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Gabe Newell  (Source:
Steam Box has to beat Apple into the living room

Gabe Newell said that Apple may be the main problem with getting the Steam Box into living rooms.

Newell, Valve's co-founder, told a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs that Apple could be a threat to his company's upcoming Steam Box if it gets to the living room first.

Steam Box is Valve-developed hardware that aims to broaden the reach of Steam, which is Valve's digital distribution and multiplayer/communications platform. Right now, Steam delivers a variety of games to a user's desktop computer, but Steam Box will bring these games to the living room -- such as on a TV with Big Picture mode.

Not much else has been disclosed about Steam Box, other than the fact that it's Linux-based and will be an open system (Newell even said that it'd be possible to install Windows onto the Steam Box). While no release date is in sight, Newell worries that Apple may launch a similar platform for the living room -- thus beating Valve to the punch.

"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"

While Valve is looking to offer the best hardware for the best possible price point, Newell worries that Apple may make a move first and offer a closed platform that will lack the user-generated content that Valve (through Steam Box) would offer.

"The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," Newell said. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

Source: Polygon

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Very strange outlook
By StanO360 on 1/31/2013 7:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is that Steam users and Apple users have a very small crossover on any level.

Not that I think Steam will make headway in the living room. But it has a lot more to worry about from XBox720 and the PS4. It depends on price of course.

RE: Very strange outlook
By EnzoFX on 1/31/2013 7:57:43 PM , Rating: 1
It's basically a console, but with an open ecosystem. It would have everything going for it, the only issue is the hardware and price, sure. Trivial really considering the next PS or XBOX won't have all that great of hardware. Furthermore a Steambox would be updated more often, no not too often either. So F off Sony's and MS 10 year cycle plan for their next consoles.

RE: Very strange outlook
By inighthawki on 1/31/2013 8:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
Trivial really considering the next PS or XBOX won't have all that great of hardware.

It may have lower theoretical performance than current gen PC hardware, but being able to optimize for a single platform can improve performance far more than you'd think. I would not be surprised to see the hardware perform as well as high end PC hardware (GTX 680, HD 7970).

RE: Very strange outlook
By EnzoFX on 2/1/2013 2:22:13 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah but that would work in favor of said Steam box as well.

RE: Very strange outlook
By maugrimtr on 2/1/2013 10:11:07 AM , Rating: 1
It may have lower theoretical performance than current gen PC hardware, but being able to optimize for a single platform can improve performance far more than you'd think. I would not be surprised to see the hardware perform as well as high end PC hardware (GTX 680, HD 7970).

That would be impossible given the significant gulf in brute processing power between a console GPU and a modern GTX or AMD GPU. Optimization doesn't work that way. Computation speed is not theoretical - it's readily advertised.

Console developers will actually figure out how to improve texture quality, followed by polygon count, followed by post-processing and get it to fit within the limited confines of a known GPU as fluidly as possible to maintain 30 FPS.

PC gamers will retain 60 FPS performance with tesselation, HBAO, and other improvements since they have the superior throughput and processing.

The only concession you get are posting inefficiencies. Console ports have a terrible reputation on PCs because they are poorly optimised for better PC hardware. Those inefficiencies tend to make Console games run terrible on a PC which can give the appearance of near equivalent performance. Mass Effect 1, for example, looked really bad on PCs because that early in the game, Bioware had to cut out a lot of graphical goodies to make it perform well on Console (and PCs inherited those decisions - and worse).

RE: Very strange outlook
By inighthawki on 2/1/2013 3:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
This is not about pushing polygons and improving texture quality, its about optimizing the rendering API to remove inefficiencies caused by needing to support generic hardware, and optimizing drivers and such. This is low level under the hood stuff, not "Game developer X pushed really hard to optimize their engine"

RE: Very strange outlook
By ktemple on 2/1/2013 2:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
Not as much. There's optimized, and then there's optimized. "Optimization" refers to the process of taking advantage of hardware specifics, but the Steam Box has fewer specifics since the hardware (and probably most of the OS) is off-the-shelf. There isn't as much to optimize for.

That's not the only problem with the Steam Box, either. It's also lacking in convergence, unless Big Picture gets some serious upgrades at some point. The price point is absurd. The Steam Box is, effectively, nothing more than a PC OEM. A stupid one.

