Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Jan 2014 23:05 UTC
Games

Polygon:

A Steam Machine is a PC that can do fewer things, and run fewer games, than the system you have in your home right now.

That's the marketing challenge that’s in front of Valve and its partners, and the fact that Valve had a rare CES press conference was interesting, but there were precious few details about what the platform adds to the world of gaming.

The cold and harsh reality is that six of the top ten games on Steam run on Linux/SteamOS - and with Steam having such a huge base of active subscribers, that's a lot of users covered with just those six games. On top of that, there's almost 300 more Linux games on Steam. In the meantime, the PS4 and Xbox One combined have like 10 games, most of which are available on the Xbox 360/PS3 as well, and the remainder are rushed titles nobody gives two rat's asses about.

The Xbox One and PS4 are sold not on what they offer now, but on what they will offer in the future. I see absolutely no reason why Steam Machines ought to be treated any differently.

Reality check: right now, spending $499 on a Steam Machine gets you access to a lot more games and a lot more functionality than the Xbox One and PS4 offer combined. Of course, a Windows PC will offer even more games (not functionality, Linux has that covered just fine) - but that applies just as well to any console.

I've been baffled these past few days about the attitude of the gaming press towards Steam Machines. The gaming press' reviews of the new consoles was full of "just you wait until the actually good games arrive!/new functionality is added, but here's a 9/10 anyway on that promise!", but for some reason, the same sloppy reviewing is not applied to Steam Machines.

There's a word for that.

Order by: Score:
Well ...
by WorknMan on Tue 7th Jan 2014 23:17 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Something I mentioned in another thread... I can buy one of these Steam Machines and have access to a few games on Steam, or I can buy a Windows box running Steam and have access to all of them. So, exactly what problem are these Steam Machines trying to solve, other than the fact that Valve doesn't like the Windows app store horning in on its action?

It has already been published that some of these Steam Machines won't even run all Steam games on high settings, so it's already susceptible to the same kind of bullshit that PC gamers already have to deal with. In other words, when I buy a console, I don't have to worry about whether games will run at max settings or not, and these Steam Machines don't appear to address that issue. Plus, if I buy a game on disc, I actually own it, which is not the case with Steam.

Edited 2014-01-07 23:19 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: Well ...
by timdp on Tue 7th Jan 2014 23:27 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
timdp Member since:
2009-06-19

Exactly. Consoles are a push-button solution, and less expensive at that. Steam Boxes overcomplicate the concept.

Also, despite Steam's years of experience, they're a new player in the console market, whereas Sony and Microsoft's solutions are proven and trusted technology. Sure, they superseded Nintendo and Sega, so nothing's impossible, but I don't think this is what gamers have been waiting for. Hell, I'm still having trouble defining what "this" means exactly.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Well ...
by Morgan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Well ..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Exactly. Consoles are a push-button solution, and less expensive at that. Steam Boxes overcomplicate the concept.


Consoles are becoming more and more like personal computers, or at least HTPCs, so this argument becomes less valid as the years go by.

Also, despite Steam's years of experience, they're a new player in the console market, whereas Sony and Microsoft's solutions are proven and trusted technology. Sure, they superseded Nintendo and Sega, so nothing's impossible, but I don't think this is what gamers have been waiting for. Hell, I'm still having trouble defining what "this" means exactly.


And the exact same thing could be said about Sony when they came out with the PlayStation, and Microsoft when they came out with the Xbox; neither had prior experience in the console market. Microsoft in particular is a great parallel for Valve right now, as the original Xbox was a PC, specifically a Coppermine Pentium III that ran an NT-derived kernel and had an Nvidia GPU. At this point, saying the Steambox "isn't what gamers have been waiting for" because the Xbox is "proven and trusted technology" is either a very hypocritical thing to say, or at the very least, signifies a lapse in logical thinking.

I'm reserving judgement at this stage; I'm not heavily invested in Steam (I have two older flagship titles that I got on steep discounts, and one free to play game), and I will probably never buy a Steambox as my main workstation is more than capable. I also prefer GoG.com's prices and distribution model to Steam's more restrictive model, and I'm mostly a retro gamer anyway. But I'd love to see Valve give the other two something to worry about. If the Steambox flops, so be it, but saying it's doomed from the start is premature at best.

Reply Score: 15

RE[3]: Well ...
by timdp on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well ..."
timdp Member since:
2009-06-19

Consoles are becoming more and more like personal computers, or at least HTPCs, so this argument becomes less valid as the years go by.

Not in the Post-PC era. HTPCs, maybe, unless Smart TVs finally turn into something decent. However, if Steam want to turn their gaming device into an entertainment center the way Microsoft is doing, I think they're going to need the big guns.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Well ...
by WorknMan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 02:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well ..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Microsoft in particular is a great parallel for Valve right now, as the original Xbox was a PC


You would be right if there were only *1* Steam box, then we could call it a console. But there are 13 of them so far, making them basically Pcs running a niche desktop OS. I'm not saying these devices are doomed... I'm just not exactly sure why I would want one, esp when I could get a PC running Windows, install Steam on it, and pretty much have everything that Steam has to offer. Again, these boxes don't appear to be trying to solve any specific problem, except for Valve's dislike of the Windows app store.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Well ... - so, prebuilt and upgradable
by jabbotts on Wed 8th Jan 2014 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Well ..."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

the complaint now is that there are 13 different steamboxes to choose from and they are just basically personal computers?

