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Games Hardware

Valve Announces Steambox, Sort Of 252

Posted by timothy
from the rumor-of-a-leak-of-a-buzz-generation-machine dept.
wbr1 writes "A new page has appeared over at Steam with this slightly cryptic text, a countdown, and an image of a console controller. 'Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads. This year we've been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room. Soon, we'll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam.' It appears Gabe Newell wants to throw his hat in the console ring now with the Xbox One and PS4 about to be released. The countdown to the announcement is targeted at Monday."
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Valve Announces Steambox, Sort Of

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  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:27AM (#44916577) Homepage Journal

    I think Valve has a very good shot at taking on the console market.

    They have a recognizable and respected name.

    Their online delivery system is tested and reliable.

    Their software quality is generally good.

    What I know of their test betas has been solid.

    They have a huge catalogue of games for the platform before it's even released.

    • by Torp (199297) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:40AM (#44916623)

      Actually they don't have a huge catalogue, since it will supposedly run Linux.
      Unless they'll provide a lot of games prepackaged with a version of Wine customized to run like lightning on their hardware... hmm...

      • by wertigon (1204486) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:03AM (#44916679)

        200 launch titles is nothing to scoff at, actually...

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          More launch titles than most consoles have dad?

        • Also, knowing Valve, they'll probably release some UNIQUE title along with steambox, as a steambox exclusive or something!

          • Well, Steam-exclusive maybe. It doesn't sound very Valve-like for it to be SteamBox-exclusive.

          • by westlake (615356)

            Also, knowing Valve, they'll probably release some UNIQUE title along with steambox, as a steambox exclusive or something!

            After looking at the numbers posted for sales of GTA 5? Think again.

        • And that, sadly, is what their Linux collection on Steam lacks. They've got a couple gems in there, a few more decent indy games, and then a bunch of "meh". Also a number of those don't work well, or even at all, with controller so aren't really good Steambox stuff.

          Unless they are keeping things a secret, they don't have any real good launch titles. They don't have anything they can really draw people in with. That can then have the danger of creating a feedback cycle: Few people buy it, because there isn't

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:07AM (#44916687)

        Well the current count on the store's Linux list is 297. Maybe not huge, but I don't remember many consoles having nearly 300 games before being even announced...
        And yes, they ARE working on releasing games with Wine. System Shock 2 and Wizardry 8 are on the list AFAIK (ok, not the freshest games, but still...)

        • PS2 and PS3 definitely did.
          All of the old games to the previous generation that is.

          It's basically just an "oh, so I can play my old games on it? Nice, but, well, oh, whatever."

      • by wbr1 (2538558) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:43AM (#44916769)
        They may not have a huge library of linux games, but what they do have are some exclusive AAA titles they could trot out. L4D3, HL3, Portal 3, etc....
      • by ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:56AM (#44916811)

        Apart of the 200 already existing titles already mentioned, SteamBox + HalfLife3 would be a killer move from Valve and place them, at least, at a very good starting position. I can dream, can't I?

        What worries me is that, some big shots like GTAV are not in those 200 titles.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        with one set of hardware and controlled software package distribution I don't see why they couldn't use it for many titles.
    • by Alef (605149)

      It's not going to be easy. Bootstrapping a console ecosystem is immensely expensive. You need to become big very quickly, or you get a negative feedback cycle where you have few users, leading to few games being developed for it, leading to fewer users, and so on. To an extent, they can leverage their PC gaming presence, but it's still going to be an extra cost for developers to support an additional platform, which they aren't going to take unless there is a significant market there. And if the consoles ar

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        If Valve managed to talk Rockstar in to developing a linux/steambox edition of GTA V, that alone would cement them as a Real Console manufacturer. GTA V PC is supposed to launch around the same time as the Steam Box is. Just sayin'...

        • by drsquare (530038)

          There's no Nintendo GTA5 so what makes you think there'd be a Steambox GTA5?

        • by Alef (605149) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @07:27AM (#44916899)
          That's one part of the equation; a few big titles is more or less necessary for them to stand a chance at all. But they still need someone to produce the consoles cheaply (if they cost like a gaming PC it'll never compete with XBone or PS4), and that requires volume, which in turn requires a huge initial investment and commitment. I'm not saying it's impossible, and as a Linux user, once a gamer myself I really hope they succeed, but they only way I'd bet on it is if they've managed to attract some of the big players in the hardware industry (e.g. Samsung, LG, Asus, Acer) that might be interested in grabbing piece of the console gaming pie and are willing to chip in some serious resources to do it.
          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            The controller will be key here. If they offer mouse/keyboard input so console gamers can play all those PC games that are desirable but don't translate well to a traditional console gamepad they could have a lot of buyers.

            I think the differences between the PS4 and XBone will be minimal a year after the launch. Games cost too much to develop for them to be platform exclusive, beyond some subsidised launch titles that get to complete in a market that isn't yet flooded. Valve could offer something genuinely

            • If they offer mouse/keyboard input so console gamers can play all those PC games that are desirable but don't translate well to a traditional console gamepad they could have a lot of buyers.

              That's been done already. Didn't help get certain PC partisan developers to do versions of their games for the PS2 and PS3.

            • by bloodhawk (813939)
              If you are targeting those that want a keyboard and mouse then you aren't competing in the console market, they would be trying to cannibalise their own PC market which is unlikely to be a winning strategy, As a PC gamer myself I am not switching to any console, even if it does come with a Mouse and Keyboard, my own PC is almost certainly going to be superior to any console they devise as they will be far more cost limited than my PC will be.
      • I'm thinking their best bet is to make it an open specification for which they develop a standard software stack, kind of like Android did for smart phones. That way, they can get hardware vendors (Samsung et al.) to make the heavy lifting.

        Like the 3D0?

    • by gweihir (88907)

      I would love for that to happen, but we will see. The MS island of incompatibility is certainly not the way into the future.

  • That controller appears to be made of corrugated cardboard.

    • by Radak (126696)

      Hahaha. Oh wait, you were serious? Let me laugh even harder.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@dr u n k snipers.com> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:46AM (#44916633) Homepage

    That device is called a "gamepad" and has existed on the PC for years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It existed in game consoles before PCs even had color graphics.

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Op again. Sure, I have a 'gamepad' for my PC. I use it when emulating my old console games. For PC games its WASD + mouse biotches :P.

      The implication/hint being that this is a console announcement. However it says they will involve us in the design process. I hope that means we can turn off monitoring and always online aspects!

    • by tepples (727027)
      True, USB HID gamepads have worked on a PC since 1999 or so, and Xbox 360 controllers have worked in Windows as long as the Xbox 360 has existed. But because a traditional PC ships with a mouse and keyboard but no gamepad, it is common to assume that owning a gamepad is beyond the lowest common denominator of a PC gamer. Turn down your threshold; Anonymous Coward makes some plausible points here [slashdot.org]. If the rumored Steambox ships with a gamepad, that might help boost adoption of gamepads on PCs.
  • I'd love to be wrong but what would make me get a steam box over regular consoles? The regular consoles have exclusives I want to play. The steam box seems unlikely to have any exclusives.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then you, my friend may not be their target audience.
      If Valve make titles available to play on both PC & Steambox with just the one license then I would likely purchase one.

      • by LRAD (1822746)
        I believe that a Steam Box will be a modified PC running linux or windows that is designed to have a steam shell for maximum gamepad gaming. You'll use the same Steam account over however many systems you have, as it is now.
        • It will NOT be using Windows. You can buy a Windows license and install it if you like, but SteamBox is Linux 100%. Valve wants to get as far away from Microsoft as possible. I can see a future where they don't offer steam for Windows anymore.

      • by fostware (551290)

        You mean Steam Family access?

        • by click2005 (921437) *

          No, if you buy a game on Steam you get it for Linux, Windows & Mac (if its available on those platforms).

          • by fostware (551290)

            SteamPlay has been in existence for a while. Family Access to the "Gamer PC"'s library from a console is the final piece for people to reuse their existing purchases on a SteamBox. Family Access is a newish feature, and I believe it was a final hurdle to allow a large library of games to play on SteamBox on launch day.

            (I've even bought Mac Steam games through deals where the PC version isn't discounted. I'm a fan of SteamPlay)

    • Re:Not gonna happen (Score:5, Informative)

      by wbr1 (2538558) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:50AM (#44916791)
      Half Life 3? Left for Dead 3? Portal 3? Team Fortress 3?
      • by loufoque (1400831)

        All games with no appeal to the masses.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          You're right, they all sold very poorly.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            What does that have to do with it?
            That they sold well doesn't affect the fact they're not games for the masses like those for consoles. They've always been niche games for the FPS PC market.

            • by Nerdfest (867930)

              Left for Dead (1 and 2) and Portal 2 both sold very well on console as well. I think the games mentioned would do quite well as release titles.

              • by loufoque (1400831)

                One or two 3-million sales games from five years ago are not quite enough to launch a game console.

      • In case you haven't noticed, Valve has gotten a bit lazy with their software development. They can afford to, Steam makes them tens of millions of dollars PER EMPLOYEE just by being a middle man. So they don't need to worry about anything else, they make shit tons of money from it. They've always operated on "Valve time", hence the term, but it has only increased with the success of Steam and thus the removal of any financial constraints.

        However, that means if you think they've been secretly working hard on

    • Those that don't have a gaming PC are the target. Or those in search of an upgrade to their current one. It won't replace your PC right now.

  • They want my input (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aboroth (1841308) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @09:18AM (#44917345)
    Soon, we’ll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam.

    Oh great, because I have some features I've been wanting for a long time, like being able to sell or trade my games to other accounts, or selectively appearing offline to different contacts on steam, or at least not broadcasting what I'm playing to certain people...

    Oh, you don't want that kind of input. You don't really give a shit about what I want.

    Well screw you then.
  • by Xian97 (714198)
    Valve is pushing Linux for gaming, and I assume that the Steambox will be a Linux OS. There is only a very small subset of the Steam catalog that has native Linux games, so I am wondering if they are planning on supporting streaming from a PC running Steam to the TV via Steambox? There might still be some latency, but on a local network it is not going to be nearly what it would be streaming over the Internet, such as On Live or Sony's Gaikai.

    My biggest question would be how are they going to handle the
  • From what I've seen, it seems that >90% of steam titles are various variants of FPS titles. On top of that the top sellers for XBox and PS3 are FPS as well. Eventually the market will hit saturation; we haven't really seen a technological jump in the genre in some time to the best of my understanding. What would Steam sell once the FPS fad is up and people want to play games that involve something other than shootting/stabbing high res people/zombies?
    • "once the FPS fad is up "

      The FPS FAD is not a fad, it started way back in 1992-1994 with Wolf3D, doom and others. 20 years of yearly FPS games is not a fad. FPS is the sports games of shooters.

      FPS is so popular because people experience life in the first person so its difficult to tire of that style of gameplay, if you go pickup Quake 3 or UT2004 and force yourself to play it, you'll get immediately immersed back into the fun of playing. The reason we (gameplay) players move on is to see different gamepl

    • by hibiki_r (649814)

      You must be living in another dimension then. Steam has an extremely wide variety of games, you just have to attempt to look for them.
      For instance, look at the current Humble Indie Bundle, full of steam games that are mostly quite good.

      Trine 2: Side scrolling puzle
      Mark of the Ninja: 2d stealth.
      Eets munches: A puzzle game.
      Brutal Legend: 3rd person brawler/rts
      FTL: Space rogue-like, top down.
      Fez: Half puzzle, half platformer.
      Rocketbirds: 2d action
      A virus named tom: pizzle
      Bastion: isometric action game
      Limbo: 2d

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @02:30PM (#44918739)

    My Xbox 360 is now a glorified Netflix player. I was looking at Battlefield 4 and the next gen consoles. Frankly I'm BSD fan and the PS4 intrigues me.

    12 Years ago I switch to mac for my primary computer platform. As a computer, especially, for work it's done it's job extremely well as I worked around *iux environments and had MS Office. I own a total of 3 games: Knights of the Old Republic (bought on a may 4th deal), Wing Commander Privateer (GOG/Dosbox), and Falcon 4 Allied Force.

    When I wanted to play games, that's what I got the Xbox for. But @ $500 for a console it begs the question of whether or not it's time to go back to the PC. Especially with Star Citizen coming out. SC runs okay on my MBP (I have Windows 7 via Bootcamp). But for $500 I can upgrade the home PC (new PSU & Graphics card, has a quad core 3Ghz CPU & 16GB of Ram) and get a decent quality HOTAS & Pedel set up.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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