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.

Thread beginning with comment 580231
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 3