Microsoft VP Marc Whitten Isn't Worried About Steam Machines

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Zachary Amaranth:
in a declining market.

Um? Are you referring to niche PCs, or PCs in general?

Anyway, I've always read Steam Machines as Gamer-Oriented prebuilts. Prebuilt machines, up until now, were always geared towards people that didn't want to bother, or know how to, build their own. They were build as general-purpose multimedia machines. People bought them because it was easier than doing it yourself and it accomplished the goal you had.

If your goal is 'I want to play PC games' but are limited by the time, effort or knowledge you can devote to getting started, dropping $500-$1k for a certified gaming machine that will let you play whatever PC games you want will sound like an amazing deal to quite a lot of people. Especially since most prebuilt computers cost that ballpark if you just walk into a Best Buy or whatever. If you have a $500-$1k workstation computer at Best Buy and a $500-$1k gaming computer that's confirmed and spec'd as a gaming computer specifically - and your goal is gaming, it makes it real easy to decide what to do.

If you already know how to do your own builds, it won't be so relevant.

Zachary Amaranth:
Booga

Yeesh, you make one comment in regards to saying something that will blow up in your face, and people jump all over ya. Let it go. It's an expression and it amuses me to say so.

Andy of Comix Inc:
""When you get into that living room environment, you don't want to spend any of your brain cells doing anything but being entertained. I don't want to work on it; I don't want to feel like I have to know how it works. I would like to be blowing things up now, or watching a thing now."

After the game installs.

After the patch downloads.

After the console firmware updates.

After I log in to my account.

After I wave at the Kinect to get it to recognize my fat stupid face.

Anything else?

You forgot reading and agreeing to the updated terms of service, which you can scroll through at a convenient 2 lines per second; and for some reason agreeing is as simple as clicking a button but if you want to opt out of a clause you'll have to do so in writing sent via physical mail.

Edit: The universe has a sense of humor: when I tried to post this I was asked to read and agree to the Escapists updated forum code of conduct.

Eh, I dislike the Xbone/MS as much as the next guy, but I don't see why they would be worried.

When Valve set out on this venture, it sounded like they were making some lower/mid tier gaming PCS with standard configs (to avoid the hurdles of settings tweaking) to compete with consoles. Presumably setup with SteamOS and some sort of pre-configuration to work with TVs and gamepads. Sound enough idea, I guess. Still behind a hurdle of getting the developers to all hop into your Linux OS, which hasn't become a norm by any means, but OK.

Now as these things are getting announced, they're all over the place in specs, so it looks like you have no advantage of auto-config. Only one or two of them is remotely price-competitive with the consoles. Topping it off, there's been no real big guns jumping in to mention their releasing games on Linux in the news, which doesn't inspire much confidence in the launch library (They'll have some older existing titles, but in the console market, thats not nearly as much of a draw as the online community might make it seem).

As sort of a final note, the larger portion of these are coming off online retailers. More people are shopping online, but a certain bulk of the "living room" market are still favoring the old brick and mortar retail.

Yeah, because the VP of a rival company is ever going to admit to losing to their competitors, whether its true or not... Seriously, what else would he say, "Oh, that new Steambox is looking pretty good, looks like I'm going to be out of a job soon."

Slow news day?

i hope everyone here focused on this line

"When you get into that living room environment, you don't want to spend any of your brain cells doing anything but being entertained

because his argumentation is clearly retarded.
lets see, you have to install games and updates on your xbox one.
you have to install and update games on a pc/steambox. plus you can mod it and use fan made patches that most times work better than the official patches.

also things.

Marc Whitten is absolutely right.

Console manufacturers needn't worry until Valve standardizes the SteamBox, reduces the number of options, and significantly lowers the price point.

Now someone get me some steel wool and a gallon of bleach so I can scour my god-damn mouth out.

MinionJoe:
Marc Whitten is absolutely right.

Console manufacturers needn't worry until Valve standardizes the SteamBox, reduces the number of options, and significantly lowers the price point.

Why would Valve be responsible for any of that?

People don't seem to realize what Valve is doing with the Steam Machine. They're not trying to make their own console. They're trying to make more people use Steam. It's all about Steam for Valve. And Steam is all about your Steam library. Once people get hooked on their Steam library it's game over. Valve wins. They're not the ones making Steam Machines. The only piece of hardware that is theirs is the controller. They just make the software and let other companies create their own Steam Machines. Standardization and price point is the problem that Steam Machine manufacturers face. They're competing with each other and Valve wins every time one of those Machines is sold. Valve can't lose in this scenario. It's brilliant when you think about it.

Adam Jensen:

Why would Valve be responsible for any of that?

If they're not responsible for it, then they need to take responsibility for it. If all they're doing is releasing a modded version of Linux and a tactile controller, then they've already lost.

With no guidance, all these manufacturers are going to do is release reboxed PCs at their usual (or even inflated) prices. We're already seeing this. And what's been announced is certainly not competitive with existing consoles.

Valve should step in, limit SteamBox hardware to, say, one design with 2-3 levels of options. This will restrict hardware production into specific components. Then "economies of scale" will reduce the price on those components.

This will bring the price point down, reduce customer confusion and uncertainty (ever been stuck behind a newbie at HuHot?), and will make the SteamBox competitive with existing consoles.

Simply dumping a few more options for "a gaming PC for the living room" into the market is not sufficient, as most people can already make one of these themselves if they want.

MinionJoe:

Adam Jensen:

Why would Valve be responsible for any of that?

If they're not responsible for it, then they need to take responsibility for it. If all they're doing is releasing a modded version of Linux and a tactile controller, then they've already lost.