RE: Very strange outlook
By Samus on 2/1/2013 3:00:41 AM , Rating: 2
Optimizing for a single platform only goes so far. EA, for example, optimizes all of its games for nVidia hardware using CUDA extensions and hardware PhysX. It generally yields about a 15% improvement in performance over ATI's "equivilently powered" competition.

As far as CPU optimizations are concerned, what does one x86 CPU have over another? AMD was missing SSE4 for while, but those commands have negligible performance improvements.

If everything is x86, the whole idea of optimizations is gone. Current x86 titles are already optimized for x86 (unless they're ported from a console) yet new games are constantly pushing the limits of current bleeding-edge hardware running 1080p resolution. There wasn't a single GPU at the launch of Crysis or Battlefield 3 that could run the game at maximum settings at 1080p.

Crysis alone virtually pushed SLI as 'practical' although a year later all the next-gen GPU's ran it well. Consoles don't have this luxury. They're not modular and can not be upgraded. The only good thing that will come out of x86 consoles is easy porting (assuming they are Windows\DirectX-based, which the Sony one wont be, it will likely run a Linux kernel) and backward compatibility if the succeeding future consoles are also x86 (which they wont be, because x86 is dying, and 10 years from now, hopefully we are all running RISC-based CPU's.

Intel has known x86 needed replacement for two decades. IA64 was their answer, but completely impractical in implementation. If AMD hadn't added 64-bit addressable memory extensions to x86, Intel would have pushed IA64 mainstream and spent the billions in their warchest to do it.

RE: Very strange outlook
By Strunf on 2/1/2013 8:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
lol did you post all of that just to vent your x86 hate? what limits a game is the graphics cards and they for sure aren't x86, as the resolution increases the use of the CPU becomes even less relevant compared to the overall processing power, I'm playing BF3 on a I7 and the CPU barely hits the 30% usage, my graphic card however is like a tornado so I guess it has a 100% usage rate.

I don't see why having a x86 would make a game easy portable, a game made for windows (x86) that uses DirectX sure wont be ported that easily to Linux (x86)... hell what if I told you Apple is using x86 cpus since a long time now?

Intel proved most of your points wrong when they released their last x86 for smartphones.

People claiming the death of x86 have been doing it since over 20 years ago, and guess what if I were you I wouldn't bet that 10 years from one most PC will be using a RISC CPU.

BTW why would anyone wish the death of x86 if it's to replace it with a propriety thing like the ARM ISA, maybe people like to shoot themselves in the foot nowadays.

RE: Very strange outlook
By Samus on 2/2/2013 12:09:54 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, working backwards, I'll start with how clueless you are of the x86 ISA.

It is SO hard to license, that currently only two manufactures print wafers built on it. VIA/Cyrix/Transmetta/etc have all given up licensing because it was expensive and more complicated that buying licenses for Microsoft software (which is, and always has been, a disaster, working through vendors that have no idea what is what.)

BOTH ISA's are PROPRIETARY. ARM Holdings is substantially more lax with instruction modifications and additions as long as they are still compatible with their target compiler, ie, ARM v7.

Everything else you said shows that you need to research and understand instruction sets better, and why x86 is NOT desirable for 99% of what people interact with on a device. CISC computing is completely inefficient for almost everything. It can not be made power efficient. Yes, the Intel Atom-based smartphone is pretty fast, but the battery life is lower and it still lags in even optimized conditions (such as sun spider) clock-for-clock.

If you play BF3, you might know other people who have tried BF3 on dual core CPU's. BF3, like most new games is optimized for quad-core, which is you your (and my) i7 run it so well. I fear these game consoles, which as I said aren't modular or upgradable, will severely lack the power of our i7's very quickly, which will again hinder advanced development.

If they're going to go x86 in a console, the only real advantage is transparency (upgradability) which the manufactures wont take advantage of.

There is little-to-no argument you can have with me or any other engineer that CISC architecture is superior to RISC architecture. Why do you think your videocard is so good at what it does, after all? It sure as hell isn't x86 :)

RE: Very strange outlook
By ktemple on 2/2/2013 10:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
There isn't much truth to anything you just said.

No one has the RISC vs CISC argument anymore. That ship has sailed. ARM CPUs implement CISC features and philosophies now to help overcome some of their legacy constraints, and white papers on the next generation show them doing it even more so. The x86 family has been implementing RISC features and philosophies for years.

