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

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
Status
Not open for further replies.

stevejnb

Honorable
May 6, 2013
609
0
10,980
0


Not sure your analogy fits perfectly because there are some kinds of choices many people aren't interested in. Yes there are a gazillion different kind of cars, but, almost all of those cars let you perform the primary function of driving on roads. In the case of gaming devices, not every gaming device performs the primary function of gaming devices in its entirety - some games only come out for some consoles, or the PC, etc. It becomes more problematic when not every game runs on every PC, so you can very much buy the "wrong" PC if you're not an informed buyer. When games start to get fragmented across platforms, and the ability to run games is fragmented on a single platform, this adds a level of choice that not everyone is interested in.

Maybe smartphones and apps is a good example... Hypothetical - is choice good if Android phones have twitter, Windows phones have Facebook, and Apple phones have iTunes - and you want all three applications? I think in a lot of cases, the obvious answer is that no, that's not a good kind of choice, because it obligates you to spend more money to get the basic functionality you want. In the case of Steamboxes, if you buy the basic Steambox only to find a year down the road you bought a Steambox that doesn't "drive on all roads" - aka - play all games - then that choice just cost you the basic functionality you want.

I have been PC gaming and console gaming for literally decades. A lot of my friends aren't interested in PC gaming because, simply put, they don't want to bother with the several kinds of hassle that comes along with it, first and foremost being that not every PC runs every game. It'll get even worse when PC gaming is split down Windows and Linux. These are choices that some people just don't want to be bothered with - they just want a car that drives on all the roads and, when they're at the dealership, they don't want to get suckered into a minivan that won't go on the Interstate without realizing it. As many "consoles" as there are types of cars is not a world of choice your average person wants.
 

jack1982

Honorable
Feb 5, 2013
69
0
10,630
0
Valve should be overjoyed if they sell one-tenth as many Steam Machines as Microsoft sells Xbox One's. Any talk of "beating" them, lol. Whatever you're smoking pass some over here. The first few console gamers are going to buy a Steam Machine, find out they can't play the vast majority of the Steam library on the Steam OS, word of mouth will spread like wildfire and that will pretty much be it. Console gamers are not going to be messing around with setting up streaming utilities via their Windows based PC. That's why they're console gamers - put the disk in and play the game.
 

stevejnb

Honorable
May 6, 2013
609
0
10,980
0
As for the original comment... What Valve needs to "beat" MS or Sony - not their current crop of consoles, because I don't see that happening - is time, patience, and resources. To make it anywhere with this rather novel business model they're jumping into, they're going to have to play the long game, and play it somewhat seriously. There won't be the top selling device of this generation any which way.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Valve needs to fix their damn servers first and foremost.
 

4li3n

Honorable
Feb 8, 2014
1
0
10,510
0
So let's get this straight...you are complaining that their target demographic is customers with a brain and decision making capability? If simplicity is what you want, then by all means go buy a PS4,5,6 or XBOX1.141528 and be happy with it. Crisis solved.
 

stevejnb

Honorable
May 6, 2013
609
0
10,980
0


Is it really necessary to use terms like "with a brain" and "decision making ability" to refer to people who just want a device that works without having to research it and make the maintenance of their device a hassle? I doubt many people here know how to do even simple maintenance on your car, but because you don't care to learn things related to that I doubt you'd appreciate your mechanic saying you "don't have a brain" because you're not changing your own spark plugs.

Sadly, many self-proclaimed computer tech people are self important snobs who oftentimes are hypocrites too. Someone doesn't want to/bother to learn about how technology works? They don't have a brain, are idiots because they don't know enough to make well informed decisions about their products, etc... That same computer guy who is judgemental in this way though? He/she will go into a car dealership having limited knowledge of all potential vehicles and models. They will have to bring their vehicles in to a mechanic to have simple maintenance done. Come Valentines day, they'll be bringing their girlfriend/boyfriend out to a fancy restaurant because they lack the ability to follow a recipe and make something themselves...

Of course, in these cases, the PC snob is *quite* willing to write it off as "I'm just not interested in learning a lot about these things - but I still want to have a car, eat fancy meals, etc." In the case of technology, lots of very intelligent, capable people simply don't want to have to pre-research whether their device is going to play a game they don't know exists yet three years down the road. Does that make them not have a brain, or mean they are bad decision makers?

This article is more saying "If Valve wants to succeed, well, they're missing out on this audience that just wants things to work" not some admonition that people who DO just want things to work without having to do back research are idiots. We're all guilty of that in some walk of life or another... Some people are so bloody insecure that they attack others for it.

And sorry, pet peeve of mine. I see it so bloody often and it's just really not fair to non-tech people, but since this is a relatively tech savvy environment, the tech snobs sit there patting each other on the back for their supposed superiority when they really have no grounds to, all things being equal.
 

mortsmi7

Distinguished
Mar 10, 2010
353
0
18,790
2
I have to agree with the article. They need a reference design at least. It can still remain as open/upgradable as it currently is. Not everyone knows the right questions to ask when purchasing tech, myself included.
 
