Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Input Devices Games

Valve's Steam Machines Delayed, Won't Be Coming In 2014 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the some-day-soon dept.
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Valve has announced that its Steam Machines won't be available in the market anytime in 2014. The company delayed the release due to ongoing work on the Steam Controller. Valve's Eric Hope explains on Steam Forums why the work on controller is causing the delay: 'We're now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers. It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements. Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Valve's Steam Machines Delayed, Won't Be Coming In 2014

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Known as "development hell".

    You always get feedback and always think of ways to improve your product, but you don't let that delay the release. You launch a 1st-generation, slighlty-flawed product, and spend all that development effort and feedback on the Steam Box II, which will bring in the fence-sitters, and which you get to re-sell as an upgrade to the early adopters anyway. The first-generation Roku box was pretty crappy compared to the new ones, but it actually got the Roku concept to market.

    This news

    • Traditionally, Valve have always extensively playtested their game offerings. Most of the development process has been based around player feedback.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      The problem with Valve is that they're a software company that seems to have no interest in doing any of the actual heavy lifting on hardware manufacturing. They seem to think of themselves as a Google releasing Android rather than a MS releasing the first Xbox.

      The problem is that, unlike with Android, no one seems particularly interested in their platform--neither hardware manufacturers nor 3rd party developers. And Valve seems to lack the testicular fortitude to even support it full-on themselves. How man

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        That's because it's a hedge against Microsoft's attempts to subsume PC games into their own walled garden, locking out Steam. The conditions that would make a Steambox necessary are also the ones that would suddenly make it - and Linux in general - viable for thirdparty hardware and software manufacturers. If those conditions don't arise, Steambox will fail, but Valve won't need it anyway.

      • The problem is that, unlike with Android, no one seems particularly interested in their platform--neither hardware manufacturers nor 3rd party developers.

        Say a video game developer that is a home-based family business is working on a controller-friendly game. For which platform should it develop this game? Has Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony made the developer approval and game approval process more straightforward than Steam Greenlight?

        The problem is that one of the core principals of the console is that it has specific hardware to design for.

        Another is that a console's monitor is more likely than that of a PC to be big enough to fit four people around [pineight.com].

        • Say a video game developer that is a home-based family business is working on a controller-friendly game. For which platform should it develop this game?

          You know the answer to that question.

          Has Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony made the developer approval and game approval process more straightforward than Steam Greenlight?

          You also know the answer to that question.

          Stop asking rhetorical questions and and being an overly entitled whiner wanting the situation to be what you want it to be rather than the way it actually is. You deal with the world you have.

          And don't bring up that idiot Bob of "Bob's Game". He was even MORE disabled than you, he was never going to produce an ambitious game like he claimed he could. And now he's every fanboy-with-aspergers martyr.

          • by tepples (727027)

            You know the answer to that question.

            Others reading this discussion may not know the answer to that question. Please repeat the answer not for my benefit but for theirs.

            • Others reading this discussion may not know the answer to that question. Please repeat the answer not for my benefit but for theirs.

              Okay.

              Say a video game developer that is a home-based family business is working on a controller-friendly game. For which platform should it develop this game?

              All of them. Well to be more specific as many as you can. Since it's controller-friendly you'd want to focus on the PS3/PS4/Vita/360/Xboxone/DS with less focus on the Wii/Wiiu. You could also support PC with the 360 controller.

              Multi-platform is the way to go.

              • by Wootery (1087023)

                What about the home-based family business part? You don't think focussing on just one platform would make sense, given severely constrained developer resources?

                • Then said based developer should join forces with other developers as part of a team. This isn't a one man in a garage business anymore. You might be able to code, but are you good at graphics? Music? UI?

                • by Sockatume (732728)

                  These days tools like Unity let you target multiple platforms relatively easily now that the consoles are x86; for more difficult ports like to the Vita, Sony will actively hunt down interesting software and give the developer either technical assistance, or contact with an experience porting specialist like Curve. Excitingly, Microsoft has seen the PR coup this has been for Sony and is attempting to follow suit.

                  It's a great time to be into indie games.

                • by Ash-Fox (726320)

                  What about the home-based family business part?

                  Slave labour.

                  You don't think focussing on just one platform would make sense, given severely constrained developer resources?

                  Constrained resources? This is a family business, you need not pay them, just push them harder!