Medfield has average battery performance. That's pretty good considering your and others' accusations that it's an insatiable battery monster. It also performs well. This is all on the first try. Chances are, Merrifield is going to embarrass you in this argument. Intel has shown time and again how competent they are in the CPU space. You generally don't want to bump heads with a group that spends as much as they do on R&D.

GPUs actually aren't all that great at what they do. They achieve their goals through brute force throughput and parallelism, mainly because that area is so advanced that computer science makes slow strides in developing efficiencies for it. Most recent advancements in consumer-level graphics technology have been small implementations of CISC philosophies.

Ultimately, your argument is invalid. Both philosophies have their place, which is why this argument died years ago and the two started intermingling. HSA tech will accelerate that miscegenation, and most parts in the near future will be able to draw on each feature where appropriate.

RE: Very strange outlook
By TakinYourPoints on 2/2/2013 6:09:05 AM , Rating: 2
The kind of optimization that happens with consoles is much different than what happens with PC. It is a static platform with much lower overhead and lower level access to hardware. Something like God Of War 2 on the PS2 in 2007 would not be possible on a 1999 PC, you know?

RE: Very strange outlook
By gladiatorua on 2/1/2013 8:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
I would not be surprised to see the hardware perform as well as high end PC hardware (GTX 680, HD 7970).
But it will take a year or two if not more to get to that point.

It's not the platform that is so great. Programmers learned game after game after game to utilize limited hardware they had available. And yet some games can't even run at 720p.

RE: Very strange outlook
By nafhan on 2/1/2013 1:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
"How great" hardware is depends 100% on what it will be used for, and based on that, I'm guessing "next-gen" consoles will be similar to what you could do with a good midrange gaming PC (i.e. the ballpark of a Core i3/5/A8 + 7850/660 + 4GB of RAM).

Part of my reason for believing that is they'll very likely be optimized for 1080p with the ability to upscale - meaning anything significantly more powerful than the above GPU's would be unnecessary. Also, the above config should be doable in <100 watts, today.

Anyway, and we'll probably find out if I'm right in a few week (mysterious Sony announcement at the end of Feb.).

RE: Very strange outlook
By Hakuryu on 1/31/2013 11:01:49 PM , Rating: 4
I used to hate Steam, before I realized how great it was, and now have around 200 games on it. It really is a great service.

Give the average console player Steam on a $200-$300 box, with regular sales on software, and the Workshop... MS and Sony's days are numbered.

If Steam can 'get into the living room', and show console gamers that $20 will buy any AAA title on sale, along with numerous $1.25 indie games that would cost $20 at least on consoles... we gotta give console players the benefit of the doubt and believe they will latch onto a Steam box with gusto.

RE: Very strange outlook
By inighthawki on 1/31/13, Rating: 0
RE: Very strange outlook
By Netscorer on 2/1/2013 12:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
Not only it's a PC, it's a Linux-based PC. Which means, OpenGL and no DirectX support. Since 90% of Steam AAA titles are DirectX games, I wonder what the selection would look like and if developers would be willing to optimize their games for OpenGL.

RE: Very strange outlook
By ballist1x on 2/1/2013 5:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
My guess is that Steam users and Apple users have a very small crossover on any level.

Dont steam want to expand into people who dont already use it? surely thats the whole point of the device...?

RE: Very strange outlook
By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 6:40:41 AM , Rating: 1
Yup. Expanding past the hardcore is what any company with ambitions for more marketshare wants to do. There are TONS of casual games on Steam.

Someone actually made a great comment about this on Reddit.

Let's say there's a scale of 1-10 going from the most casual to the most hardcore gamer, Apple could probably cover 1-3's gaming "needs" and provide just enough to discourage 4-6 from purchasing a console. 7 and 8 will have at least a console and 9-10 probably all consoles and an expensive gaming machine.

1-3 were never going to buy a console. 7-10 will always have a console. Where Apple can leave a mark is 4-6 which falling right in the middle is probably the largest group as well.

Case in point, I'm maybe about 4 on the scale. iPad got me to play FPS for the first time in a 7-8 years. In terms of gaming experience including graphics it's actually superior to all the FPS I used to play on PC and it's just enough fun to satisfy my gaming needs (alongside all sorts of tower defense and platformer iOS games).

tl;dr. Gabe's got a point.