Sounds to me like pre-built gaming machines that can be upgraded with standard off the shelf personal computer parts.. I'm suddenly thinking "underpowered" from the factory isn't an issue when one can simply drop a bigger GPU in and go.

as always though, it's going to be software not hardware that poses any real problem for consumers. If the consumer wants to play a game, they'll be limited to the OS choices that game runs on. Skyrim, going to need steam on Windows still. Any current or new game release that supports SteamOS.. non-issue.

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Sounds to me like pre-built gaming machines that can be upgraded with standard off the shelf personal computer parts


Right, which is nothing that we don't already have now. The only difference here is that they've changed the OS, so a lot of the older titles won't work on it. And I'm supposed to want one of these because .... ?

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I certainly didn't say you where suposed to want it. I just find the "oh, but there's more than one choice" complaint somewhat hollow.. if it's a single model or two or three sku from a single vendor that can't be upgraded then "oh.. the sky is falling.. we can't upgrade, it'll be outdated.. there's a monopoly on it..".. if there is any real choice or competition between vendors.. "oh the sky is falling.. there is too much to chose from, they are all just the same"..

I say generally to all, quit bitching.. if it apeals to you as a push-button appliance, buy one.. if building your own rig with windows and teh win64 steam client apeals to you do that, if your like me.. slide SteamOS into a partition along side your other bootable OS or consider comparing specs, buying a steambox and upgrade it yourself..

I just don't see how potentially being a pre-built apliance or being an underwhelming personal computer based rig that you can upgrade is a bad thing either way.. that second potential option sure beats the sealed and consumer hostile xbox/playstation/nintendo units

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I just don't see how potentially being a pre-built apliance or being an underwhelming personal computer based rig that you can upgrade is a bad thing either way.. that second potential option sure beats the sealed and consumer hostile xbox/playstation/nintendo units


The problem here is that it doesn't really satisfy either console or PC gamers.

- Console gamers want a box they can put under the TV, that they never have to upgrade parts or f**k with, other than installing the occasional firmware updates, and I think even those are pretty much automatic on the new consoles. They know that as long as a game is designed for the console(s) they have, the games are tested to run under that exact hardware configuration. The Steam Machines don't satisfy this criteria.

- PC gamers probably already have a sizable catalog of Steam games already, most of which will not run on these new boxes. It's almost like a Windows 8-style 'your old stuff is legacy and won't work any more under this new environment, because we need more money.' As long as ownership on Steam isn't really an option, I don't think this change benefits the end user a whole lot.
If these were Windows-based machines that were backward compatible with all of the existing titles, well... it still wouldn't be anything new, but at least people wouldn't have a reason to actively avoid them. Don't get me wrong... I'm sure Linux Evangelists are jizzing themselves over this move, but I doubt very many others really give a rat's ass.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Well ...
by zima on Fri 10th Jan 2014 17:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well ..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

the original Xbox was a PC, specifically a Coppermine Pentium III that ran an NT-derived kernel and had an Nvidia GPU. At this point, saying the Steambox "isn't what gamers have been waiting for" because the Xbox is "proven and trusted technology" is either a very hypocritical thing to say, or at the very least, signifies a lapse in logical thinking.

Xbox didn't use NT-derived kernel, that's a common myth:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/xboxteam/archive/2006/02/17/534421.aspx

Also, it was unlike Steam machines, had more integrated design and only one configuration to target like a proper console.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well ...
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 07:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Well ..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Also, despite Steam's years of experience, they're a new player in the console market, whereas Sony and Microsoft's solutions are proven and trusted technology.

Proven and trusted? You mean, like randomly-disappearing paid functionality and red rings of death?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Well ...
by lucas_maximus on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Well ..."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Exactly. Consoles are a push-button solution, and less expensive at that. Steam Boxes overcomplicate the concept.


Tell that to my PS3, if I don't play it for a week I gotta download the following to play a game

1) OS update
2) Game Update (GT6 while really nice, I have to download a 1GB update pretty much anytime they issue one)

To view the playstation store, I have to download another update.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Well ...
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 12:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Well ..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Exactly. Consoles are a push-button solution, and less expensive at that. Steam Boxes overcomplicate the concept.


How so? SteamOS is deliberately designed to be "a push-button solution" just as consoles are, including background-updates and all. Valve also did say they are bringing streaming audio and video services to it, possibly Netflix and so on, so I don't really see how you can make such a claim. Would you clarify, what is it that makes consoles "push-button" solutions but SteamOS/Steam Boxes don't?

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Well ...
by timdp on Wed 8th Jan 2014 20:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well ..."
timdp Member since:
2009-06-19

Would you clarify, what is it that makes consoles "push-button" solutions but SteamOS/Steam Boxes don't?

Unified specifications, for one. Buying a game and hoping it'll run on my particular gaming rig is not something I want to be doing. Furthermore, if I did want to do so, a full-blown PC would be a far better option, since I'd get to pick all the components myself and have the option of replacing them individually as I please.

Reply Score: 2

The problem is Windows 8 and Windows Store
by jgfenix on Wed 8th Jan 2014 02:08 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

They are a menace to Steam and other app stores so Valve wants to bypass Windows.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Well ...
by ddc_ on Wed 8th Jan 2014 02:50 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
ddc_ Member since:
2006-12-05

I can buy one of these Steam Machines and have access to a few games on Steam, or I can buy a Windows box running Steam and have access to all of them. So, exactly what problem are these Steam Machines trying to solve, other than the fact that Valve doesn't like the Windows app store horning in on its action?