                  • by Wootery (1087023)

                    Hmm. If there was a way to use slave-like treatment and 'pushing them harder' to take a two-man team and get the output of a full-size development studio, I suspect someone would've figure it out by now, but, well [inc.com], there's not.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Say a video game developer that is a home-based family business is working on a controller-friendly game. For which platform should it develop this game?

          As many as you can, almost all support controllers. Games drive hardware sales, not the other way around.

          Has Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony made the developer approval and game approval process more straightforward than Steam Greenlight?

          Irrelevant.

          Another is that a console's monitor is more likely than that of a PC to be big enough to fit four people around

          And if you have people around for a multiplayer gaming session but are unwilling to take the minimal effort move your PC to the loungeroom for it then the game is not compelling enough.

      • by i.kazmi (977642)
        Alienware, Alternate, CyberpowerPC, Falcon Northwest, iBuyPower, Next Spa, Scan, Digital Storm, Gigabyte, Materiel.net, Origin PC, Webhallen and Zotac all seem interested enough. Also, although they don't seem to have officially thrown their hat in yet, the CEO of Razer seems pretty interested. As it is, Valve have already got a couple of prominent gaming pc manufacturers on board, where did you get hardware manufacturers weren't interested in their platform from?
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @07:55AM (#47118321)

      You don't want to ship early then fix when you're talking about the controller. You want that to be a steady target for developers, not just for big changes like whether you need analogue triggers, but for subtle qualitative ones like the throw of the triggers and buttons, and in this case pretty much everything about the repsonse of those touchpads. How much contact is needed to register a touch? What method do you use to smooth the capacitance data into coordinates? What's the sample rate? Developers will spend lots of time tuning the "feel" of their games to match those parameters, and if you change those a year later, suddenly their game is going to feel subtly wrong, (Anyone who has had to play a console game with a cheap thirdparty pad knows this pain.) The developer will have to live with it or go in and issue some sort of controller-version-specific patch.

      Nope, with controllers, doing it right and late is more important than doing it almost right and early.

    • by Kelbear (870538)

      OTOH if you launch 1st generation product that's flawed just enough that there's no interest in a 2nd generation product, all of the development effort was wasted, and none of the feedback will make any difference since the opportunity has been lost.

      Right now they have only mild interest in the 1st generation product to begin with, even if all of the promised features are fully realized.

      Really, the "Steam Machine" isn't terribly exciting, it's just a branded PC. I don't see any realistic scenario where the

      • Questions: is this wireless controller a make-or-break thing? Is it even a USP?

        Of the answer to either is no, then get something shipped. Just be sure that if it does less, it does it reliably.

    • by joshuao3 (776721)
      Mod up parent, please.
    • by martas (1439879)
      didn't know EA middle management read /.
    • The Steam Machine was just a shot across the bow at Microsoft. The Windows 8 Store threatened to squeeze Valve out of the software sales market. Gabe Newel's Ex-Microsoft and he knows as well as anybody how they operate.

      When Win8 flopped harder than a beached whale and the Store flopped harder still they almost immediately laid off the engineers they hired to build the darn thing. These days it's mostly just a curiosity.
  • Someone do something witty with that will ya? It's too early for me.
  • by Maquis196 (535256) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @07:46AM (#47118243)

    The rumour mill suggests that some games like Civ5, Rome 2:TW and XCOM are waiting on the steambox being released so theyre seen as "release" titles. If this pushes back long enough, hopefully the games will come out anyway.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 29, 2014 @07:53AM (#47118305) Homepage Journal

    Controllers are hard to get right. This ain't the eighties where you just slapped some buttons on a box and put it in the players' hands. And they want to make a controller whose basic idea is completely daft anyway, because it totally screws up position feedback.

    What's really wanted is a game console where all controls can be remapped on all titles. Let's see a console maker have the balls to implement such a feature. THAT would be a revolution in control, not a stupid zero-travel joystick.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      THIS. I loved Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on the PC so much more than XBox because of this. On the PC I could remap the controls on my gamepad so that you could reach the ollie and jump buttons at the same time. On the XBox, they make it quite difficult to press these two buttons at the same time. They should seriously just make all the controls re-mappable. Many other games I've found have been made less than stellar simply because I was unable to remap the controls to what I felt comfortable with.
    • by Richy_T (111409)

      They should have just sketched out some rough (but tight where it counts) specs for the controller, released to the world then partnered with a company with experience in the field (Logitech, Nyko whoever) for one to put in the box. Bring some real competition in and we'd see some fantastic options.

