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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Member since:

"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

Reply Parent Score: 1

WorknMan Member since:

But choices should never be seen as a bad thing.

Choice CAN be a bad thing when too much choice makes life hard for end users. If these things are going to be treated like consoles, then they more or less all need to work the same across any game that is released. If this is not the case and you start to see incompatibilities and jank across these various machines, like games running fine on 80% of them but crashing on the other 20%, I don't think it's going to turn out well. This is the reason why a lot of us play games on consoles instead of PCs.

Reply Parent Score: 3

plague Member since:

Sure, but now you're jumping the gun a bit.
There is no reason to suspect that these things will in any way have the issues you're describing.

Why would games crash?
The whole point of doing it like this is to create a certification process, so that gamers know that what they buy will work.

Sure, there may be some lowlife ripoff oems trying to cash in on this by slapping a "Steam Machine" sticker on a low budget run-of-the-mill desktop pc without going through the certification process and without caring if it works at all. But that's the case everywhere, there will always be people like that.
There are numerous ripoffs of other consoles, iPads, etc, that are nothing like the originals, but scumbags wanna cash in on the hype.

Properly certified Steam Machines should all work just fine.
There is no reason to suspect otherwise.

People seem to wanna shred these things to pieces right away, just to make sure they could not possibly be disappointed later.
That's a pretty messed up way to live.
Only already familiar things have a chance of staying alive.
Doesn't bode well for newcomers, right?

Give them a chance BEFORE shredding them to pieces.
Don't go trying to bury them with FUD before any of us have even seen how they work.

Valve has a pretty spotless history of creating new trends. Noone thought Steam would be a good idea at all, me included. I hated it at first, saw no reason to have it at all. It was just an annoyance. Look at it now. I admit I was wrong. They were simply out very early with a product way before it's time.

This might be the next big thing. Or it might implode, who knows, but give them the benefit of a doubt. They do know what they are doing, as they have shown repeatedly.

Edited 2014-01-09 23:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1