IMO the comparison between PCs and Steam Boxes is a bit lame. You surely can assemble a Windows PC, and if this is what you want, you are not a person Valve makes Steam Boxes for - they offer you Steam desktop client instead. Steam Boxes are merely a way to play on Steam on a console, if you neither want to do it on your PC, nor want to assemble a DIY media center with gaming capabilities.

The manner of contraposing Steam Boxes to Steam on Windows machines is just plain wrong, as these products are totally complementary and simply target different subgroups within the same target audience. One would argue that contraposing Steam Boxes alone to Xboxes and PSes is also wrong - Steam as whole is a competing product here, not just one of its packaging options.

And I fully agree with Thom about the double standard, which is applied to Valve in this case: Valve is quite long in content delivery industry, it is competing with PS and Xbox for quite some time from its PC client position, and this move only extands the delivery options of Steam client.

P.S.: I'm not a Steam fanboy, neither I have a Steam account, nor Steam client.

Edited 2014-01-08 03:08 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Well ...
by moondevil on Wed 8th Jan 2014 07:40 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

So, exactly what problem are these Steam Machines trying to solve, other than the fact that Valve doesn't like the Windows app store horning in on its action?


I fully agree with you.

Personally I never cared about Steam and the only good thing I see here is how Valve is improving the whole situation of gaming on Linux distributions.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Well ...
by grat on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:25 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

The windows box doesn't have an interface designed to be used from your living room sofa.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Well ...
by moondevil on Thu 9th Jan 2014 07:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Well ..."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I guess you don't know the media center edition then.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Well ...
by grat on Fri 10th Jan 2014 16:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well ..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Running it for 2-3 years... but that's just the media center, not the entire OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Well ...
by CaptainN- on Thu 9th Jan 2014 18:18 UTC in reply to "Well ..."
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

The only difference between these machines and any other machine are branding, and a controller. The problem they are solving then is clear. Give consumers an alternative to XBox and Playstation brands, for living room computing.

Everything isn't a technical problem.

Reply Score: 2

Valve has a hard task
by CapEnt on Tue 7th Jan 2014 23:30 UTC
CapEnt
Member since:
2005-12-18

Thom, based on what i know about the gaming press, Valve will have hards times ahead.

This brings me back memories of the first XBox released more than a decade ago. The criticism being bestowed upon the Steam Machines is uncannily similar to the one done against XBox that day and age: that it is just a "PC", the hardware is "boring", that one can just assembly a gaming rig, there is no "exclusives"... and goes on.

The fact is: until Valve do not began pushing hard these steam machines to the market, and proves his point with lots of "exclusives", plus pumping lots of marketing money to the so called "gaming press" (ads, demo consoles, priority treatment for reviews, etc), they will not go anywhere.

When someone of the gaming press see a disappointing release made by Sony, or Nintendo or even MS, they rationalize that there is maybe a "trend" going on, that must be a strategy after all. When someone see a release from a company with no tradition at all in the console arena, like Valve, they just see what is in the front of their eyes, nothing more.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Valve has a hard task
by pedlo on Wed 8th Jan 2014 07:54 UTC in reply to "Valve has a hard task"
pedlo Member since:
2011-04-30

Agreed to the main concept of pushing marketing. Nevertheless, "priority treatment in the reviews" is a plague, I wish I could see more objective reviews from the whole IT press.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Valve has a hard task
by Fergy on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:39 UTC in reply to "Valve has a hard task"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

The fact is: until Valve do not began pushing hard these steam machines to the market, and proves his point with lots of "exclusives", plus pumping lots of marketing money to the so called "gaming press" (ads, demo consoles, priority treatment for reviews, etc), they will not go anywhere.

Exclusives are stupid and harmful. Steam is very popular without marketing. All your suggestions are evil practices that pollute the gaming market.

Reply Score: 4

bartgrantham
Member since:
2011-12-31

Steam Machine vs. Console or Steam Machine vs. PC?

If it's the former, the SM has a huge catalog of games to play (at least until Playstation Now launches) but it doesn't have the consumer friendly non-gaming features that the XO and PS4 have.

If it's the latter, a SM just feels like a pared-down PC running Steam with a smaller game library.

I know everyone is excited about it, and I hope they succeed in bringing some new ideas to gaming like that nifty controller, but I think the press is right to be at least a little skeptical of the value proposition.

Reply Score: 5

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

but I think the press is right to be at least a little skeptical of the value proposition.


My problem is not that they're skeptical. My problem is that the Xbox One and PS4 get a free pass on the very same issues that Steam Machines are being lamented for. That's hypocrisy, plain and simple.

For now, it'd be silly to buy any of the new consoles - a Steam Machine, Xbox One, or PS4 - since their prices are bound to drop within a year, and right now, none of them have any games to show for themselves. I'm just wondering why the press praises the Xbox One and PS4 on promises alone, but not Steam Machines.

Reply Score: 7

rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

I'm just wondering why the press praises the Xbox One and PS4 on promises alone, but not Steam Machines.


Because Microsoft and Sony have delivered on these promises for at least two console generations already. Steam Machines on the other hand are still a big question mark.

Reply Score: 3

sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

Steam Machines are PC hardware with Linux OS. Pretty generic if you ask me, and should be easy enough to make games for (compared to the alternatives). Why would a game developer choose to publish for a Steam Machine? Well, for the same reason the picked Steam in the first place, audience.

Why did all those Steam Machine manufacturers started to make those boxes if they didn't think it was worth it? Valve is releasing Steam OS with already 300 titles available (yeah, not your average PS4/XO quality titles, but enough of them) and more to come when Steam Machines get more popular. This is what all Linux advocates wanted for a long time, games. A lot of people kept using Windows because of games. Now Steam provides a solution. What's not to like?

Reply Score: 5

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Why did all those Steam Machine manufacturers started to make those boxes if they didn't think it was worth it?


Because PC OEMs are lost and don't know what else they can come up with to make people buy more PCs.

Now Steam provides a solution.


Already existing on Mac OS X, selected Linux distributions and Windows.

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm just wondering why the press praises the Xbox One and PS4 on promises alone, but not Steam Machines.


Because Microsoft and Sony already have a proven history of what they can deliver.

Both had similar hard times when the first Playstion and XBox came out.

Right now, Valve needs to prove what is the commercial value of having people buying Steam Machines instead of using Steam from their existing desktops.

Edited 2014-01-08 07:34 UTC

Reply Score: 5

sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

Because a lot of gamers hate Windows 8 and wouldn't probably mind using some form of Linux for gaming if games where available. Of course, this is chicken-egg problem. But it must start somewhere, and slowly. Gabe Newell knows this and has the platform (and money) to make it happen. Pricing is another matter. I think some of those Steam Machines are a little expensive.

Reply Score: 5

jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

Because a lot of gamers hate Windows 8 and wouldn't probably mind using some form of Linux for gaming if games where available. Of course, this is chicken-egg problem. But it must start somewhere, and slowly. Gabe Newell knows this and has the platform (and money) to make it happen. Pricing is another matter. I think some of those Steam Machines are a little expensive.


Why would gamers hate Windows 8? The most controversial aspect of Windows 8 is the UI, and a gamer that is going to basically use the OS as a game launcher should not be bothered too much about it.

Reply Score: 4

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Because a lot of gamers hate Windows 8


I am yet to meet one.

Reply Score: 2

capprentice24 Member since:
2006-01-31

The steam boxes are being judged harsher than the real consoles because the steam box is not a console. It is a pc

The reason I went to consoles for gaming was for the simplicity. I bought a console knowing it will play every game made for it and the games would look good and play well.
I remember how much of a pain in the ass it was to look at games at the stores and check the requirements to play. Then have to go online and look for the real requirements to play. Buy the game and find out I need more memory or a better video card.
The Xbox and PS consoles fixed that. I can play games online with my friends without worrying about game specs.
I know the system will last 5+ years for any game made for it.

Steam screwed up. They did not put out a hardware requirement for the new game cycle. If I buy the cheap steam box. Will it play all steam box games well for the next 5 years?. I doubt it will play the steam games well from the start…..

I have not seen anywhere a promise these systems working for any number of years or for any new games.

Reply Score: 2

This isn't a review
by jared_wilkes on Tue 7th Jan 2014 23:55 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

This isn't a review of a Steam Machine. This is Ben Kuchera editorializing what he perceives the Steam strategy to be and how they are trying to get out that message and why he sees that as problematic. He even, quite evenhandedly, makes several of the observations that you do.

Maybe you are just being whiny because you want others to be as gaga for Steam as you are?

Reply Score: 6

RE: This isn't a review
by rjamorim on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:47 UTC in reply to "This isn't a review"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

Maybe you are just being whiny because you want others to be as gaga for Steam as you are?


This

Reply Score: 1

RE: This isn't a review
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:54 UTC in reply to "This isn't a review"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Maybe you are just being whiny because you want others to be as gaga for Steam as you are?


Ah, biased in favour of Steam. I can add that one to the endless list of companies, platforms, operating systems, software, people, etc. I'm both in favour of and against at the exact same time. I'm a marvel of nature, that I am!

Very astute observation, my kind sir!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This isn't a review
by rjamorim on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:59 UTC in reply to "RE: This isn't a review"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

Ah, biased in favour of Steam. I can add that one to the endless list of companies, platforms, operating systems, software, people, etc. I'm both in favour of and against at the exact same time. I'm a marvel of nature, that I am!

Very astute observation, my kind sir!


Congratulations! You have finally figured out you're incoherent (like most of us, really)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: This isn't a review
by Drumhellar on Wed 8th Jan 2014 01:43 UTC in reply to "RE: This isn't a review"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Why, you're a modern day Peter Sellers!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This isn't a review
by Bobthearch on Wed 8th Jan 2014 03:26 UTC in reply to "RE: This isn't a review"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I can add that one to the endless list of companies, platforms, operating systems, software, people, etc. I'm both in favour of and against at the exact same time.


And this is a surprise, considering the personal commentary that's added to each posted news item?

Reply Score: 4

It's not hypocrisy
by Drumhellar on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:22 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

It isn't hypocrisy - it's a lack of knowledge and experience with Steam as a hardware platform.

Reviewers know what to expect from the new consoles - they know who's making games for them, they know who's selling them, and more importantly, they know who's buying them.