With no guidance, all these manufacturers are going to do is release reboxed PCs at their usual (or even inflated) prices. We're already seeing this. And what's been announced is certainly not competitive with existing consoles.

Valve should step in, limit SteamBox hardware to, say, one design with 2-3 levels of options. This will restrict hardware production into specific components. Then "economies of scale" will reduce the price on those components.

This will bring the price point down, reduce customer confusion and uncertainty (ever been stuck behind a newbie at HuHot?), and will make the SteamBox competitive with existing consoles.

Simply dumping a few more options for "a gaming PC for the living room" into the market is not sufficient, as most people can already make one of these themselves if they want.

That is something that the nature of free market and healthy competition will fix on its own.

Marc, Marc, Marc, how very short sighted of you, and that's not a nice surprise since you are the VP of Microsoft and should probably think of things in the long term at least once in a while.

Of course its not going to take the world by storm or change anything significant, its a PC that requires another PC (with your operating system on it) to do what it is intended to do. But if this thing succeeds at turning a profit then it has the potential to erode the need for that Windows PC. Many indie developers are already taking steps to make sure their games can be played on both operating systems, over time developers could switch sides entirely if Windows became irreverent to them.

Its just one more way for your OS to become irrelevant. I know the only reason I still have a windows PC is because I game on it, and nothing else, it has no other purpose to me. How many other people feel the same way I wonder?

The very idea that Linux stands to gain ground as a legit gaming PC should have you worried. Especially now that Steam is medaling in these affairs it should have you shitting your pants.

It'll take a long time still, but with Steam to back it up it actually stands a chance.

Areloch:

If your goal is 'I want to play PC games' but are limited by the time, effort or knowledge you can devote to getting started, dropping $500-$1k for a certified gaming machine that will let you play whatever PC games you want will sound like an amazing deal to quite a lot of people.

Except that's not what a Steam Machien is offering, given the OS involved.

FalloutJack:

Yeesh, you make one comment in regards to saying something that will blow up in your face, and people jump all over ya. Let it go. It's an expression and it amuses me to say so.

Your statement is still incorrect. You're still apparently saying it'll "blow up in his face," and it'd unlikely to do that. You're making excuses still. "It's an expression" which is wrong here.

Zachary Amaranth:
Zoop

That's not an excuse. That's one man trying too hard to make something serious of what's not. You don't get to decide the meaning of what I say.

FalloutJack:

That's not an excuse. That's one man trying too hard to make something serious of what's not. You don't get to decide the meaning of what I say.

You defended it. You can't say "it's just a saying" after the fact. Well, you can, but it's clearly false. That would be the "trying too hard" bit.

Zachary Amaranth:
Zoop

No, and you're now just harassing me. You alone decided to drag this out over nothing. Reported.

FalloutJack:

No, and you're now just harassing me. You alone decided to drag this out over nothing. Reported.

Are you trying to tell me you didn't write this?

FalloutJack:

Microsoft thinks there's enough room in the biz? Yeah right. That smile is so fake, that assurance so made up.

It's not harassing you. You've prolonged this conversation as long as I have, and I am merely responding to your assertions.

Zachary Amaranth:
Snip

Actually, you've been talking AT me and assuming my snark as deadly serious conversation. This is a mistake, and I will only tell you so. The prolonging part of it is that you are not heeding my word. That being the case, let me approach this with ACTUAL seriousness:

Marc Whitten is a liar. He is a man of business for Microsoft and he is lying through his god-given teeth. Microsoft has money out the wazoo, but it has seen some rather nasty backlash as of late, more than usual if I'm of any judge, which I am. He is part of a business and in business you deal in competition, anyone who stands to take money from you through business competition. If a man is not worried about something happening in competition, then he does not worry about it. But how often do you see someone going FAR out of their way to broadcast how everything is cool and nothing is wrong to hide the fact that something IS? Salvaging the pride, sparing the ego, putting on a good face - EVERYONE does it. And as we've seen happen numerous times before in corporations that make announcements, they say whatever it is they say...POORLY. He IS concerned, because Valve is no shlub at what they do, and something like this is unexpected and unpredictable. And that's my final word on the matter.

Now, when I want to make a simple joke or sarcastic remark at something, Zach, just let it go.

FalloutJack:

Actually, you've been talking AT me and assuming my snark as deadly serious conversation. This is a mistake, and I will only tell you so.

Now you're changing your story again. Wouldn't it have been simpler to just say "my bad," rather than jump from excuse to excuse? First you defended it, then you were just using a saying, then I was harassing you, now you were manipulating me the whole time?

Sorry, don't buy it.

And the important part was simple: you've been maintaining this as long as I have. If you believed it harassment, why are you still responding?

He is a man of business for Microsoft and he is lying through his god-given teeth.

Your straight argument looks just like your snarky one. You can see why I was confused. The only people who think Microsoft should be worried are doing so because they want Microsoft to be worried--they either want Microsoft to fail or Valve to succeed. There really is no reason for Microsoft to be concerned right now. And anyway, let's apply Occam's Razor here. Which do you think is more likely? Microsoft, a company so arrogant as to assume "people will buy what we tell them to buy" (see Windows 8, Xbone) is pissing themselves over a bunch of boutique PCs, or Microsoft (same company) assumes they will dominate their competition? The rational answer is the former: Microsoft doesn't show fear even when they should; why would they here?

Of course, I've been fairly consistent on that.

Zachary Amaranth:
Boing

Mocking me does not make you right. You have misunderstood me and so I must leave.

FalloutJack:

Mocking me does not make you right.

Claiming I mocked you doesn't make it so. If you don't want a cogent argument, that's fine. Don't pretend I'm doing things I'm not, though. It's a disservice to both of us.

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