The point isn't dominating the hardcore "9-10", Valve already owns that. What I play on my PC is the most hardcore of the hardcore, DOTA 2 and Starcraft 2, and what I play on iOS are either quicky games on my iPhone or deep board games or things like Bastion on my iPad. I haven't been interested in playing games on my TV in years, even though my PC is hooked into my home theater though my wall. A Steambox probably isn't for me even though I technically already have one.

There's still a huge "1-7 population" on the TV that's ripe for the picking, and this is what Gabe wants in on.

Valve is completely in the right for wanting to get an affordable and small device to run Steam on. I think the endgame in two years is a tiny and completely integrated Skylake (using the IGP) based Steambox running Linux for the living room.

By the way, if you want a preview of what a Steambox might be like, plug your PC or laptop into your HDTV and try Big Picture mode with a gamepad. It has a much better UI than the 360 or PS3.

RE: Very strange outlook
By elleehswon on 2/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Very strange outlook
By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 6:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree with that example either. I hate FPS on touchscreens, but that's also completely beside the point.

The point is that more casual or "good enough" platforms have a big enough audience that can have negative impact on other more capable platforms.

Years ago people laughed when there was speculation that the iPhone would have any impact at all on Nintendo or Sony, but look at how rapidly handheld sales have declined against the rise of iOS gaming. It gives access to cheaper games in a more portable and powerful device that you always carry around with you.

Obviously the lack of physical controls is a huge strike against a smartphone compared to a Vita or 3DS, but the tradeoff in portability and price makes it "good enough" for many people. It is "good enough" that the 3DS and Vita sell much slower than the PSP, GBA, or DS did, "good enough" and Nintendo and Sony's financials are in trouble.

Its the same thing here but in the living room. Bluetooth is already in the AppleTV (the most obvious trojan horse for Apple into the living room), making pairing with a gamepad possible. Airplay mirroring or using another iDevice as a controller has been here for years now.

Gabe is worried about Apple actually putting more resources into the AppleTV, making it a platform on the level of the iPhone and iPad. The hardware and software will both be cheaper (especially if a universal purchase gets you an AppleTV version as well as iPhone/iPad), development is easy and profitable for publishers, and there is actually some crossover with what is available on PS3 and XBox (The Walking Dead and Bastion for example).

Will it be better than existing consoles? In 90 out of 100 cases, no. Will it be "good enough" to impact current established console makers? Certainly.

As another platform owner, Gabe is rightfully worried. He tried for years to get Steam on the XBox and failed, and he only managed to get a "pseudo" Steam on the PS3 for Portal 2, but that's kind of it. The last thing he wants is another closed living room system that is far bigger than what exists today. This is why SteamBox matters.

By sparkuss on 1/31/2013 7:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the STB wars were over and the new paradigm was distribution "services".

Wouldn't adding a Steam "service" to OEMs get larger market?

By MonkeyPaw on 1/31/2013 8:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think current "Smart TVs" have the processing power to handle Steam's game list. The peculiar thing is, if SteamBox is just generic hardware that can run Windows if you want, why not just partner with OEMs that already make HTPC hardware? Just set up a list of requirements (hardware, software), and should the OEM's product meet those standards, certify it as a "SteamBox," have Steam preinstalled, put a nifty case sticker on it, and perhaps include the rumored Valve controller and some store credit.

If Steam in the living room is what really matters, then opening the market up to the OEMs can only help. Maybe such a combo would help sell PCs, since Windows 8 really isn't moving the needle much.

By SlyNine on 2/1/2013 5:21:38 PM , Rating: 1
Your statements are confusing and they make me, angry?

By TakinYourPoints on 1/31/2013 11:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
Valve has already been doing that but I sense that they're frustrated with OEMs, which is why they're also pursuing their own hardware solution. Most make bad decisions so I don't blame this frustration. Here's a quote from an intervier earlier this month:

it’s been surprisingly difficult when we say to people "don’t put an optical media drive in there" and they put an optical media drive in there and you’re like "that makes it hotter, that makes it more expensive, and it makes the box bigger."


[Valve's position is]: let's build a thing that’s quiet and focuses on high performance and appropriate form factors.

I understand why Valve is interested in making their own Steambox. I think that a completely integrated one with very good performance will be good, given the improvement in IGPs. Its the same reason why ultrabooks will become more viable as gaming machines.

By Lord 666 on 2/2/2013 9:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
To me, what what make even more sense is to use a hypervisor such VMWare and provide the ability to do both simultaneously.