I think the article is wrong. Steam Machines don't have to be as simple as consoles. Consoles survival has been based on price and how much simpler they are compared to PC windows gaming. In turn PC windows survival has been based on price how much simpler they are compared to PC Linux gaming. You put a semi simple linux gaming machine with free OS and much lower costing games together consoles are in trouble. Once you also figure in PC gaming is ahead on console gaming in connecting more players its a much easier sale. FPS games connecting 64players is very old new in PC gaming where consoles finally achieved the mark in 2012. True the first mmo was on a console but today consoles are far behind PC mmo's.
 

chrisso

Honorable
Nov 17, 2013
1,333
0
11,660
116
Wow, reduce the choices and make it just like any other console so the dumb public wont have to fret over a decision; there is a novel approach.
Like the public cant figure, 'well, there is a steambox range from £380 to £800 and I can afford £500 so that will do to kick off with'.The vast majority paying will be 40 something and the choosing will be done by teenagers. Believe me when I say in general they will know what they are looking at and what they want. There have been 4 million ps4's sold so far, yet Valve already has a customer base of 65 million and a greater games range. A console is a console, but a steam machine is a games pc without a £90 windows tax. Dumb joe public my big toe.
 

Phillip Wager

Honorable
May 30, 2013
69
0
10,640
1
i agree with this article completely at least on the retail side however let the manufacturers like dell/alienware/cyberpower/ibuypower/falcon northwest/digital storm also sell direct the customizable variants just limit the walmart/newegg/amazon/bestbuy/sams club/ target and any of the other major retailers to the "reference" design so if you want an uber steam machine you can certainly go out and buy one but what the public mainly sees is the reference/easy to choose from reference spec'ed systems.
 

Phillip Wager

Honorable
May 30, 2013
69
0
10,640
1
i agree with this article completely at least on the retail side however let the manufacturers like dell/alienware/cyberpower/ibuypower/falcon northwest/digital storm also sell direct the customizable variants just limit the walmart/newegg/amazon/bestbuy/sams club/ target and any of the other major retailers to the "reference" design so if you want an uber steam machine you can certainly go out and buy one but what the public mainly sees is the reference/easy to choose from reference spec'ed systems.
 

a490920

Honorable
May 23, 2012
6
0
10,510
0
so that is the reason why most of the people buy ios based phone and hate android phone......because android got too much choices.
 
Sep 30, 2013
281
0
10,810
12
Bla bla. Even if you think it's too hard they can simply rate the configs.I suppose you don't want to let the producers of them rate them by themselves so either rate through some license of a badge saying what the machine qualifies as or simply let the Steam client check the specs of the machine and rate it.Also one can of course lower and increase details and resolution depending on what one got.
 

In3rt1a

Distinguished
Jun 9, 2013
554
0
19,060
26
I agree that simplicity might benefit the less technically inclined, but i disagree that all customization should be taken out of the steam machine. I think a step in the right direction would be to create three different versions of the steam machine, each better than the last. For example, a $500, $600, and $700 machine. Even people who don't really understand tech specs will be able to understand that the more you pay the better performance you get.
 

spectrewind

Distinguished
Mar 25, 2009
446
0
18,790
2
@Niels

There is another huge problem. I'm not going to spend time looking thru everyone's thread to see if anyone else mentioned it. Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo..., the competitors to SteamBox.. All have one thing in common: Sell the console at a loss.
Make up for this loss in selling games made in-house. (aside: The same business model is used for inkjet printers.)

Does Steam have this? If they don't they will have a very difficult time competing in the market place due to simple cost vs. benefit/disbenefit losses.

The next issue: DirectX vs. OpenGL. Linux can use OpenGL, but it cannot (I'll say... effectively?) use DirectX. Most high publicity games on Steam use Microsoft DirectX as the API due to size of the market they are selling to. Linux (and a fork of it that Valve decides to overlay and call SteamBox) is essentially restricted to OpenGL.

Correct?

That SCREAMS 'compatibility issues' to me for all the DX9/DX10/DX11 games that I do not see working on SteamBox due to the lack of DX support. (Mentions of WINE do not/should not qualify).

Just my two cents.
 

chrisso

Honorable
Nov 17, 2013
1,333
0
11,660
116
Ha! Valve has 65 million clients most of which have an account spread over a decade and Sony have , 4 million consoles sold? Half of those will get stuffed back in a cupboard. The steam machine is a games pc without the windows tax, its already written.
 

chrisso

Honorable
Nov 17, 2013
1,333
0
11,660
116
Ha! Valve has 65 million clients most of which have an account spread over a decade and Sony have , 4 million consoles sold? Half of those will get stuffed back in a cupboard. The steam machine is a games pc without the windows tax, its already written. Blah Blah linux this, direct ex that? Its like listening to Chickens discussing politics. Steam is already big enough to do what they want compared to the console wimps. A pc without Gate tax will always do well, gamers were kept roped by M/S for years.
 

