Gabe Newell Says Apple is Steam Box's Biggest Problem
January 31, 2013 6:58 PM
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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."
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Second coming of 3D0?
2/1/2013 1:11:18 PM
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?
2/1/2013 4:22:53 PM
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?
2/2/2013 5:28:53 AM
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
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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