The new XBox and Playstation are known quantities - We can look at 3 previous Playstations and two previous XBoxes to get great approximations of what is coming for them.

We can't do that with the SteamMachine - it's a piece of hardware that has it's roots in an online store. It's not known who the market is - console gamers or PC gamers? Maybe an as-yet undefined market?

But, since it's using PC software, it comes from a PC game maker, being built by PC hardware vendors, it's being treated like a PC component. Look at any PC hardware review, and the review talks about how good it is with the existing software, and rarely talks about how it affects what's coming. That's why SteamMachine articles look backwards rather than forwards - that's how PC gear is looked at.

This might change over time, but whether or not it does depends on who ends up buying these.

Reply Score: 7

RE: It's not hypocrisy
by sbenitezb on Wed 8th Jan 2014 15:03 UTC in reply to "It's not hypocrisy "
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

It isn't hypocrisy - it's a lack of knowledge and experience with Steam as a hardware platform.

Reviewers know what to expect from the new consoles - they know who's making games for them, they know who's selling them, and more importantly, they know who's buying them.


Clearly they don't. But they know where the money comes from, as is usual in the gaming industry. Reviewers for both consoles and games will praise their daddy's products and services.

The new XBox and Playstation are known quantities - We can look at 3 previous Playstations and two previous XBoxes to get great approximations of what is coming for them.


And to think the Xbox comes from Microsoft. I wonder if you would have said the same thing before the first Xbox launched.

We can't do that with the SteamMachine - it's a piece of hardware that has it's roots in an online store. It's not known who the market is - console gamers or PC gamers? Maybe an as-yet undefined market?


It's new, it's different, there's no market yet. Even more power to Valve for trying to create one. That it has roots in online store doesn't mean shit. Now all consoles have an online store.

But, since it's using PC software, it comes from a PC game maker, being built by PC hardware vendors, it's being treated like a PC component.


Maybe because PC doesn't mean anything really. All computers are PC, even phones and tablets. When computers where all standard components you could assemble by yourself, you could have called that a PC. Now manufacturers provide notebooks and AIO that are no different than a Mac or any console. So in some way, even PS4 and Xbox are PCs. Maybe that's why Apple calls a PC a computer with Windows.

Look at any PC hardware review, and the review talks about how good it is with the existing software, and rarely talks about how it affects what's coming. That's why SteamMachine articles look backwards rather than forwards - that's how PC gear is looked at.


Maybe it's time to stop talking so much about PC gear as in "has an x86 processor, hard drive, expandable RAM and PCI cards, video card". I would happily call PC any computer running Windows and Linux box any computer running Linux, a Mac is a Mac and a Steam Machine is any computer running Steam OS, be it DIY or OEM.

Edited 2014-01-08 15:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Not all is negative.
by haggus71 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:20 UTC
haggus71
Member since:
2014-01-08

http://ces.cnet.com/8301-35295_1-57616650/valves-steam-machine-line... This article from, of all sites, Cnet, gives a very positive light on the Steam Machines. The writer highlights why they are a force to be reckoned. I think, if many of the people commenting held sway 14 years ago, Microsoft's X-Box would have gone the way of the dodo. More and more companies, thanks in no small part to Windows 8's issues, and the success of Android, are willing to see alternatives to the same old players in the gaming world. Gaming apps on Android have already shown the possibilities on a small scale; and Valve is aiming at the future, which is that the software, not the hardware, is what matters.

Reply Score: 1

Overlooking something...
by Lava_Croft on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:31 UTC
Lava_Croft
Member since:
2006-12-24

Thom is kind of ignoring the fact that Steam Machines do nothing that your current PC cannot do, while the PS4 and Xbone do not suffer from this. Steam machines have to convince PC users to buy another PC, while the PS4 and Xbone have to convince PS3 and Xbox 360 users to upgrade.

But yeah, the general attitude from the gaming press towards Steam machines makes you wonder what their intentions are.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Overlooking something...
by Fergy on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:45 UTC in reply to "Overlooking something..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Thom is kind of ignoring the fact that Steam Machines do nothing that your current PC cannot do, while the PS4 and Xbone do not suffer from this.

Because the PS4 and Xbone are crippled by default?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Overlooking something...
by Lava_Croft on Wed 8th Jan 2014 12:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Overlooking something..."
Lava_Croft Member since:
2006-12-24

Because the PS4 and Xbone are crippled by default?

You are talking to a PC user here. Wrong audience for your failed attempt.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Overlooking something...
by Fergy on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Overlooking something..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

"Because the PS4 and Xbone are crippled by default?

You are talking to a PC user here. Wrong audience for your failed attempt.
"
Ah I mistook you for something else troll. My bad.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Overlooking something...
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:01 UTC in reply to "Overlooking something..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Thom is kind of ignoring the fact that Steam Machines do nothing that your current PC cannot do


Well, that is true, but my current PC certainly isn't fully-operable with just a controller from the couch and with an attractive UI that's specifically designed for being operated from the couch.

Sure, I could set up my system to boot automatically to Windows and the Steam-client in big screen - mode, but.. that still wouldn't take all the small-display oriented Windowsisms out of the picture, like having to click on Yes/No - buttons where apps want to install DirectX/MSVC/whatever, or when Windows pops up with a message about updates having to be installed or whatnot.