trog69

Distinguished
Nov 30, 2009
32
0
18,540
2
This is exactly what I and a few friends have said about the Steam boxes. We PC enthusiasts love all the options and upgrading possibilities( I just upgraded from a 680ftw card to a stock 780 w/ACX cooling, and the comparison shopping and eventual purchase is a lot more exciting than the results of the upgraded graphics, since I'm only doing this because my 680 is getting a bit hot under the collar trying to push the pixels on this 1440p monitor. heh ) But I had to learn a lot about the individual components and both how they function and how to properly install them and perform occasional maintenance, because I was tired of buying the "Media Center" PCs that were worthless for my needs. If I was in the market for a console, having to go through all that research would be a big negative.
 

elcentral

Distinguished
Apr 19, 2010
459
0
18,790
1
i would have agreed with this article 2 weeks ago, it felt so pointless running steam os on the Intel 4000 graphics rigs. but 1 week ago i got in to the steam in home streaming beta and now its so much more clear to me. build a beast pc in to a wall and use a passive cooled pc in the living room. its pretty much my dream setup atm. so now you got the low end spectrum supposedly built for in home streaming and you can chose if you like a bit more power and use out of them, and on the other side you got the more noisy power hungry steam machine setups where you will chose the quality of your games.but i don't personally see the point of steam os, i will build a setup exactly like this but use windows to stream. be cuss i play on a pc so i can do everything not to be confined to a damn console environment. but this is joust me thinking out loud.
 

aule10

Honorable
Jan 30, 2014
34
0
10,530
0
The biggest problem is not the hardware, it is the OS. They are using linux, and that means only about 3% of your steam games works. and no one is planning to make any big titles to linux. so why should pc users switch, and why should console users switch? there is no benefit.The pc users can just wire your pc to a television, and that would spare you for a lot of frame drop if you choose to stream games from your pc to your steam box. the delay is set to 100 milliseconds if wired with an 5 meter hdmi cable, will give you 3 frames of delay. And the console users already have the perfect system for every game they play, if a console game lags, then there is a big problem either with the game or with the console.So what reason should there be to go to steam box and steam OS. you cant play the games you have any way, and there is no big title planned to linux in the near future. Steam OS and steam box, is running up hill before they even released.
 

antilycus

Distinguished
Jun 1, 2006
933
0
18,990
1
OpenGL works on windows, linux, unix, mac etc. Direct X version 10+ only works on VISTA PLUS and no other o.s. If mac users qWant games the developer has to write thwe game in OpenGL which means they should take the extra time to develope said games for linux too ( the most used operating system in the world..android is java ontop of linux ). Windows is dying in lots of factors such as gaming, business use, graphics and multimedia apps, office applications ( libre office, open office, Google apps, etc ). The only ones that dont see it are the same people living in the past and being to scared to jump in the deep end. If you deny this you are probably one of these said people.
 

houghe9

Distinguished
Apr 16, 2009
8
0
18,510
0
I think this is completely wrong. from valves standpoint they can't lose. they are not making the hardware. hardware developers are making the hardware. steam will still be steam regardless of weather or not someone buys a steam machine. they are already porting to Linux. this is all going to be minimal cost for valve. fragmentation? the pc market is already fragmented steam machines will only serve to decrease fragmentation.
 

Rafael Alva

Honorable
Feb 9, 2014
2
0
10,510
0
I totally agree that this will not replace the console, for a while at least. However what we really found out last January was that steam os is really the result of a need for developers to become independent of closed-source os's. Gabe said that windows 8 was a "giant sadness" mainly because of their closed source app store, which could expand in the future and cut into developer's profits. Moreover the console market is currently a duopoly in hardware and in software, which both sony and microsoft hope to make most of their profits from. Valve's purpose is to make gaming open in terms of console and pc, In fact Gabe Newell even said he would have no problem with having Orgin on steam os.
 

shriganesh

Distinguished
Jul 25, 2011
90
0
18,630
0
Yes, I do agree that fragmentation can be a problem. But the same has been told about Android and still it is managing to dominate the mobile phone OS wars. What Valve needs to is set an expectation for a steam machine. There could be different tiers. But the lowest tier should be able to handle modern games at mid-res. The Gigabyte Brix Pro is an odd one. It should be marketed as Steam Media machine rather than a gaming machine. 1 tier could be like ultra compact media & casual gaming machine. 2nd tier could be mid range which could do media, mid range 720p graphics of all games and 3rd tier could be high end which can handle 1080p/2K gaming.
 

cats_Paw

Distinguished
They are overflooding a market that is already quite saturated (gaming market) with new hardware, for software that is actually in decline (most good franchises are ruined sooner or later).I can understand something like oculous rift getting some good income but steam machines... unless their linux Code is something from outter space and beats mantle in performance... I dont see it working at all.Maybe its just me but I thought Valve/Steam was a software company. Venturing onto a new market like hardware you better know very well what you are doing, and so far, their approach is critisized by most people.I wish them good luck but somehow i dont see it happening.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS