What Valve Needs for Steam Machine to Beat Xbox One, PS4

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dragonfang18

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Reminds me of my evolution class where a frog in transition from a tadpole is a bad swimmer with bulky legs and a bad frog with a cumbersome tail. Some things are just not meant to take on everything.
 

Scionyde

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Sometimes I wonder if console gamers get offended when we keep saying that too many choices will confuse them, haha.The idea of too much choice being a bad thing - "The Paradox of Choice" - is an interesting one. I don't think it necessarily applies to everything, though. If you go into Best Buy, and go into the TV secion, there are many, many different options to choose from and yet people don't have a problem with making that choice. If something's important enough to the consumer, they'll make a choice one way or another. I think it will be up to marketing - the benefits of PC gaming over consoles need to be clearly communicated for people to consider the Steam Machines.
 

Murissokah

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I agree with the author that fragmentation is a serious issue. In addition to the points he made, I believe the non-tech savvy users like the idea that they can simply buy a console without worrying that some geek will later tell them they made a bad purchase, which is very likely with a PC. Buy a console and you will have the same as every other gamer on that platform.

Maybe a mid ground between a fixed setup and an open hardware platform could work. Something like having three models (Steambox LE, Vanilla and XT), so developers could design their game settings to make use of each one.

Also, Valve maybe weary that locking the hardware platform now may do more harm than good, since a lot of people will probably try SteamOS on pre-existing hardware.
 

jessterman21

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AMEN! This is what thrilled me when Steam Machines were first detailed by Valve. I was so disappointed in the CES reveals, besides the iBuyPower and CyberPowerPC boxes. What Valve needs to do is what they originally said they would do with the "Good, Better, Best" tier system. A $300 PC that will play games on Low at 30fps, a $600 PC that will play games on Medium-High at 60fps, and a $1000 PC that will play almost everything on Ultra with light AA.
 

crazedaku

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I understand what the writer is getting at. In your Tv example, most users won't be disappointed by slight color issue, or only having 60hz vs 240hz. When it comes to Pc's, if you can't play a particular game because it is too weak, then that is a problem. The variety of choices and not knowing what will work for each game could deter people from purchasing or potentially create buyers remorse where the buyer never purchases that product again and even tells his/her friends not to purchase. Also, Steam OS is linux based which means only linux games will work on it, many potential buyers don't realize that their steam games won't work on their steam box because they weren't developed to work on linux. I see the same thing with cell phones. Many users don't understand why apps won't work on various cell phones, all they know is that it works on this phone and not that phone. My 2 cents.
 

Estix

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I think the acid test for whether the Steam Box initiative is working is basically this:Can a person buy, set up, and use a Steam Box with the same ease that a person could buy, set up, and use an XB1 or PS4? If you have to make too many decisions, or have to know too much, when buying it, you've failed number 1. If you have to deal with too many cables, too many (any, really) driver issues, or too much assembly of any kind, you've failed number 2. If you have to deal with games being incompatible with, or not running on the hardware/software, you've failed number 3.It's rough, oversimplified, and harsh, but that's what would be needed for most people to consider it a valid option, especially since it's competing against established platforms that can offer things like local multiplayer.
 

atikkur

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Sometimes I wonder if console gamers get offended when we keep saying that too many choices will confuse them, haha.The idea of too much choice being a bad thing - "The Paradox of Choice" - is an interesting one. I don't think it necessarily applies to everything, though. If you go into Best Buy, and go into the TV secion, there are many, many different options to choose from and yet people don't have a problem with making that choice. If something's important enough to the consumer, they'll make a choice one way or another. I think it will be up to marketing - the benefits of PC gaming over consoles need to be clearly communicated for people to consider the Steam Machines.
When you buy TV, you always guaranted to be able to watch the tv broadcast, regardles the tv you picked. When you buy pc or steam machine, if you picked too low on spec, you may not be able to play some games, or to experience as good as the game maker intended. So there is no guarantee here. The article says, the consumer has to be guaranted by the steam machine they buy, to enjoy without fuss, by some sort of baseline spec. Other choices without to worry to break the main function (playing games decently), is welcomed.
 