I would love whatever he is smoking
By beefgyorki on 2/1/2013 2:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
because to just outright dismiss Sony & MS, when they are light-years ahead of Apple in the living room who are themselves light-years ahead of Valve, sound like the ramblings of a man tripping balls.

There are just so many hurdles Valve would have to overcome to have a prayer it is just insane to think they could take over the living room. Frankly I think Blackberry has more of a chance surpassing Android than Valve has of becoming even 3rd in the living room.

Even if we assumed Xbox vNext or the PS4 were lackluster hardware wise (doubtful), Valve would have to get the Steam Box hardware down to a reasonable price to even have a chance. Meaning they either use lower performance parts thus negating one of PC's biggest advantages or they would have to subsidize the hell out of it (does Valve have that kind of money to burn?).

Then they have to make sure all the games their users would care about 1) work on Linux 2) play well on a big screen TV 3) work with whatever controller solution Valve comes up with because keyboard & mouse on my couch? lolz.

And finally after those 2 major issues they have to convince either current consoles players to switch to Steam Box/PC gaming OR they have to give current Steam users a compelling reason to want to play on their TV with a PC other than their own and with a new controller.

Oh and lets not forget the other little issue that if Sony or MS actually had any fear of Valve they could lock up exclusive rights on all the major game releases since they have insane amounts of money, esp MS, to just throw at people. It is awesome that indies can thrive thanks to Steam but it is the major releases that drive hardware sells.

RE: I would love whatever he is smoking
By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 3:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
Remember when the "established consoles" were SNES and Genesis? Thinking that Nintendo and Sega couldn't be uprooted was just as naive as thinking Sony and Microsoft are here to stay.

I do agree with you about software being the driving force for a platform. That said, Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft have already been spending money to pay for exclusivity or buy up studios for years now. How much worse can forced exclusivity get? Nobody has enough money to keep the CoD or Madden franchises tied to a single system. Cross-platform games were still common enough where owning any single system still worked out.

RE: I would love whatever he is smoking
By Reclaimer77 on 2/2/2013 1:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
Remember when the "established consoles" were SNES and Genesis?

That was pre-world wide web and broadband in every home though. You bought a console and played some games. There was no "ecosystem" to sink it's hooks into you.

Those early just passed them by too fast. Things today are going much slower. Plus SEGA made some REALLY abhorrent decisions over and over again that kinda doomed the platform.

Not saying Sony and Microsoft cannot ever ever be uprooted. But come on, it's going to take a massive effort to do it combined with unrealistic laxness on their parts.

By TakinYourPoints on 2/3/2013 4:13:10 AM , Rating: 1
Certainly. The point is that taking Microsoft and Sony's dominance as a given also seems presumptuous. Things are moving incredibly fast and right now the opportunity is there to get cheaper "good enough" devices out there.

Will it be enough to erode the hardcore console market? I don't know for certain. What I do know is that the majority of people who use the XBox and PS3 do it for.... Netflix.


If a cheaper box from another company, be it Valve, Apple, Roku, whoever, came out with an inexpensive box with Netflix, cheaper and simpler games, BT pairing with a gamepad, it might be enough to hit console sales in the same way that handheld console sales were hit by smartphones.

The selection of games doesn't even need to be that "simple". Consider that The Walking Dead that was available on 360/PS3/PC/Mac sold a quarter of its units on iOS, and that titles like Bastion also sold very well on mobile. Put some of that same hardware in a $100 box that plugs into a TV and pairs with a gamepad, and that's potentially one less person buying a $500 console.

To be clear, the hardcore console guy is always going to buy a console, just like a hardcore PC guy like me is always going to have a good PC. Both markets are not the mainstream though, and the hardware requirements for mainstream usage are FAR lower than they used to be. This is why cheaper tablets and smartphones are flourishing at the expense of desktop and handheld console sales.

Just like Sega/Nintendo missed the "plugged in ecosystem" train, I think Gabe is right to worry that the current establishment may get sidelined by cheaper devices that do most of what once required expensive 2006 era hardware.

By p05esto on 2/1/2013 12:58:35 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry but the Xbox720 specs look great, very good and MS owns the living room right now. The 720 will be a huge hit, we are ready for a new console. Unless Steam can do all the same or better there,s no chance..... Apple is not a player, core gamers are like core computer users, thy don,t touch Apple crap.

