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

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deadlockedworld

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Valve's goal with generation 1 is not to compete for "average" gamers. Its to solidify its hold on current steam users -- who spend lots of money on PC games. These very intense gamers, many of whom own both a PC and console, will spend ALL of their money with Valve instead of just 50%. Generation 2 may seek to compete with XBOX, after the platform is more developed.
 

DRosencraft

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Again, this shows the relative futility of the Steambox idea. You can't go limited because then you run the risk of either ending up not being able to play all the games people want, or being too expensive. With all these different vendors making different models, the "Steambox" label becomes little else but a badge to help sell systems, like any Dell system sold as Alienware, or an Asus system tagged with ROG. It's neither bad nor good as far as I say, just all pointless hoops to jump through.
 

rayden54

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@goodguy713 I think one of the biggest selling points for consoles is you don't HAVE to upgrade it. Spend $300-$500 on a console and you can play every game released for that platform for its entire lifespan (7 years for the PS3). What computer can say that?

@ElMoIsEviLPlayability doesn't give a crap about politics. People who buy these things as "console competitors" are gonna expect to be able to play every SteamOS game there is on their hardware. Yet, these things range from using integrated graphics to dual titans.

The only way to make sure that all of the games run at a certain standard (say 30fps at a certain resolution) is to design for the lowest common denominator. With PCs, what happens instead is that designers just set a minimum standard and anyone who doesn't meet it can't play. Unfortunately, that standard changes from game to game, developer to developer and much, much faster than with consoles.Frankly, THAT'S what I thought a Steam Machine was supposed to be (and it scared the crap outta me*). No need to explain to someone that just because you bought a Steam Machine doesn't mean you're gonna be able to play Crysis 3 with a decent framerate.

*When I first heard about this, I was worried that Steam would make itself THE de facto PC game system (as in have one or don't game). I'm still a bit worried developers will start optimizing games to run on Steam OS and leaving Windows in the dust. I have no desire to sell my gaming soul to Steam (I still prefer physical media). I'm perfectly happy with the Windows I ALREADY HAVE and the computer I've got. (Essentially, I think it would behoove Steam to make a standard system--I was just hoping they would fail).
 

rayden54

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Where did all the line breaks go?

Edit: Sorry for the off topic. Couldn't find the forum version and the other one takes out all the line breaks/
 

thechief73

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"One might argue that consoles now have longer lifespans than ever, and so consumers may be put off by a new Steam Machine so soon after another." Stopped reading after that. Sony has even suggested shorter life-cycles. Why the heck does everyone have this misconception that they need to upgrade their PC's so darn often to play newer titles. This is flat out ignorance and WRONG!!! BTW consoles are already out of date, they were from day one. Nobody is put off by those hanging around holding back progress for 7+ years? HINT: Go to your games graphics options, turn them down to reasonable settings, or better yet current gen console specs and be amazed at the ability of your PC to run any game. Sigh.....
 

mcgee101

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Most peop that buy laptops and even ipads or tablets hate the range of choices. Some still dont understand what the heck 32gb represents. Nor what memory is for. I told one of my clients that I was going to use liquid cooling for the cpu and they asked me if I had to attach the computer to the refrigerator. . People aren't bright.
 

rayden54

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Sony can suggest whatever they want. Whether consumers will buy a new console every couple years is another story. I sure as heck won't. If anything, I think they'd just succeed in pushing people toward PC gaming.

It's hardly a misconception. The only way what you're suggesting works is if you started out with settings better than what you need. The best part about consoles is you don't have to worry about all the future proofing crap. (It's a pain in the ass--4 months ago people were recommending GTX 760, now it's 780s). Granted, all people who think a game's unplayable at anything less than 30 fps @ 1080p resolution are idiots.

As for consoles "holding back progress for 7+ years," I think the problem is with people who think pretty graphics = good game. I think PC games would be better off it they weren't trying to constantly push the graphics envelope.
 

antilycus

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The answer to the GPU problem is OpenGL. A medium that any developer can run a "fill rate" test on, regardless of the O/S and get proper idea on where to balance the system. It also offers you the ability (non-beta) you STEAM games from your PC to your living room. While some games would ultimately suck with this (any turn based strategy, imo) it's still one HELL of a project to take up. Wrapper for DirectX (Windows Only) to OpenGL...easily the most used Graphics library IN THE WORLD and o/s dependant. It gives developers DIRECT access the GPU without having their properitary wrapper crap on it(direct X).All 3 + Valve steam face 1 large problem within the next 5-10 years. FARMS of GPU's streaming content to the televisions and monitors without the need for a 400 USD GPU. Think about that. Streaming whatever you think is best looking game today, to you phone, tablet, ouya, or any Android device. Heck, you can already due this for about a 1000 games using OnLive. I use my OUYA for it now. Yes. a 90 USD system streaming games to my television for a montly fee or a reduced distrubution price.All of this is already built into linux with SSH (go run unigine with ssh -X host). It has been for quiet a while (video card dependent, no intel Ivy Bridge junk here). Steam's biggest concern right now, isn't fragementation is things like NVIDIA GRID being sold to people that want to give users the best graphics possible w/ no pain or upgrade costs every few years. It's the AMAZON ECS of gaming and I garauntee you, this is probably the last gen of "console" wars. Businesses are in business to make money. If you can invest a couple thousand a month to lease GPU/RACK space from NVIDIA GRID, why spending millions a month to re-invent the wheel?
 

