All Posts Valve SteamBox

Published on February 1st, 2013 | by shashi404

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Valve’s SteamBox

Video game maker Valve is planning to launch their “Steam Box” video game console that will allow users to play games from the Steam online games store on their big-screen televisions next year. The plan to produce a console to challenge the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo was revealed by Valve’s co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell.

How would the PC-in-a-box be different from any other PC? And how would Valve balance the tinkering and upgrading needs of PC gamers with the nature of console development, which utilizes standards in order to serve a large consumer base? 

Console games just work no matter what. If you have an Xbox 360, your Xbox 360 game will run on it as they are designed and developed keeping the 360 in mind; however, if you have a PC, there’s no guarantee your specs will be up to requirement. The point of having a gaming PC, on the other hand, is to be able to upgrade and power-up your hardware in order to play cutting edge games. So there’s an inherent conflict between the PC and the console, and I’m still not really sure how Valve will address it. 

With Valve announcing their adoption of Linux, a Steam-based console seemed all but inevitable. Big Picture mode, Linux, lots of hardware accessories, and a bunch of people at Valve talking up the importance of living room-based gaming…the next logical step is a machine to pull it all together. 

Steam itself is hugely profitable for Valve, but as Amazon has shown with its Kindle service, the entire ecosystem isn’t complete without hardware. If Valve wants to compete directly against Microsoft and every other company in the gaming industry, including Apple, they need an ecosystem of their own, and a platform that includes both software and hardware. 

Valve will be under pressure to produce a winning game console especially since the new Xbox and PlayStation systems which are also expected to be unveiled sometime next year. 


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