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Hardware Games

Valve Announces Hardware Beta Test For 'Steam Machine' 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-it-while-it's-hot dept.
Valve's second major living-room-gaming announcement landed today: they have produced a prototype model of their first "Steam Machine." They've made 300 units, and they'll be sending the machines to users in a very limited beta test. Valve hastens to add that this device isn't the only Steam-focused hardware: "Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS." They haven't released specs, but they guaranteed the prototypes will ship this year. They explicitly permit using it in any way — swapping parts, changing the OS, installing any software, etc. "The specific machine we're testing is designed for users who want the most control possible over their hardware. Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors."
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Valve Announces Hardware Beta Test For 'Steam Machine'

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  • First! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by SgtClueLs (54026) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .sleulctgs.> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @01:19PM (#44950063)

    Want.

  • Re:An open system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wookact (2804191) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @01:30PM (#44950215)
    This argument holds no water. Steam's DRM has not cause anyone I know any issues playing their games. In fact they have even loosened control even more to allow you to share your games.

    I only hate DRM that keeps me from what I paid for. Steam's DRM has not done any such thing. If you want to complain about DRM, please target GFWL, Ubisoft, and EA.
  • by Lithdren (605362) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @01:31PM (#44950227)

    The OS is open source. If you want Netfix, you can add it yourself if you're motivated enough.

    Otherwise, just make a large enough demand and the company themselves will put one out im sure. I view this thing as a gamechanger, a console system that is upgradeable like a PC? Geez I might even consider one.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @01:58PM (#44950627)
    Why is this a gamechanger? We already had a videogame playing system that was upgradeable like a PC. It's called "A PC."
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:01PM (#44950693)
    The thing about discussing good vs evil, even "lesser of evils" is it necessarily separates things into black and white. This is not really useful for me in a world of greys. Is there a "good" alternative you know of? Because if not, then "the least of evils" should just be redefined as "good."

    GOG and other DRM free sites are fine, but they're not really in the same category for most games.
  • Re:An open system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:02PM (#44950721) Homepage Journal

    It keeps you from reselling what you paid for.

  • Re:An open system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dj245 (732906) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:12PM (#44950817) Homepage

    It keeps you from reselling what you paid for.

    It also allows me to download the game any number of times, long after I would have lost a disk or lost a CD-check key. They also have huge sales on AAA games with discounts you generally will not find in retail stores. Steam has advantages and disadvantages. For a lot of people the disadvantages are not important.

    Gamestop gives pennies on the dollar and I can't be bothered to sell used goods $10 at a time on Craigslist, including fielding emails and calls, arranging to meet the person, haggling, etc. If you sell used games on Ebay, you'll have nothing left after fees and shipping. For some people that much hassle for $10 might be worth it, but for a lot of people it is not.

  • by Asmodae (1155077) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:43PM (#44951193)

    Think carefully about those statements. Here are some possible consequences of SteamMachine:

    Failure - Status quo is maintained.

    Success (even moderate success) - LINUX Gains a huge user base dedicated to gaming. The calculus of game developers and publishers with regards to LINUX development and Linux ports does a complete 180. Native support for LINUX games becomes something publishers might actually consider as worthwhile instead of "WTF is LINUX?".

    Success and Valve turns evil - Games will be made to natively support LINUX so they run on the Steam console hardware platform of the day. DRM can and will be circumvented as always, but now they'll run on LINUX instead of Windows.

  • by lordofthechia (598872) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @02:59PM (#44951375)

    One word: Convenience.

    How many people have bought Rokus or Tivos when they could just hook up a PC to their TV, install the right hardware, install the right software (Browser, Silverlight, MythTV) and get the same thing? Convenience.

    The lack of convenience is what has been driving people away from PC gaming to the consoles. Why mess with drivers, OS updates, incompatibilities, updating your anti-virus, etc when you can just plop a game disk into your playstation or xbox and just enjoy the game.

    Now if you already have a PC with steam installed, then you're not the main targeted demographic for SteamOS and/or the Steam Machines. Valve is (rightfully so) looking at all the peoples with wads of cash beating on the doors of Sony and Microsoft and asking themselves "What can we do to bring these people back to PC gaming?"

    So now the consumers have another choice. The easy to use XBOX, Playstation, or pre-configured and ready to go Steam Machine by (Dell, Gateway, Alienware, HP). Just take it home, plug it into your tv, insert credit card, acquire games.

    Already have the PC hardware? Get SteamOS and install it (or dual boot with your favorite OS) to get a similar experience. Want to leave the gaming rig upstairs while you chill on the couch? Get a smaller Steam Machine and stream your workhorse to your TV.

    Their slogan should be: "Shh... No tears, only games"

  • Re:An open system (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pluvius (734915) <pluvius3&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @04:14PM (#44952355) Journal

    No, the very nature of the PC ecosystem keeps you from reselling what you paid for. Bootlegging PC games has been trivial for well over a decade even if you're only looking at optical-disc-based games. There's also the fact that you could never trust any used game with both a multiplayer component and a CD key (because how do you know the original owner isn't still using the key?) Those trust issues (not to mention the ease of piracy) made the PC used-game market essentially nonviable for years before Steam came out, and would continue to do so if Steam didn't exist. Especially since the publishers that are currently using Steam to lock down their games would continue to do so through similar methods.

    Rob

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaho o . com> on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @04:27PM (#44952549)

    One of the benefits of traditional consoles is the (relative) lack of the kind of hardware fragmentation that can cause errors, glitches, and performance drops....Will it be up to standards adherence and vigilant devs to make sure hardware fragmentation doesn't get out of hand? Or is there some magic bullet that Valve has discovered?

    Or are we looking at the worst of both worlds, with broken games that you can't fix?

    My guess...as in GUESS, as in Gabe hasn't discussed with me over a game of Xcom...is that it will likely be closer to an AutoCAD kind of situation. AutoCAD gives a short list of Quadro and FirePro cards that are 'Certified'. They are stupidly more expensive than other cards...but if you have a support contract with AutoCAD and you say that there's a video bug, they will (in theory) work with you to get to the bottom of it, because those cards are thoroughly tested with the software.

    What seems to make sense in this case is to have a Steam Machine that can have different modules like a PC, but in a much more simplified manner, like a console. You may not have a GeForce 790GTX contingent on a 1KW power supply and a compatible motherboard...you'll have all the Steam Machines shipping with baseline hardware and modularized core components. You'd be able to get a "level 2 GPU", "level 2 RAM", "level 2 SSD", and a "level 2 processor", and next year they'll have "level 3" versions, and so on. Driver updates can be a non-issue because they can be baked into the SteamOS patches; since they know what the modules will be, they can easily have the drivers ready without a problem.

    It *can* be the best of both worlds if it ends up being "limited choice". Being able to throw any old GPU from Newegg into the Steam Machine will be a mess, but being able to have different combinations of hardware levels in the same box can still provide some degree of choice while keeping a level of consistency that will be in line with the advantages of traditional consoles.

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