rdc85

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I'm thinking about some function/apps included/integrated with Steam OS...

That can detect the hardware and set the game setting automatically.. some thing like AMD and NVIDIA offering...
this could solve fragmentation problems to some extend...
 

Duke Nukem

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Seriously? In this day and age? The people that write these articles are the same PC elitists that scoff at console gamers for being stuck with one choice in the first place. t Furthermore, they definitely underestimate the average consumer. Everyone, from kids to grand parents, knows how to use the internet and certainly knows how to use it to find reviews and analysis for products that cost upwards of several hundred dollars.
 
I said it before in the forums once we saw the "18 Steamboxes and pricing released" - EPIC FAIL! Joe consumer is not going to waste $1000-$2000 on a box that "Can't play games" (if a game is NOT coded for Linux, it has to be piped from a gaming PC in a SaaS model to the Steambox to then be displayed on the TV). Further the machine 'out of the box' does not play a VAST majority of Steams 3000 titles (as I noted).The concept is good but I agree very flawed implementation, and I further agree a i3 sleek designed box coming in around $300-500 to compete in the 'console wars' price range would be the target for both the manufacturers and Steam. *BUT* the key to such a solution is NOT Steam, it is OnLive (www.onlive.com). We all read the news of Onlive basically firing everyone only to 'rehire some' because it is against the ropes. It is a successful model for SINGLE PLAYER games, the problem is they came out when the market shifted to 'MULTIPLAYER is everything' and lost the traction they got. So WHY is Steam not buying them out, and for the LARGE part of the 3000 titles use the Onlive servers to 'stream to the Steambox' instead of relying on the end user to have a PC/Mac that can handle it? HERE is a perfect opportunity, Onlive is on the ropes, a working model in place that works on ANY DEVICE (hellooo STEAM hear the herd running to tablets???) and cross licensing (Onlive already has MANY licensing deals IN PLACE AND ACTIVE) with the current Steam licensing plethora and solve the issue overtime for the MP space of titles. Could you see it? I can, it completely rock the entire market space against the consoles, and establish a working, inexpensive model TODAY to compete while PS4/XboxOne are just 'starting out' and trying to kill off the PS3/XBox360 marketspace (i.e. Microsoft confirmation no 360 games work on the One news article). STEAM PLEASE! WAKE UP!
 

Afrospinach

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I wholeheartedly agree, atm steambox does not have a solid concept to sell and is just preaching to the choir. Doesn't seem to know what it is or what it wants to be and in this way it will just be around rather than be a revolution imo.
 

kerbe360

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SteamOS seems to be in competition with Windows than consoles. It offers none of the advantages of owning a console and is more kin to a PC. PC gamers may buy this... Though I would rather build my own system as usual. The author is right. This is another pc like experience and console gamers aren't gonna make the jump... a reference box from Valve is needed. There needs to be a standard in a sea of options. Its not that people are idiots but consoles are simple.... Just put the disk in and play. Only thing to consider is the size of the HDTV.
 

jasonelmore

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Dear Editor, this article is dumb and diverse hardware is what makes PC the master race. Valve is not trying to be a console, they are trying to get into your living room.You have a different vision than what Steam has obviously, but this article stinks of "monotonism"the old way tried and true right?nah, we get bored of the same ol stuff, thats why you must innovate to get us excited about buying a product.
 

panzerknacker

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I agree with the article. Another impotant advantage of having a uniform platform is that games can use default display settings that are optimized for the steam machine. Console gamers dont want to wrestle through menus to find the right settings for AA, AF, texture quality etc. This way they can truly play those awesome PC games with the same ease of use as a normal console.
 