bandrei

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the 1st target are the pc gamers, not afraid of buying a pc. console gamers are not in the first wave they will be confused, afraid at the beginig, but after getting more popularity console users can buy better "consoles" (steam machines). they must have in mind a pc gamer knows the market, very hard will go buying something more expensive, just because has some label on it. so the steam boxes should be equivalent in price with a custom build. also a pc gamer want to upgrade their rig, so steam boxes should be thermal and power good for a greater variaty of upgrades. the small design and the steam os can make feel like having a powerfull/superior console. my dream is games to be free from contrains of OS, console . Steam OS and Mantle can make this dream came true. i am pretty sure Valve will do it right with these steam machines
 

goodguy713

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I think this is a bit of a stretch. this article basically states that people are bleeping idiots and cant tell the difference for them selves. Honestly I think the biggest selling point for a steam box is the option of upgrading it. I understand having a general base model level that performs at a certain level reguardless but also having the higher end models with exspansion in mind would be great for those who are more tech savy i realize there are a lot of people who know very little about computers or hardware but almost every one has used a computer at some point in their lives and I think that when given the choice in the matter they will make the right decisions. the fact of the matter right now is that while steam machines are great but this early in the cycle it might be a tuff sell but as the consoles get 2 or 3 years old and no new hardware specs come out then i think a steam machine would excel in that kind of a market its all about the games and the titles available. they need to stress the value of the machines over traditional game sales we all know how much value steam brings to the computer platform. that's the biggest selling point when you can buy a 60 dollar game for 40 or a 1 year old title for 5 dollars you cant get that kind of deal anywhere else short of second hand shops but they dont sell them that cheap either. plus you can never loose your content. there are a lot of selling points that this article really misses.
 

boogalooelectric

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Also, Steam OS is linux based which means only linux games will work on it, many potential buyers don't realize that their steam games won't work on their steam box because they weren't developed to work on linux. I see the same thing with cell phones. Many users don't understand why apps won't work on various cell phones, all they know is that it works on this phone and not that phone. My 2 cents.
You have a point, however if enough of the 65 million Steam account users adopt Steam OS, and it begins to supplant windows as the gaming OS going forward, than the games will be ported over. Plus newer games will have to make a linux version if enough Steam boxes become active. Then if Microsoft continues to drop the ball on PC gaming and focus on its console then Steam could become the gaming OS everyone uses. Then all games will be on the linux platform with a few that can do both Windows and Linux and the Windows only games will become rare.I think that the Steam Box consoles probably will fail, but the Steam OS will not. The people who build their own gaming PC's will also build their own Steam Boxes. The people who love their console of choice will continue to do so. If you don't believe me go talk smack about Playstation to a fan of that platform. Or try to tell them something else is better. Most likely all that will happen is a verbal attack from them, and no one is getting convinced of anything.It also would not surprise me to see someone come out with a mod that converts a PS4 or Xbone into a Steambox.
 

agentbb007

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The steam machine is an interesting idea but not a good fit for me. I like to build my own PCs so I can put exactly what I want in it and upgrade pieces when I feel they need it.
 

loops

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What Value needs to do is talk to Sony. Sony just gave up on PC but they sell a PS4 that could be set up to dual boot steam/windows and PS4.The day Sony states it will allow dual boot into SteamOs is the day I buy 1 or more of them.
 

JD88

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I think they should have a rating system for Steam boxes. Give them a number rating based on specs. Top end ones would be 8-10, mid range 5-7, and so on. Then give each game a number rating based on the hardware necessary to play it well. Finally, let Steam boxes automatically reassess their rating when upgraded hardware is added later.
 

ElMoIsEviL

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The person who wrote this article is stuck in 2004. Can somebody kindly inform him that 2004 was 10 years ago? Thanks :)"Valve's recipe, on the other hand, is intended for openness, allowing gamers and retailers to choose what hardware platform to buy and sell. My question is why?"Because that's where the world is headed. Towards more open platforms. Not just in terms of IT but also in terms of socio-economics. It is almost as though you've been asleep for the last 10 years.Snowden anyone? Wikileaks? Bitcoin? Litecoin? Anon? Occupy? NSA scandal?Does OpenCL ring a bell? How about the fact that Steam uses Linux? The idea is to create a gaming oriented operating system. That is Steam. Allowing it to run on a whole slew of hardware is a great idea. Maybe not if you planned to use DirectX but guess what... SteamOS won't come with DirectX.If anything OpenGL and Mantle will be used. Again... far more open platforms allowing far more creativity and control from the developper standpoint. For Mantle, the drivers become less important. Thus this notion of "fragmentation" is absurd. Especially absurd when you factor in the dominance of a "fragmented" OS such as Android over a Centralized OS such as iOS.Does the author, by chance, own an iPhone?
 

