upgrade the console, but most of the console users I know don't CARE about being able to do this. They just want their console to frigging work without having to worry about what hardware they're using or the rest of the hassle that goes with PC gaming. Many people switched to console for this exact reason. Those who DO care will probably be better off just buying a PC. So what niche does this unit fill, exactly? For playing PC games on your TV? I have a HDMI lead for that. It cost me $10.

It fills the "I'm not lugging my forty pound computer upstairs every day just to play my games on a TV" niche. (Not everyone has storage by their TV, you know.)

It fills the "I'm considering getting into PC gaming, but don't know where to start" niche.

It fills the "I've always wanted a console, but they're all too restrictive at the moment" niche.

It fills the "I want to make a robot-console that dances around to my games" niche.

It fills the "I want to take my Steam collection around with me and have a terrible laptop" niche.

But most importantly, it boosts Linux support, which is only a fantastic thing.

So yeah, I really don't see the point. IMHO Valve should probably stick to what they do best. Making kick-ass games. Let someone else worry about the hardware/OS.

I'm pretty sure what they actually do best is "hold a frightening stranglehold on all PC digital distribution". Expanding into non-PC territory seems like a good move to me.

After all, we've had Sony and Microsoft worrying about the hardware and OS, and that's only been good, hasn't it?

As a few others have said, I see a 3 in that star, and the final symbol looks like a pair of glasses. I'm hoping against hope it's HL3. But I can't hold my breath for 37 hours, so I won't do that.

lacktheknack:

Vigormortis:
3: The first reveals image was just a circle; an O; and it was SteamOS. The second was the same O, but in a box. (SteamBox) The latter is two circles linked with a plus. Which, in an obscure way, looks very much like a controller.

That makes me think more in terms of multiple OSs or connecting two boxes in an up-to-now unseen way.

OT: I just have to play a game in Big Picture mode and I'll be in the Beta draw (assuming they mistake my joystick for a gamepad).

I am very intrigued by how open-source the whole thing seems to be.

I'm willing to bet that it's source 2 and maybe Left for Dead 3.

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

Vigormortis:
3: The first reveals image was just a circle; an O; and it was SteamOS. The second was the same O, but in a box. (SteamBox) The latter is two circles linked with a plus. Which, in an obscure way, looks very much like a controller.

That makes me think more in terms of multiple OSs or connecting two boxes in an up-to-now unseen way.

OT: I just have to play a game in Big Picture mode and I'll be in the Beta draw (assuming they mistake my joystick for a gamepad).

I am very intrigued by how open-source the whole thing seems to be.

I'm willing to bet that it's source 2 and maybe Left for Dead 3.

I don't see how that ties to "O+O".

lacktheknack:

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

That makes me think more in terms of multiple OSs or connecting two boxes in an up-to-now unseen way.

OT: I just have to play a game in Big Picture mode and I'll be in the Beta draw (assuming they mistake my joystick for a gamepad).

I am very intrigued by how open-source the whole thing seems to be.

I'm willing to bet that it's source 2 and maybe Left for Dead 3.

I don't see how that ties to "O+O".

Well, based on what Nvidia has been hinting at on twitter and the fact that's there's two circles for Source 2 and two announcements.

imperial1scout:
They say 2014, hey? So in 2016 they should just be coming out

More like 2025. This is Valve we're talking about. It'll be the best thing out there...in 12 years.

Which will push EP3 out to 2050.

Sorry, Valve. Until you either release episode 3 or say it's dead(and provide a picture of the corpse), nothing you promise will be quite as interesting as the idea that EP3 may someday will be released.

Valve could give us a cure for cancer, free of charge and with no side effects, and it still wouldn't be quite as exciting as the prospect of episode 3.

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

shameduser:

I'm willing to bet that it's source 2 and maybe Left for Dead 3.

I don't see how that ties to "O+O".

Well, based on what Nvidia has been hinting at on twitter and the fact that's there's two circles for Source 2 and two announcements.

Can you link me to the relevant tweet? I'm not seeing anything on their feed. D:

If they make the PCs with modular hardware, where everything is compatible with everything else, is intelligently named (e.g. a 2000 series graphics card will always be better than a 1000 series), and can be swapped in a matter of seconds (e.g. just slide the old card out and slide the new one in - no opening of the box or plugging in cables) this could be a big success. The biggest hurdle to PC gaming is knowing your way around the hardware, knowing what's compatible with what, how big a psu you need, how to handle electronics without destroying them accidentally, etc. A n00b-proof PC that can be intuitively built and updated will kick fucking ass.

lacktheknack:

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

I don't see how that ties to "O+O".

Well, based on what Nvidia has been hinting at on twitter and the fact that's there's two circles for Source 2 and two announcements.