RE: Ms
By croc on 2/1/2013 1:53:54 AM , Rating: 2
MS may own YOUR living room... But that's where your opinion ends when it comes to MY living room. MY living room is owned by two Macintosh's. (No, NOT the fruity kind.)

RE: Ms
By R3T4rd on 2/1/2013 4:38:09 AM , Rating: 1
Okay....besides watching OSX on your TV/HDTV, what else are you doing?

Playing latest greatest games? - Sorry OSX is a joke when games are concerned - especially Steam on Mac.

Netflix and streaming media? - I'll give you that as you can stream it through Mac.

The whole point of the XBOX and PS in your living room is you can have all the entertainment (Games, Streaming Media, Web, Movies, etc) in your living room and not half-arsed entertainment provided by Macs. And if your intention in mentioning Macs in your living room as PC's set in a corner of your living room not hooked up to your TV/HDTV, the relavence of your point is moot at best.

RE: Ms
By MGSsancho on 2/1/2013 6:21:18 AM , Rating: 2
You mean a pair of McIntoshs like these dominate your living room? ? You said not the fruity kind ;-)

Second coming of 3D0?
By jakin on 2/1/2013 1:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
Have any of you heard of 3D0 and it's fate? Judging by the comments and articles posted here most of you are in your late teens or early to mid twenties and were too young or not even born when 3D0 came and went. For those people here's a short history.

3D0 was a open hardware console (sound familiar?) created by Trip Hawkins one of the founders of Electronic Arts (EA) in the mid 1990's. He wanted an open console that anyone could develop for without the licensing fees and other restrictions that Sony and Nintendo and Sega put on their consoles. He managed to convince Panasonic and a few other companies to make them.

Console manufacturers typically lose money on the hardware (until late in the console's lifespan) and make their money off the games. Because Panasonic and the other 3D0 console makers didn't get any money for the games they had to charge what the console actually cost to make plus a profit. The 3D0 console cost $700 (in 1995 dollars) when Sony, Sega and Nintendo were selling their consoles for $200 - $300.

Needless to say the 3D0 console was a huge bomb and was dropped after a couple of years. Even EA which had created it and promised a lot of support for dropped it like a hot rock. All the 3D0 console manufacturers lost their shirts on it. What makes Newell think that the same thing won't happen again? Does he have the money to subsidize the costs of the console? Has he found a sucker to make them like EA/Trip Hawkins did with Panasonic?

RE: Second coming of 3D0?
By Wurum on 2/1/2013 4:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
I remember 3DO.

I think the difference here is that Valve is trying to head off Apple users, not console gamers. It sounds to me like Valve is preparing to take a piece of the inevitable ala cart TV watching/casual gaming market share.

There is a horde of ipad/iphone casual gamers out there that probably have never even heard of Steam. I don't think Valve is trying to convert PC gamers into console gamers as much as provide a product for other gamers and pick up even more users.

RE: Second coming of 3D0?
By TakinYourPoints on 2/2/2013 5:28:53 AM , Rating: 2
They wouldn't be selling loss leaders, and unlike the 3DO, Steam has a substantial library of games and about 60 million users.

The price of hardware is dropping like a rock while its capabilities are becoming more than "good enough" in the low end. The A5 present in the AppleTV is capable of some surprisingly good graphics, based on how they look on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. As for something x86 based, ultrabooks and ultrasmall PCs are going to get a boost from Haswell. Haswell has double the graphics performance of Ivy Bridge, and by 2014 you will be getting substantial graphics performance out of an IGP.

It won't be "next gen", whatever that ends up being, but it will look damn good and it will be more than enough for the masses. Hell, if it can run DOTA 2 smoothly then it'll be plenty for me. :)

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RE: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By troysavary on 2/1/2013 4:46:32 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it isn't grammar checking software that you are selling.

RE: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Piiman on 2/2/2013 11:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
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Perhaps i am old fashioned
By Ammohunt on 2/1/2013 11:40:23 AM , Rating: 2
But i don't want to play games on my TV anymore. I like the ability to alt+tab to a browser to browse games resources online and nothing beats WASD + Mouse as a control interface. Also i don't have to look at a split screen to play multiplayer(each family member in my house has a gaming rig). Don't get me wrong i have done my share of TV gaming using consoles since Pong. I think i got burned out somewhere in the middle of PS2 land. I do have an Xbox 360 for the kids but even they prefer gaming on the computer. The fact of the matter is the TV is not the center of entertainment in the house any longer individual PC's are.