    • What's really wanted is a game console where all controls can be remapped on all titles.

      We already have those, and have had them for decades. The console makers just leave the decision on whether to allow total remapping to the developer. Controll mapping is not a hardware issue but a software one.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        What's really wanted is a game console where all controls can be remapped on all titles.

        We already have those, and have had them for decades.

        No, no we don't.

        The console makers just leave the decision on whether to allow total remapping to the developer.

        And that's why we don't have a game console where all controls can be remapped on all titles.

        Controll mapping is not a hardware issue but a software one.

        Yes, and a controller driver, or a layer between the game and the controller API permitting remapping without the developer having to support it is not a hardware issue, but a software one. Can I explain any other very simple concepts to you this morning?

        • a controller driver, or a layer between the game and the controller API permitting remapping without the developer having to support it is not a hardware issue, but a software one.

          To minimize complexity, a lot of console game platforms statically link the controller drivers. The remapping would likewise have to be statically linked.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            To minimize complexity, a lot of console game platforms statically link the controller drivers. The remapping would likewise have to be statically linked.

            Who does that today? I would only believe Nintendo. And the remapping support only has to be in the part that's statically linked. The console's menu interface can be used to actually perform it. Frankly, I'd be happy with a "swap button with..." option, "swap triggers", the option to swap analog sticks and invert axes, although obviously I want to be able to map axes.

  • Cloud gaming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579)
    If Steam wants to sell devices they should sell an HDMI stick (like a Chromecast) and pack in a controller. Sell it for $80 or so. People could use it to play games streamed over their network, or through the cloud. If they end up selling a PC running a Linux dist with a crappy selection of ported games and costing hundreds of dollars it will not sell as well since it will be competing directly against two consoles and even other PCs which enjoy a full selection of games, not just a handful.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean cloud based streaming gaming. . . like OnLive [onlive.com] or Gaikai [gaikai.com]?

      • by vux984 (928602)

        You mean cloud based streaming gaming. . . like OnLive or Gaikai?

        Sort of, except NOT on the cloud.

        But rather from, for example, the powerful gaming rig downstairs at your desk, to the less powerful PC upstairs next to the PC.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Yes similar but through Valve's service and tied to their existing store. Imagine buying a game and an option to stream it for free even while it's still downloading. Or a subscription service with an a la carte option. Point being something Valve could sell or drive business their way.
    • Re:Cloud gaming (Score:4, Informative)

      by vux984 (928602) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @12:09PM (#47120913)

      You are missing half the point of steamOS/steambox. One half is to make the 'PC' platform big-screent tv-living-room gaming friendly.

      The other half, is that its Valves hedge against Microsoft destroying their entire business by altering windows.

      Valve saw Metro, Microsoft accounts to sign in being the preferred default, and the Windows App Store. They saw Windows RT with complete and total lock down. They heard the rumours of Windows going subscription based, and cloud based.

      Steambox/SteamOS is a hedge against Microsoft Windows becoming hostile to Steam.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @08:17AM (#47118511)

    Thank God for Valve. The gaming industry would be terrible if they weren't around. Any other company would have just pushed this out the door and made their quick buck... hell, no other company would have even tried to make an open gaming platform. If Valve ever offers an IPO I'll be first in line. They're one of the few tech companies out there that are actually doing something I'd consider of value.

    • by Andrio (2580551)

      I'm actually pretty terrified of Valve going public. A company like Valve can't be Valve with shareholders in control. Unless Gabe retains 51% of the stock... :)

    • by hendrips (2722525)

      The thing is, Valve makes the vast majority of its money from Steam. Everything else they do, like the Steambox, their first party titles, etc., are designed in some way to further the usage of Steam as a platform by gamers and publishers. The Steambox isn't a product that they expect to make much money from - it's a hedge against Microsoft iOSing Windows first, and an advertisement for Steam second. So I don't think that a more typical gaming company would have rushed this thing either.

  • Who wants last-gen games for a Linux console that nobody is really supporting?

    Valve's ONLY motivation isn't the goodness of their hearts to the Linux community, it's to stop Microsoft from eating their lunch with the storefront. And right now, Steam works great on Windows 8.1 but MS is also making improvements (albeit small ones) to their store. It will be a long while before I give up Steam.