Can you link me to the relevant tweet? I'm not seeing anything on their feed. D:

Woops, I meant Facebook. Here's the post
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=659166877436106&set=a.133985876620878.19519.130554466964019&type=1&theater

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

shameduser:

Well, based on what Nvidia has been hinting at on twitter and the fact that's there's two circles for Source 2 and two announcements.

Can you link me to the relevant tweet? I'm not seeing anything on their feed. D:

Woops, I meant Facebook. Here's the post
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=659166877436106&set=a.133985876620878.19519.130554466964019&type=1&theater

Am... Am I just thick? D:

I don't see anything in that post hinting at Source Two, or even two announcements.

I guess this is good news for console players that want to play their steam games on their TV I guess? This thing doesn't appeal to me at all, because all the gaming I do is on a PC and I really like my chair + office combo.

I'm really looking forward to see what specs the Steambox will have and if it will be able to compete in terms of power with the next gen. If it's more powerful than them then the outcome will be quite interesting I think.

lacktheknack:

shameduser:

lacktheknack:

Can you link me to the relevant tweet? I'm not seeing anything on their feed. D:

Woops, I meant Facebook. Here's the post
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=659166877436106&set=a.133985876620878.19519.130554466964019&type=1&theater

Am... Am I just thick? D:

I don't see anything in that post hinting at Source Two, or even two announcements.

Well, in the past Nvidia has been VERY frictional with OpenGL drivers on Linux but they suddenly changed their tune right as SteamOS is announced seems to me that the Steam Machine will, by default, have an Nvidia GPU in them. As for the two announcements and one being source 2 and the other being a game is just a hunch 'cause 2 circles.

And this post http://i.imgur.com/pqqyicR.png made by some guy who is probably a Valve employee of some sort (or someone fucking with everyone). He was right that the Steam Machine was going to be announced but he was wrong that details about what it is, default config, that sort of thing, where going out today. Last time he was mostly right and will probably be mostly right on Friday. He says a game will be announced and that it will be bundled with new Nvidia cards, but only time will tell on that one.

I'll only be happy when the machine comes in a case that looks like a turret from Portal, or possibly like Glados. But this is awesome...I wish they'd released a bit more about the specs.

I tend to be very comfortable sitting in my office chair, gaming at my desk.. but our poor telly doesn't get near enough use. Considering none of the current consoles look to be in the slightest bit interesting and I already have a very sizeable Steam library that's only going to keep getting bigger, this looks like a good thing for me. Oh noez I must be a Valve fanboi. D:

lacktheknack:
It fills the "I've always wanted a console, but they're all too restrictive at the moment" niche.

Huh. What the robot-punching Christian warrior said.

edit: brainfart quotederp

Esotera:
I'll only be happy when the machine comes in a case that looks like a turret from Portal, or possibly like Glados. But this is awesome...I wish they'd released a bit more about the specs.

if it's capable of streaming games from your PC...in that situation..."the specs" are largely irrelevant.

Sleekit:

Esotera:
I'll only be happy when the machine comes in a case that looks like a turret from Portal, or possibly like Glados. But this is awesome...I wish they'd released a bit more about the specs.

if it's capable of streaming games from your PC...in that situation..."the specs" are largely irrelevant.

From the link it doesn't look like it's going to be a major feature, possibly with some of the lower spec models they'd do that. But the range of models seems to imply that the games will be run on the Steambox.

Dalisclock:

imperial1scout:
They say 2014, hey? So in 2016 they should just be coming out

More like 2025. This is Valve we're talking about. It'll be the best thing out there...in 12 years.

Which will push EP3 out to 2050.

Sorry, Valve. Until you either release episode 3 or say it's dead(and provide a picture of the corpse), nothing you promise will be quite as interesting as the idea that EP3 may someday will be released.

Valve could give us a cure for cancer, free of charge and with no side effects, and it still wouldn't be quite as exciting as the prospect of episode 3.

I think it's safe to say that Episode 3 is never going to be. Simply because the next Half-Life game will be simply "Half-Life 3". No episode moniker.

Newell has said, years ago in fact, that they've dropped the episodic release model in favor of full releases and games as a service.

Here're some relevant links:

http://gamerant.com/valve-no-more-episodes-half-life-3-robk-83787/
http://www.develop-online.net/news/37625/Newell-Weve-moved-beyond-the-episodic-model
http://kotaku.com/5799661/valve-turns-to-singleplayer+plus-not-no-more-singleplayer-says-chief

ToastiestZombie:

Chessrook44:
Maybe I'm stupid, but I'm still trying to rummage through all this techno markety mumbo jumbo trying to find a big blanket statement of JUST WHAT THIS THING IS.

