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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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 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 13:45 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Morgan on Wed 8th Jan 2014 22:27 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 Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Bobthearch on Wed 8th Jan 2014 14:57 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:39 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 Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by sbenitezb on Wed 8th Jan 2014 15:14 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 8th Jan 2014 16:34 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 Parent Score: 3