If you only look at feature-parity then there's not much point in going with SteamOS/Steam Boxes, but then you'd be ignoring the differences in execution and UI.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Overlooking something...
by sbenitezb on Wed 8th Jan 2014 15:08 UTC in reply to "Overlooking something..."
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

Perhaps it's PCs that have to convince people to keep buying them instead of upgrading to a Steam Machine? I don't know, just dreaming of more Linux everywhere.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Overlooking something...
by grat on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:37 UTC in reply to "Overlooking something..."
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Thom is kind of ignoring the fact that Steam Machines do nothing that your current PC cannot do, while the PS4 and Xbone do not suffer from this.


Well, not really. They're all effectively just PC's under the hood, regardless of the OS or CPU-- There's nothing that one does that the others "can't" do, it's just a question of how easy is it to accomplish.

Likewise, the Steam OS is "just" a PC running linux, but it's a PC running linux with an interface optimized for game purchase/delivery with wireless controllers and a "10 foot" interface.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:14 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

In the end it´s marketing and public perception what makes or breaks a product.

For parents there are 3 options: Wii, Playstation and XBox. Kids also only know these 3.

Having all these Steam consoles from different brands and having different looks just complicates things for the less informed buyer.

But where are the commercials and billboards? The only sites I encounter Valve/Steam news are tech sites. Nobody I know knows about Valve, not even the hardcore gamers.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

But where are the commercials and billboards? The only sites I encounter Valve/Steam news are tech sites. Nobody I know knows about Valve, not even the hardcore gamers.


I would assume they're waiting with the commercials and such until, you know, SteamOS is actually ready for general consumption? It's still in beta and lacking many of the features it's supposed to have. There's not much point in advertising something that's not ready yet.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

If they can deliver on those missing features they should certainly get the word out and and stop people buying other consoles. Make them stop and wait for something better.

The mayor 3 consoles have been refreshed and people are buying them. Anyone who wants a console already got one or is about to get one. Those who just bought a Wii-U, PS4 or XB1 aren´t going to spend $499 on another console that plays the same games (and not even all of them).

That leaves the people who haven´t bought one yet. The longer you wait the smaller that group becomes. The timing is alrady a bit awkward.

For Valve to succeed they need good consoles, have all the populair games, have some VERY good original titles and be known by the general public.

And I don´t think even then they have a very good chance. The casual gamer is stuck on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Kids go for these to or what their parents buy them, which is what they know and that isn´t Steam.

As history has shown it isn´t always the best idea or even best execution that wins in the end. Sometimes these things can easily be overcome by brute force marketing. Can Valve handle the marketing departments from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

If they can deliver on those missing features they should certainly get the word out and and stop people buying other consoles.


Maybe they're still in negotiations with whatever streaming-services they're trying to get or something and don't have a reliable estimate on when they can get the missing features out? I dunno, I'm just guessing, but whatever the reason is they likely don't just feel ready enough yet to start a marketing-campaign.

For Valve to succeed they need good consoles, have all the populair games, have some VERY good original titles and be known by the general public.


Valve is a newcomer to the hardware-market, so they have a lot to prove. And well, what better way to prove yourself than wait until you can deliver a fully-polished product? First impressions are the longest-lasting, so releasing an unpolished thing would just undermine their goals.

As history has shown it isn´t always the best idea or even best execution that wins in the end. Sometimes these things can easily be overcome by brute force marketing. Can Valve handle the marketing departments from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft?


Aye, the history is full of examples like that and it's certainly possible that Valve's attempt goes out without even a fizzle. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, yes?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Not me, I stick with my Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and Amiga 1200. Those games can be played with a joystick with one button or a mouse with two in the case of the Amiga.

Any controller with more buttons is too confusing for me. :-p

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

If I remember correctly, the Sega Dreamcast (my favorite console of all time) was advertised here in the US a full year before it became available here. I had one on pre-order at the video game store I worked at during that time for several months before launch date. I don't see why Valve couldn't start a marketing campaign that stretches beyond the tech news borders. But, maybe they don't care as much about the mainstream market just yet; perhaps they want to focus on their core/existing audience.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

If I remember correctly, the Sega Dreamcast (my favorite console of all time) was advertised here in the US a full year before it became available here.


Well, back in the days things didn't really move as fast as they do these days. Even week-old news are old news in this day and age, or don't you agree? Anyways, they probably do have one or another reason not to start advertising already. I don't even know if they ever will advertise with the general public in mind at all!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Fri 10th Jan 2014 17:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

People always say that their times are faster... ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Bobthearch on Wed 8th Jan 2014 14:57 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

So who would be responsible for marketing, Valve? Or the twelve different makers of Steam Boxes?

Marketing these sounds like a complicated nightmare. Primarily Valve needs to play the Steam vs. Xbox and Playstation angle. The twelve Steambox OEMs will be competing with each other. And all of them will have to convince the public that these machines are more desirable than the Windows computer that most people already own.
Not impossible, just messy.

Edited 2014-01-08 14:57 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Yes, it's going to be difficult to explain, certainly to parents who I suspect to be the buyers of a lot of consoles.

You have a whole range of consoles, that do the same, but are not. So it comes down to technical specifications. Parents don't understand these, sales people just try you to sell the one that makes the most profit or they try to get rid of bad selling ones.

Then you get owners who says game A runs great, the other says it runs fine and a third says it doesn't run that well, but has heard it should run better on another console.

It will just be too confusing for ordinary people.

