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


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.

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"Games will very very likely have very visible compatibility classifications right there in the Steam store, with ratings for the three different Steam Machine classes, just like they already have for gamepad support in the Steam Library (icon that is either not filled, half filled, or fully filled, depending on level of support).

I'm not sure how you're going to explain all this to parents (many of whom seem to think that the Wii U is just a controller addon for the Wii), but I guess we'll see how it goes. I remember there being some minor incompatibilities between the various 3DO consoles, so this has the potential to get out of hand very quickly. Only time will tell, I suppose.
I can see how that could potentially be a problem.
It's pretty much like iPad vs Android tablets.
If you buy an iPad, you know it's an iPad with all the bells and wistles, but a non-technical person might not understand that the dirt cheap $50 Android tablet is nowhere near the capability of the expensive $399 iPad, or that there is a significant difference between the $59 Android tablet and the $399 Android tablet.

That's what happens when you have choices.
But choices should never be seen as a bad thing.

Also, to be fair, the icon thing they have for explaining gamepad support is as logical and easy to understand as it can probably get in my opinion.

My only wish is that Valve actually manufactures and sells a "Better"-category Steam Machine themselves, in about the same pricerange as the Xbone/PS4, so that people know what to look for.
However, it seems Alienware has been working closely with Valve to do just that, so I might get my wish, but with an Alienware sticker instead of a Valve sticker.

Edited 2014-01-09 20:12 UTC

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