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.

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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 Sure, they superseded Nintendo and Sega, so nothing's impossible, but I don't think this is what gamers have been waiting for.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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Well ...
by Morgan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:01 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 Parent Score: 15

RE[3]: Well ...
by timdp on Wed 8th Jan 2014 00:10 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Well ...
by WorknMan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 02:18 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Well ...
by zima on Fri 10th Jan 2014 17:19 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Well ...
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 07:20 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 Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Well ...
by lucas_maximus on Wed 8th Jan 2014 11:51 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Well ...
by WereCatf on Wed 8th Jan 2014 12:13 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 Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Well ...
by timdp on Wed 8th Jan 2014 20:46 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 Parent Score: 2