And they look ugly too.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by sbenitezb on Wed 8th Jan 2014 15:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

In the end it´s marketing and public perception what makes or breaks a product.


Agree to some point.

For parents there are 3 options: Wii, Playstation and XBox. Kids also only know these 3.

Having all these Steam consoles from different brands and having different looks just complicates things for the less informed buyer.


You must be young then. I come from the 80's and remember a lot of different consoles/personal computers (Spectrum, Amiga, Atari, Commodore, etc) available back then. All sort of non compatible video games where produced and sold. And the market was smaller. Now the market is huge. How are things any different now?

The pie is big enough for everybody to share a bite. Let's rejoice there's competition.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I was very well alive during the 80's and unlike many computer makers from then I am still alive today.

But yes, apparently the pie should be enough for many players, but I think times have changed. We live in a much faster time in which things are more compared all the time. Even if enough SteamOS devices are sold to make a profit, but they are outsold by The Big Three the media will announce failure and game developers will invest in platforms that yield more profit, even if SteamOS does too.

These things need to score big and score fast. If Apple doesn't outsell itself compared to a year ago on opening weekend the entire company is doomed. PS4 outsells Wii-U -> Nintendo is dead. Have to wait 2 more weeks for a game that is available on another console? DEATH.

In the 80's things moved slower. If you sold less devices than someone else nobody really cared, as long as you made a profit. If a hit game came to your computer 6 months later it was deemed worth the wait.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Thu 9th Jan 2014 01:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I think we're actually going full circle back to a situation similar to that in the 80s. Back then, all the best games were on the various home PCs; Commodore 64, Atari 400/800, TRS-80, ZX Spectrum, TI 99/4a, Amiga, etc. Those were all completely different machines that were not only for gaming, but learning and working as well.

Hell, I learned to program on a TI 99/4a, my first computer, and continued to learn on the TRS-80 and Atari computers as I got older. I also played games; I played the cartridge-based Dungeons of Daggorath so much that I wore out the keyboard on my TRS-80.

Then we have the console era, as home PCs made their way from the living room to the office and Nintendo rose from the ashes of the video game crash. Fast forward to today and PC and console gaming both have huge followings. It makes perfect sense for a PC-based console to come in and give us the best of both worlds, and take us back to PC-based gaming on the TV.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 9th Jan 2014 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I wonder how well people are up for learning.

If I post something intelligent on Facebook, like a link to some rather interesting scientific news, I get between 0 and 2 likes. If I post a silly picture of myself I get 30.

But I do hope you're right.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Thu 9th Jan 2014 11:46 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

It's all in your target audience. I have the same experience on Facebook, but if I post that intelligent article or musing on Google+, I get lots of +1s and commentary. If I were to post something silly on Google+, I might get a laugh or two but that's it.

It speaks volumes about the reasons people use each site.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 9th Jan 2014 12:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I miss the target audience of the computer people of the 80's.

People then bought computers, because they were computers. Now they buy them because they need it to access Facebook or play some game, do their on-line banking or download warez and movies. In the 80's the computer was the goal, now it's a means to an end.

When I sit down behind my Linux computer and fiddle about I learn stuff. It's just part of using Linux. You need to fiddle, Google and learn. You don't get that with Windows or OS X. They let you do things without the hassle, but also without the learning. These users become good at doing stuff with computers, but not knowing anything of what goes on behind the scenes and in an increasing digital world I think that becomes more and more important that people do know something of the technical side.

Reply Score: 3

Really?
by Ultimatebadass on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:14 UTC
Ultimatebadass
Member since:
2006-01-08

You sound butthurt over this. Playstation and Xbox are established brands with huge line of game developers/publishers behind them (THIS IS THE KEY DIFFERENCE!). It's true that right now the games quanitity-wise are just not there yet but you can be reasonably sure that this will change within a year.

You can't really expect people to be overly optimistic about linux gaming in the same way. Linux has been here for a long time and up until recently gaming on it sucked really hard. Right now it just sucks a bit less.

EDIT: I would be really happy if this steamos thing took off, just the same, I'm not getting my hopes up. We'll wait and see.

Edited 2014-01-08 13:15 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Skyrim.. if it'll run Skryim.. I'm in
by jabbotts on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:45 UTC
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

If the Steambox will run Skyrim plus my prefered list of mods from Skyrim Nexus, I'll happily buy one of them.. sure be less expensive than what I'm looking at to upgrade my primary workstation spec'd for gaming, VM hosting and Cuda crunshing horsepower. I'd happily budget up to a grand for a mouse, keyboard and SteamOS appliance after the amount of grief I've had breathing life back into an Asus Striker 2 mobo that's burned at least three GPU cards.

Reply Score: 2

andrewclunn
Member since:
2012-11-05

Less worry about viruses and spyware (and hidden NSA spyware if your worried about stuff like that) Windows users.

* Smaller box capable of playing games

Guaranteed support for your hardware Linux users.

* Cheaper than the equivalent PC hardware with Windows installed.

Improved performance for future games optimized and built for Steam OS (and potential Steam OS / Linux exclusives of the future).

The controller.

* Certain Steam Boxes only.

Not saying it's a complete list, or that there isn't a list of reasons to go the other way, but there are reasons to go with a Steam Box.