Basically it's a range of PCs custom built to run Valve's new Operating System (Like Windows) that in itself is custom built for a living room gaming experience but with the openness of a PC instead of the closed platform like the Xbox One. So it's basically like an Apple Mac, but instead of being custom-built for Facebook and Instagram it's custom built for gaming.

Wait a minute. Did you just gave MAC as an example of open system? What is this i dont even....

PeePantz:

Video games are becoming (some can argue, already are) the most profitable form of entertainment. Gabe is one of the giants of the business and now he's about to roll the console and pc market into one. Soon, it'll be nerd hip and people will consume all that is Valve/Steam (legions already do).

while its definatelly the fastest growing form of entertainment (or, rather, the least falling at some points) movies industry still outperforms it when it comes to aboslute numbers. but now games do hold the most successful media launch ever thanks to GTA5.

I still refuse to use steam when i can, but thats getting harder all the time.

Toadfish1:
It will undoubtedly have good games, but, with Valve contracting out the manufacturing of these things, the manufacturers won't see any money from sales of games. Meaning they need to get all their value out of the machine itself. So they'll be hideously, hideously overpriced.

But consoles already are. For 500 dollars (xbone price) you can buy a PC box that is more powerful.

Griffolion:

Browsing through groups for the Steam Universe group, and it can't be found. I'm in the UK. Chances are this is a US only beta invite. Massively disappointed in Valve.

Well, if this is actual hardware test they may want to have people that are close enough to ship them the machines with regular ability for "fixing stuff" during the testing phase. and doing that across an ocean may not be so easy.

The Plunk:

Also, Steam just updated Half Life 2, Lost Coast, Episode 1 and Episode 2 at the same time. Valve trolling us, or could it be... a sign?!

But they have been updating them like almost every week for as long as i remmeber. they have a habit to update everything with every bit of change they do to Source engine, so likely engine got updated for some other game, and all games running on this engine got updated.

BoredRolePlayer:
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't changing the hardware one of the huge big deals with PC gaming already? Unless this is a cheaper box to get how is this any better then building a PC. I mean hell most gamers who play PC don't buy prefab systems, which is what these sound like.

Steam box will not have decades of myths and falsehoods told about it like they tell about PC, so there will be less "cant run anything without updating drivers constantnly" myths around. But yes, this seems to be a rebranded PC.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
It's not that I don't get the optimism...

I just see a lack of pessimism.

What this sounds like is a pre-built PC (the bane of THE MASTER RACE) pre-built with SteamOS and configured to work in the living room.

If this was anyone else but Steam, this forum would be full of pitchforks and torches. But because it's Steam, and people like Steam sales, apparently they can do no wrong.

Remember Ouya? when it was announced everyone cheered for "Free andoid console". When it was released....
Its going to be the same.

malucullus:
1) To get any traction in the console world, Valve are going to have to heavily subsidize the unit cost. But it's not immediately clear where this money is going to be made back. If you buy one of these and then just play your existing library on it without increasing the amount of games you buy, then they'll be losing money on you.

2) Considering that the console market already has 3 big competitors, I have to wonder if there's actually room for a 4th party. Figuring out which console you should get in order to get certain exclusives is annoying enough as it is. This is the entertainment business, not car insurance sales.

3) Valve are only going to make a fraction of the games for this thing. 4 titles does not a console sell. They're going to need big contributions from all of the other game developers out there to build a decent software base. These game developers already have 3 or 4 platforms to worry about as it is, another mouth to feed might not be very welcome.

4) Valve have stated that you can hack and upgrade the console, but most of the console users I know don't CARE about being able to do this. They just want their console to frigging work without having to worry about what hardware they're using or the rest of the hassle that goes with PC gaming. Many people switched to console for this exact reason. Those who DO care will probably be better off just buying a PC. So what niche does this unit fill, exactly? For playing PC games on your TV? I have a HDMI lead for that. It cost me $10.

1) very fair point and i wonder this too.
2) considering how everyone things that Xbone will fail, there may jsut be a space opening up.
3) if those titles are HL3 Portal 3, L4D 3 and a new CS, yes, 4 titles does a console sell.
4) being able to hack does not mean you have to hack. if you dont care - dont do it. if you care - do it. pretty much exactly liek how it is with PC. the difference is, those with traditional consoles cant if they care. nothing would change for your friends. What "Hasssle" do you find with PC gaming?
This nicnhe fills exactly people like you ninche, that wants PC gaming capabilities and have unreasonable believes about actual PC gaming. Steambox wont have that muchmyths and taint.