By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 6:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
Me too, I'm all about gaming at my desk these days. I even have my PC hooked into my home theater through my wall, allowing me to play "console" games like Batman: Arkham City at much higher settings than what the 360 would give me, but I still rarely use it.

That said, we're not everybody, there are lots of other people that prefer gaming on the couch. :)

By Magnus909 on 2/1/2013 4:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
Since almost all games today are based on Direct X (id software may be the exception if they still use Open Gl for their 3d-engine), Linux with it's Open GL drivers seems like a strange choice.

But then again, Valve may have worked on Open GL versions of their games for a while.
Or even some Wine or other type of encapsulation of Windows and direct X.
They have total control to customize the Linux Distro in every sense to make it play their games perfectly.
Not to mention choose the perfect mix of hardware
that also have the optimized drivers for it...
Other developers will know what the hardware they will code for too.
So maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.
I wouldn't be like just putting together the same parts and hoping for the best in a windows installation for any generic game.
And Linux makes it dirt cheap, since no Windows License have to be paid.

Anyway, any competition from Linux is badly needed.
This could actually be a way in for desktop usage of Linux for the more normal users, since it could also be used as any normal Pc.

By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 6:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
But then again, Valve may have worked on Open GL versions of their games for a while.

Their own games have had OpenGL ports for a few years now. Their latest Counterstrike: GO released day and date for OS X and Windows. They also posted marginally better performance out of Left 4 Dead 2 running on Linux OpenGL over DX9 in Windows 7, so there's been quite a bit of optimization going on there. Blizzard has also been working with OpenGL ports for a while. Every single game of theirs runs on the Mac and Windows. I'm hoping that Linux ports are next for Blizzard, the more platforms with a mouse and keyboard the better.

There is obviously a huge backlog of games that are DX only. I don't know if Valve intends on integrating WINE into Steam versions for that. That said, there are a lot of newer games that are also native to Linux, just look at the indie games that have been released for the Humble Bundle over the last couple years. One of my favorite games from last year, FTL: Faster Than Light, came out on Linux as well as OS X and Windows.

Of the ~360 games I own on Steam, about half run on OS X, and most of them are big titles like Source games, Civ 5, things like that. That's pretty good considering that OS X has only been on Steam for almost three years. If Valve made a serious push for Linux then I suspect that more developers than just indies will follow. Between OS X and especially iOS, OpenGL is more popular than it ever was.

Anyway, any competition from Linux is badly needed. This could actually be a way in for desktop usage of Linux for the more normal users, since it could also be used as any normal Pc.

I completely agree. And besides, Valve won't know if they don't try. Someone has to. :)

By Newspapercrane on 2/1/2013 9:41:36 AM , Rating: 2
A Guy who's company is going to be coming out with his own platform soon starts trashing the other platforms to his cult following.


By Magnus909 on 2/1/2013 4:10:35 PM , Rating: 2
Since almost all games today are based on Direct X (id software may be the exception if they still use Open Gl for their 3d-engine), Linux with it's Open GL drivers seems like a strange choice.

But then again, Valve may have worked on Open GL versions of their games for a while.
Or even some Wine or other type of encapsulation of Windows and direct X.
They have total control to customize the Linux Distro in every sense to make it play their games perfectly.
Not to mention choose the perfect mix of hardware
that also have the optimized drivers for it...
Other developers will know what the hardware they will code for too.
So maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.
I wouldn't be like just putting together the same parts and hoping for the best in a windows installation for any generic game.
And Linux makes it dirt cheap, since no Windows License have to be paid.

Anyway, any competition from Linux is badly needed.
This could actually be a way in for desktop usage of Linux for the more normal users, since it could also be used as any normal Pc.

Giant effing brain
By TakinYourPoints on 2/1/2013 6:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
Here is video of one of the two talks Gabe gave at UT Austin:

Love hearing this guy talk, he's a true forward looking technologist, not just a product guy.