Reply Score: 2

yfph Member since:
2009-09-03

Less worry about viruses and spyware (and hidden NSA spyware if your worried about stuff like that) Windows users.
I guess settling for Steam's spyware is perfectly fine then.

Guaranteed support for your hardware Linux users.
Binary blobs for all. Think of the freedoms!

* Cheaper than the equivalent PC hardware with Windows installed.
Still yet to be determined. From some of the prices I've seen, not likely.

Improved performance for future games optimized and built for Steam OS (and potential Steam OS / Linux exclusives of the future).
Maybe in the future, but linux ports of graphically intensive games in my experience seem to run at higher settings better in their native windows environment. Then again, I haven't tried any valve ports.

The controller.
I'm going to withhold judgment on that until I try it personally. Interesting idea though.

Edited 2014-01-09 05:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I guess settling for Steam's spyware is perfectly fine then.


Could you elaborate? I've not found the Steam client doing anything nefarious; if it ever does, it won't be on my system anymore.

Binary blobs for all. Think of the freedoms!


Are these somehow different than the binary blobs already required to run regular GNU/Linux on a given system? No? Then you have no point to make.

Still yet to be determined. From some of the prices I've seen, not likely.


I've specc'd out and priced some of the machines, and it looks like they actually are cheaper than what one could build themselves when you consider the custom cases and cooling solutions. There are a few outliers, but even with a dollar-for-dollar match, you have to consider the time you'd invest building and testing the machine. In that case, the Steam machine is cheaper nearly every time.

Maybe in the future, but linux ports of graphically intensive games in my experience seem to run at higher settings better in their native windows environment. Then again, I haven't tried any valve ports.


Interesting, I've had the opposite experience. Take Nexuiz for example; in GNU/Linux, it's wickedly fast at my screen's full resolution (1680x1050). In Windows it gets laggy at that resolution, and I have to drop to 1440x900 to get the same framerates as in Linux. Likewise with Doom 3; in fact it runs so much better in Linux that I uninstalled it from Windows. Minecraft is so much faster in Linux I can turn on full graphic effects and set the view distance to full. I can't do that in Windows on the same computer without dropping below 60FPS. I've also had Windows-only games under Wine that run better than they do in Windows proper, especially older games.

Maybe that's my particular hardware, who knows. What I do know is that Valve knows their own games much better than we do, and they wouldn't build a system that won't play the game as well as Windows. Because what would be the point in that?

Reply Score: 3

Lava_Croft Member since:
2006-12-24

The fact that the only games you come up with are a hacked engine port of Quake, nearly 10-year old DOOM3 and a Java game is a perfect showcase of the state of gaming on Linux.

Besides, none of the games you mentioned run faster on GNU/Linux than they do on Windows7 here.

Edited 2014-01-09 14:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

The fact that the only games you come up with are a hacked engine port of Quake, nearly 10-year old DOOM3 and a Java game is a perfect showcase of the state of gaming on Linux.


I'm not an avid gamer, so I can only report on the games I play. I've stated here and elsewhere that I'm mostly a retro gamer.

Besides, none of the games you mentioned run faster on GNU/Linux than they do on Windows7 here.


As I said, that may be a hardware-specific thing. It's all anecdotal, including the comment I was replying to. I'm just giving another perspective. What's your point again?

Reply Score: 3

Lava_Croft Member since:
2006-12-24

The point is that you, like many others, claim that games run better on Linux, yet the only things you can come up with are anecdotal things about decade old games. While I enjoy Linux just as much as the next one, this isn't exactly the kind of publicity Linux supporters would want.

Reply Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

And other people claim their games run better on Windows. I was providing counterpoint to that point. As I said, it's all anecdotal, and my point was just that: Just because it works for you (or me, or him, or her) doesn't mean it works that way for everyone.

Reply Score: 3

yfph Member since:
2009-09-03

Could you elaborate? I've not found the Steam client doing anything nefarious; if it ever does, it won't be on my system anymore.
It isn't too difficult to read Valve's privacy policy in the lower right-hand corner of the steam client: http://store.steampowered.com/privacy_agreement/

Reply Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't see anything out of the ordinary in there; certainly no different from most online retailers I've dealt with, and definitely better than Microsoft's and even Google's privacy policies. I always find it hilarious when people slam a company for supposed spyware, yet give Google a pass for mining email and contact lists. "Oh, but it's in the privacy policy!" Exactly.

Reply Score: 2

What about Half Life 3?
by icicle on Thu 9th Jan 2014 15:24 UTC
icicle
Member since:
2013-12-07

What if Valve releases Half Life 3 as a Steam Exclusive? That would be a 'biggy' IMO. Throw Oculus Rift and the steam controller into the mix and it becomes sweeter still.

People aren't used to having a gaming console they can build and maintain themselves. Given time it might become the way forward for the industry (see IBM PC, Linux). Imagine upgrading the internals of your PS4 instead of having to buy a PS5 for example. Sure most idiots want it all done for them. But that's *their* problem and I hope *they* become obsolete.

The gaming media is as welcoming to new competition as is a corrupt political stage. The big gaming corporations, after all, put a lot of money into the media they choose to support. The bought-off media sluts are of course doing the bidding of their funders.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by trecx
by trecx on Sat 11th Jan 2014 13:51 UTC
trecx
Member since:
2014-01-11

Does Polygon know that the xbox one is a PC that can do fewer things, and run fewer games, than the system you have in your home right now?

Reply Score: 1