NoeL:
If they make the PCs with modular hardware, where everything is compatible with everything else, is intelligently named (e.g. a 2000 series graphics card will always be better than a 1000 series), and can be swapped in a matter of seconds (e.g. just slide the old card out and slide the new one in - no opening of the box or plugging in cables) this could be a big success. The biggest hurdle to PC gaming is knowing your way around the hardware, knowing what's compatible with what, how big a psu you need, how to handle electronics without destroying them accidentally, etc. A n00b-proof PC that can be intuitively built and updated will kick fucking ass.

but you CHOOSE that hurdle. you dont need to know any of this. a noob-proof PC already exists. they are called pre-built PCs. buy one. play games for 5 years. Buy new one in 5 years. you dont need to tackle hardware if you dont want to.

Esotera:

Sleekit:

Esotera:
I'll only be happy when the machine comes in a case that looks like a turret from Portal, or possibly like Glados. But this is awesome...I wish they'd released a bit more about the specs.

if it's capable of streaming games from your PC...in that situation..."the specs" are largely irrelevant.

From the link it doesn't look like it's going to be a major feature, possibly with some of the lower spec models they'd do that. But the range of models seems to imply that the games will be run on the Steambox.

i think the hardware development on this project is basically going to be a re run of what Goggle did with Android and the Nexus phones...

the important thing will be basically showing everyone else what to do...and not so much leaning on selling the hardware itself as much as establishing the platform and prototyping for everyone else to follow.

a "reference" design if you like to use a PC term...

as for running the games...i've no doubt the high end versions of the hardware will do that...but there is "a variety of systems of various capabilities"...and it seems to me at the low end there is likely to be a "thin client" which will do little more than facilitate streaming...

it'll be interesting to see just how "thin" that streaming client might be able to be...there are a couple consoles of the last generation or two might have some additional life left in them...i must admit even with my rather crappy PC and limited resources the potential possibly being able to download a bit freebie software and then stream say maybe modded Skyrim, Fallout or Torchlight II onto who knows? maybe an original xbox ? plugged into my TV is...potentially very interesting :)

and SteamOS will come to "old" consoles once certain people on the net get hold of it...

...ok, fair enough maybe not that old...but who knows just yet eh ?

and that's without touching on the (what i think is the very real) possibility that this new SteamOS may eventually be purposed to stream games directly from Valves servers...

Strazdas:

Remember Ouya? when it was announced everyone cheered for "Free andoid console". When it was released....
Its going to be the same.

the Ouya lacked games, market recognition/penetration and users.

Steam lacks none of these things.

there are already over half a million people using Steam in "Big Picture" living room boxes.

furthermore the Ouya was only one potential avenue for Android.

in 5 years time you won't be able to buy a TV going forward that isn't "Smart" and doesn't have either Android or dare i say it maybe even SteamOS installed on it as standard.

do any of you really think such things are going to exist without games on them ?

especially once the backbone required for "thin client" streaming matures due to the pressures that will be applied by the very console generation launching in just two months time.

image
this one already has OnLive game streaming

living room "convergence" is coming...but it won't require a separate box...forget the separate boxes...separate living room boxes are going to be gone in a few short decades if not sooner...

you may very well be looking at the some of the last games consoles ever come November.

this entire industry that people seem to think is somehow immutable is going to be knocked arse for elbow because why pay hundreds of bucks for a separate "console" of any description when you can stream any game in existence onto your TV (or "thin client" mobile device) straight from the makers/publishers servers ?

can you not see how this suits the makers/publishers ?

can you not see how this solves the insurmountable battery/rendering problem in mobile devices ?

and the only thing holding it back ? 4G, fibre optic roll-out and the like.

do-able tech that already exists, that will come, and that this console generation will ironically push...

hell, sonys Gaikai steaming doesn't require anything like a PS4 to work...and still they (and many others) can't seen to see the inevitable outcome of pursuing this technology coming...

Valve is now a player in the "open" cross platform arena going forward...more than that who knows...maybe they do well on their own...maybe they team up with google...Steam on Android ?...maybe the "iTV" blows everyone out the water...maybe EA/Activision start selling streamed games as apps on "iTV" and/or Android and/or ALL versions of Windows.

but imo whatever happens the days of "pick a team...buy an expensive box" will be dead and buried as soon as the dots between "game streaming" and "SmartTVs" are joined by anyone with half a business brain.

I would love it if Gaben just mumbled "oh, and by the way, half life 3 is getting released next year" at the end of the conference.

It would this conference thing so much awesome.

why wouldn't you just build your own computer and hook it up to a tv. more customization. and if this is running a special steam os wouldn't that mean most steam games not devolped by valve wouldn't work. like the ouya (and th PSvitaTV), I don't think this is going to sell. Unless I sea evidence that says otherwise I would say money would be better spent upgrading your computer and buying a 20 metre hdmi and usb cable (there like $30), and run them to your tv, there you go computer on tv

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