Jgriff

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It needs a closed Ecosystem...gtx 6 series to 8 series and current i5-i7, 8gb ram, then close it off for 7 years or however long the consoles last, then open it back up for new hardware when the next gen starts.
 

crazedaku

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You have proven another point, there are a lot of ifs. I like the idea of Steam OS but the allure of the console is that you know the install base up front. You know the "potential" sales of any game you create. The Steam Box could show the "potential" sales of a PC port, but can't tell you if the Steam Box can actually run your game. That means that the developer STILL doesn't know if they should spend time developing a PC port. Or in this case, a PC port that works on linux.

One other point that is bugging me, people keep saying that the steam box is not targeted towards your average joe, but I have been asked by several friends that have no experience with PC gaming whether they should get a Steam Box. I think this box is being targeted at the average joe, simply because every video game site is talking about it. I have had to explain this linux thing to a lot of people. I think the people I have explained it to get the whole different OS thing, but I don't think they get how limited the game selection is.

 

Jgriff

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Or even better should have just made the steam machine a i5 4570 and gtx 770 with 8gb of ram, affordable yet powerful. And just optimized for that, there's more than 3 times the consoles power right there and enough juice to push 1080p 60fps in all games without sacrificing anything. True next gen.
 

haze4peace

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I think each system should be assigned a number based on how much power they have. So say your system is a 20, you could browse the steam store looking for games that run on a 20 or less. That would help people who don't care to learn about hardware and just want to game. All they would have to know is their power number,
 

kenh536

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They will never just have one or two models. Not with that many manufacturers all trying to be different. It would be like throwing 20 children in a room and telling them to make the same lego structure.What we all seem to agree on is that choice and flexibility (upgrade ability) are good things and complication/intimidation are bad. What Valve needs is a rating system. Tier 1= Streamboxes. Good for in home streaming and indie and older titles. Target those who have a nice PC alrady or don't lay new titles (Gigabyte zotac etc)Tier2= Entry level Good 1080p 60 fps gaming. Main segment that will catch most console users due to better price/ performance than consoles (cyberpower, ibuypower)Tier 3= Performance Good for people who want ultra details or really high fps, great for an uprade after testing waters with entry level These would be the $1000ish onesTier 4= High end Good for anything you could throw at it as well as being a show off. Best of the best (for steam machines anyway) Also one of the big problems is greedy manufacturers. There are a few steamboxes I look at and cringe knowing someone might pay for it. The ones I mean have low end laptop hardware or plain low performing as well as overpriced as hell. They have have $500 or $1000 hardware for $1000 to an insane $6000. That and marketing. If these don't have any good commercials or ads then they are dead. look at the wii u. People this is aimed at won't be on websites like this reporting on it. There needs to be steammachines ads on things like machinama and ign or anything else most gamers watch like tv shows etc. TL;DR Make a rating system simplifying choices, regulate overpriced and ridiculous steammachines, and advertise to general consumer gamers that otherwise would be oblivious.
 

Jgriff

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I think valve should have been the ones manufacturing the damn things...with just one set of of hardware, then released upgrade kits when the next gen comes....that's how you take on consoles.
 

doron

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So what you're basically saying is that giving people variety and freedom to choose is a bad thing, or not the smartest thing.

Groceries, cars, smartphones, furniture, electronics, houses, service providers, you have a large variety with all of those and more and no one seems to have a particular problem with that.

The fact that there are only 2 major players in the console business is the exception, not the rule.
 

boogalooelectric

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Here is the bottom line for this discussion in my opinion.Steam OS needs its own 'killer app', to propel this as a successful platform.Then it won't what matter the cost or compatibility is, if the game is there that everyone wants and can only get it by using Steam OS it will succeed.Maybe that is why Valve has held off on releasing a new Halflife. Perhaps they have been saving it for this.
 

ferooxidan

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Good point in the article, valve really needs to make a baseline and their own device."Valve's current path simply gives manufacturers an option to market their smaller pre-built gaming PCs as consoles,"this is why I better off makning my own mini-ITX build.
 
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