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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 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. :)

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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