Marcus Wandle

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They should have handed development of a Steam machine over to Apple and stuck to 3 fixed configurations; Budget, Enthusiast, More Money than Sense. One presses a code into the Apple TV remote and your Mac boots into Steam mode. OpenGL all the way.
 

rokit

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

Um, games? Exclusive to the said console(even though its just a PC(so Linux exclusive))
 

demonhorde665

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i hate to say it, but i agree with this arcticle. Truth is valve should have just made a console honestly , what valve is attempting is to cut into the console market .. but you can't really do that with a PC. valve could have made it different from the other consoles by giving it real powerful hardware (16 gig ram with a custom I7 and a vid card equivilant to a GF 780 GT), and pricing it moderately higher than the PS4 or XB1. keep in mind the PS3 first retailed with one model going for 600 bucks and many people still bought it. I just don't see valve doing good on this one. Every company makes a big "boo boo" from time to time, and i think this is valve's.
 

demonhorde665

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Sony can suggest whatever they want. Whether consumers will buy a new console every couple years is another story. I sure as heck won't. If anything, I think they'd just succeed in pushing people toward PC gaming. It's hardly a misconception. The only way what you're suggesting works is if you started out with settings better than what you need. The best part about consoles is you don't have to worry about all the future proofing crap. (It's a pain in the ass--4 months ago people were recommending GTX 760, now it's 780s). Granted, all people who think a game's unplayable at anything less than 30 fps @ 1080p resolution are idiots. As for consoles "holding back progress for 7+ years," I think the problem is with people who think pretty graphics = good game. I think PC games would be better off it they weren't trying to constantly push the graphics envelope.
Amen to this ... i jsut don't get what it is with other PC gamers... one minute they are talking about how "richier and deeper" PC games are .. then the next minute its graphics this graphics that. i just want a good game that runs smooth enough to play. and yes i am a PC gamer, and no smooth does not equal 60+ that equals bragging rights only. smooth is 24 fps + imo. now i do like eye candy , but i have loved this last generation the fact i had one pc last 6 years of high detail gaming was amazing. i got a new pc last year though maybe it can run 6 years as well, we'll see.
 

Drejeck

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It's obviously a reasonable thought. A console with a Titan. Plain bullshit.Differentiation still makes sense since Steam doesn't bring you a console but a PC and you can use it as you wish. It's the OS that can make it a console.What Valve needs to beat the consoles it's to release HL3, L4D3 and others long waited titles only to Steam OS. A platform is accepted once ONE killer application appears. The same reason why many Microsoft games are not available outside Xbox consoles.He said simplicity? AgreableI say Killer application
 

Haravikk

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IMO you've missed the point; by being open the manufacturers are free to cater to whichever market they want, just like Android does. This means that some manufacturers will make performance boxes with customisability, while others will provide simpler ones that you just plug-in and play.Granted it might take a while for things to settle down, but there's no reason Valve should have to tightly control anything. Eventually some brands will establish themselves as good casual Steam Machines, while others establish high-end/upgradable ones and people will be able to select what they need.
 

everygamer

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I think Valve has a bigger issue than fragmentation in hardware, if fragmentation was a real barrier Android wouldn't be the number 1 phone os platform in the world right now. If the user experience with a Steam machine is smooth enough it should be fine, and if they can get Steam Machines to fall into the $200-$400 price point it could be competitive. The bigger issue is that they decided to use Linux as the base OS. This one choice has locked them to only being able to support OpenGL based games, which effectively limits the games that will be available on the Steam OS by 1/2. Any game developed for Direct X will not be able to run on this platform. So instead of consoles where there might be 1 or 2 platform specific titles like Halo, God of War, etc that only get released for one platform, Steam OS will find that a significant number of titles upon release will not be supported for the platform. The only reason why Microsoft/Sony's platforms can warrant developers porting too 2 different platforms (less so with the similar hardware of this generation) is that their products can eventually represent hundreds of millions of units and a large market. For steam to drive all games to an Open GL development platform it would require them getting a significant marketshare in the console market. Then fragmentation does play as an additional barrier in that developers will not know the specs of the target machine, just like the PC market.
 

codyleemanofaction

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"The attraction of a console is the simplicity of buying one, hooking it up to your TV, inserting the game disc, and you're pretty much set – that's it."I think the consoles have forgotten this though. When I got my Xbox 360 as a secondary time waster a while back, I was pretty irritated at the setup process. Between the Live account, Kinect initial setup, and then the mandatory updates which took forever to download and apply, it was over an hour, just to pop in whatever shooter I wanted to play... at which point I had to update that particular game. We're not talking NES anymore.As for customization of setups- I'm torn. For me personally, the Steam Box (pre-built and packaged) doesn't make a whole lot of sense... I'd rather build my own. For the guy or gal who'd rather buy a pre-built system, I'm not sure they'd know the difference in components other than what the marketing on the box says. Trying to cater to open source, but providing it in pre-built boxes seems contradictory.
 

razzb3d

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What the Steam Box really needs is GAMES. As it stands, there are very few AAA linux titles available. Hardware is a non-factor. In my opinion, it's way better to have a choice of hardware, and have the ability to run the OS on your desktop PC.
 
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