    But the threat is real to Valve, and they want us to undertake all the heavy lifting, all the change, so that only 30

    • I can just stream a game to a small HTPC in my living room, or onto my tablet and have it powered by my main rig.

      I think that is one of the main points of the steambox. The way I see it is that valve is expecting most gamers to have a high power windows gaming rig separate from their home theater system. The steambox will serve as an entry to the console market, and allow you to stream your entire library onto the linux steambox. Sure you could have windows on your HTPC too, it doesn't really make a difference. But windows is not exactly the best HTPC OS, it's designed for keyboard/mouse (and more recently, touchscre

    • by DrGamez (1134281)

      Valve's ONLY motivation isn't the goodness of their hearts to the Linux community, it's to stop Microsoft from eating their lunch with the storefront.

      The enemy of my enemy...

  • Valve needs to put out their controller and that's pretty much it. Most Steam users who want to use a PC in the living room are going to build their own rigs. Alienware even mentioned that there's not a heck of a lot in it for them (http://www.gamespot.com/articles/alienware-s-steam-machine-will-be-their-least-profitable-system-ever/1100-6419770/). The whole issue doesn't feel that important.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Valve needs to put out their controller and that's pretty much it. Most Steam users who want to use a PC in the living room are going to build their own rigs. Alienware even mentioned that there's not a heck of a lot in it for them (http://www.gamespot.com/articles/alienware-s-steam-machine-will-be-their-least-profitable-system-ever/1100-6419770/). The whole issue doesn't feel that important.

      Of course there's not a lot in it for the PC makers. Think of what a console is - a box that you buy that typically l

      • Sony spent less, but that's just because there were so many flaws with the PS3 controller that any change would be an improvement.

        What flaws? Besides the weight, the L2/R2 buttons, the short "arms", the d-pad, and the analog stick shape, I mean. :-)

        It's not a horribly unusable controller, but it's not a great controller either. But trust me, DCUO is more comfortable with the PS4 controller.

    • Alienware are hardly representative of PC manufacturers though, if they could squeeze a single extra penny out of the pople buying their hardware they would already be doing it.
  • Half-life 3 confirmed.
  • Seriously, how about a USB keyboard and mouse option? It sure would get the thing to market a whole lot faster.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      What do you mean, "option"? They're Linux PCs running Steam, they all natively support keyboards and mice.

      • Thanks for that clarification since I read 'game controller' and start thinking 'WTF, *another* console??' Still, they shouldn't delay a rollout because of that.
  • by yodleboy (982200) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @08:38AM (#47118699)
    given that after 7 years they have yet to release a conclusion to the cliffhanger ending of Ep. 2 for one of the biggest games ever developed is it any surprise that they won't be releasing SteamBox on time? I've long since stopped caring about Ep. 3 and I won't hold my breath for SteamBox. Even if it is released, will Valve ensure a steady supply of content for it?
  • Please oh please oh PLEASE don't let this become another Phantom console!

  • Release the boxes without controllers this year then release a deluxe edition with controllers next year. I have a keyboard, mouse, and a gamepad all of which speak USB just fine. Mark up the controllers and sell them separately, too, if they are so much better.

  • I heard they're waiting for their release title to be completed first: Duke Nukem Forever 2.

  • Even Valve and see it'll be a turd unless they take it seriously and focus on making an actual console and make their games exclusive to it.

    But then again PC gaming isn't exactly thriving and it certainly isn't profitable given that most of its users are over entitled little pirates.
  • Value, Steam, um, look, your controller is a great idea and maybe it's for the masses who think the using controllers is the way to go, but I am not one of them. In fact, I'm a PC gamer of many decades. I don't want a fucking controller from you, I want the steam box. Most the games I'm going to play will require a keyboard & mouse for best use. I'm cool with that.

    But trying to make the one controller to rule them all is going to fuck you in the ass.

    If your hardware (Steam Box) is finished, then

  • What is the risk in waiting another year for this technology to be developed and released?

    If they rush it, the best thing we can hope for is something equivalent (plus or minus) to the current controller technology. Honestly, we don't need another Dual Shock or Xbox controller -- the ones we have are great, and there is relatively little improvement to make upon them. They also already work with Steam, nearly flawlessly.

    Let Valve take their time and get this right. They might actually start somethi

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks

Working...