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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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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.

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