By GloriaHiggs22 on 2/2/2013 6:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
before I saw the receipt that said $9653, I didnt believe father in law had been actualy earning money parttime from their computer.. there best friend had bean doing this 4 only about eighteen months and at present repayed the debts on their appartment and got a brand new Subaru Impreza. we looked here, Great60.comCHECK IT OUT

By BettyGibbs22 on 2/3/2013 8:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
uptil I saw the paycheck that said $8510, I have faith brother was actualy taking home money in their spare time at there computar.. there sisters roommate started doing this for only about thirteen months and just now repayed the dept on their place and purchased a new Mini Cooper. we looked here, Great60.comCHECK IT OUT

Good God..
By DukeN on 2/1/2013 10:23:32 AM , Rating: 1
Someone get that dude a razor, place to bathe and clean clothes stat!

Some lipo wouldn't hurt either....

This person runs a multi-million $ company?

You're five years too late, Gabe.
By Articuno on 1/31/13, Rating: -1
By TakinYourPoints on 1/31/2013 11:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
Gabe always has a very long term outlook.

When the masses were salivating for Half Life 2 back in 2003, he had the wheels for Steam as a distribution platform already in motion. It took until 2007 to get a decent amount of publishers on there (until then there was Rag Doll Kung Fu and not much else), but it eventually happened.

He's also taking a long view with this. He's hedging his bets with Steam on OS X and Linux, making his platform as available as possible. The living room is another place to do it, especially at the pace that embedded systems are increasing in performance.

The upcoming Haswell is just the tip of the iceberg, Skylake in two years will be amazing. Starting down the path of small integrated systems now means that it will really have traction for a SteamBox in a few years.

I do disagree with the notion of PC decline. While PC sales are declining, I attribute that to longer hardware longevity and less need for multiple machines in households with tablets and smartphones in the picture. That doesn't mean that the PC as gaming a platform is declining. The number of gamers on Steam and games like League Of Legends only continues to increase at an accelerating pace.

RE: You're five years too late, Gabe.
By Tony Swash on 2/1/2013 6:02:08 AM , Rating: 1
It's sad to see that Steam is going to destroy itself just like Microsoft is in its mad, pointless quest to chase Apple's former glory. And for what? The Apple bubble has popped and their profit shares have nowhere to go but down; this isn't 2009 anymore.

A word of caution.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s many Mac users convinced themselves that the popularity and business success of Microsoft was some sort of temporary aberration, a fluke, and that soon Microsoft would be put in their place as purveyors of substandard ugly software. Because Mac users tended to mostly talk to other Mac users that delusion was sustained for a long time but it's only result was that we suffered a long period of false hope followed by bitter disappointment and, more importantly, completely failed to understand what made Microsoft strong and Apple weak. We became disorientated and depressed because it seemed the tech world had gone wrong, but actually the problem was that we didn't understand the reality of the tech world as it was because the reality of the tech world was so deeply unpalatable. So we hid inside comforting fantasies which felt real because we parroted them back forth to each other.

I notice many people making a similar mistake when convincing themselves that Apple's growth, size and success is some sort of temporary aberration and a big correction is coming that will put Apple in it's place (that place being, of course, a niche player). But it's not going to happen. Apple now have in place all the business components to remain a huge presence in the mobile device market for possibly as long as a decade, certainly for the next five years. Apple will continue to grow (although that growth will slow), will probably double in size, and will be the world's largest tech company by any business metric. Apple's mobile platform, iOS, is going to be the biggest mobile platform by value for a long time, it's possible Android may never equal it in terms of platform value and utilisation. If you wish to avoid disappointment and frustration and if you wish to really understand the dynamics of the modern tech markets you need to accept that reality. You don't have to do that of course, you can continue to find comfort in the idea that the Apple bubble has burst or is about to burst but you will condemn yourself to years of disorientation.

RE: You're five years too late, Gabe.
By retrospooty on 2/1/2013 7:31:57 AM , Rating: 1
Very well said... I don't think Apple is as important as you, obviously, but the jist of it is right on. Apple will remain a big player. This time they got past the bubble that they missed in the early 90's. I don't think the growth will continue, it will level off. That doesn't mean they are going away. They will just go from being ridiculously record breaking profitable to merely extremely profitable and stay there. A great place for a company to be.

By zero2dash on 2/1/2013 9:45:18 AM , Rating: 1
It's sad to see that Steam is going to destroy itself

Yes because Steam's life is utterly dependent on whether the "Steam box" idea succeeds or fails. Surely if it fails, the entire platform gets its plug pulled and the Windows and Mac clients will cease to exist. Think about all the poor gamers who spent their hard earned money on games that they'll never be able to play anymore!!!


"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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