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Old 03-03-12, 11:13 AM   #1
fumanstan
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RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/2/284...gaming-console

Quote:
According to sources, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." The actual devices may be made by a variety of partners, and the software would be readily available to any company that wants to get in the game.

Adding fuel to that fire is a rumor that the Alienware X51 may have been designed with an early spec of the system in mind, and will be retroactively upgradable to the software.

Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up.

Part of the goal of establishing a baseline for hardware, we're told, is that it will give developers a clear lifecycle for their products, with changes possibly coming every three to four years. Additionally, there won't be a required devkit, and there will be no licensing fees to create software for the platform.
Kind of interesting, sounds like a way to "standardize" PC gaming a bit. Sounds less like an actual console, and more of just a software platform with specific requirements to ensure gaming compatibility.
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Old 03-03-12, 12:25 PM   #2
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Cool. I'd definitely be interested in playing PC games on a console.
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Old 03-03-12, 12:45 PM   #3
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I would buy this in a second if they could also throw in a hard drive and media playback. I want a home theater pc, but don't like wireless keyboards and mice so I'm tethered to the tv when I use mine.

This could be good for the other services like origin since they can be loaded up also. I don't do origin because I hate having yet another program like steam running. If it was all unified into one console then I would likely use it more.

Plus, gpu aside (since we don't know the specs of it yet), that is a pretty beefy system.
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Old 03-03-12, 02:49 PM   #4
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Could be very interesting if done correctly. I don't do much PC Gaming, but this would entice me to give a lot more games a shot with all of the deals they always have.
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Old 03-03-12, 04:34 PM   #5
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Since I'm not getting a Wii U I could see myself going for this.
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Old 03-03-12, 07:07 PM   #6
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I'd like to point out that a current quad-core i7 processor is $300. That's $100 more than an entry level XBOX 360 goes for.

For example, I like the idea of the Alienware X51. Their top of the line model, which starts at $1149, gives you a "console-sized" desktop with:
  • Intel® Core™ i7-2600 3.4GHz (8MB Cache)
  • 8GB (2x4GB) Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333MHz
  • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 555
  • 1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 32MB Cache
However, I can build that same computer for slightly less than half that price. It won't look as nice, but it'll do the same thing. For $1149, I could build a computer that would blow the Alienware X51 right out of the fucking water and will last me the next few years.

I personally love the idea that Valve is trying to "standardize" PC gaming. Granted I'm saying that with the fact that Gabe Newell could murder my entire family tomorrow and I'd still be the first in line to purchase Half Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3, Portal 3, Team Fortress 3 and DOTA 3 (and DOTA 2 isn't even out yet) when they're released. They're a company that could honestly do no wrong. I just want them to make a machine that is not only top of the line in today's hardware, but priced competitively unlike the Alienware X51. They might not top the experience I get from my current machine, but I'm looking for that sweet spot between where next-generation consoles and PC gaming will be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassdragon
I would buy this in a second if they could also throw in a hard drive and media playback. I want a home theater pc, but don't like wireless keyboards and mice so I'm tethered to the tv when I use mine.
A hard drive is nothing but mandatory. Valve's very own games come in at requiring anywhere between 7 - 10GB of free space; alongside numerous mandatory updates (I'm looking at you Team Fortress 2). There's also a lot of non-Valve games that require significantly more storage. Borderlands and all of its DLC requires more than 12GB of hard drive storage. Same goes for my PC copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops as they're broken out into two separate games (single-player and multi-player).
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Old 03-03-12, 07:39 PM   #7
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Can they finish Half Life 2: Episode 3 first?
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Old 03-03-12, 08:25 PM   #8
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I don't what to play PC games on my big screen using a keyboard and mouse. Most PC games do not support game pads.
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Old 03-03-12, 08:38 PM   #9
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I predict this will turn out to be just a logo/certification program. Like MS's "Vista Ready", rather than a strictly locked down hardware/software platform.
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Old 03-03-12, 09:41 PM   #10
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I believe gabe said "If the consoles don't open themselves up more then they will make their own console if they have to"

Doesn't sound like a cert program to me. It sounds like he is seriously considering bring steam to the home theater.
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Old 03-03-12, 09:51 PM   #11
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Can they bring PC games to the big screen without the cost of a PC? That will be a huge factor on whether this succeeds or fails. Also, there is seemingly a monthly need for a new upgrade, audio card or video card for games coming out. Will they be able to make sure that their "console" will not require constant upgrades and do what a PC can do without it actually being a PC?
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Old 03-03-12, 10:03 PM   #12
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
Can they bring PC games to the big screen without the cost of a PC? That will be a huge factor on whether this succeeds or fails. Also, there is seemingly a monthly need for a new upgrade, audio card or video card for games coming out. Will they be able to make sure that their "console" will not require constant upgrades and do what a PC can do without it actually being a PC?
If you're upgrading that often then there's a problem

My 2 year old quad core with 4 gigs of ram can run anything now a days, just not at super max settings, which i don't care about.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:22 PM   #13
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsa_shea View Post
Can they bring PC games to the big screen without the cost of a PC? That will be a huge factor on whether this succeeds or fails. Also, there is seemingly a monthly need for a new upgrade, audio card or video card for games coming out. Will they be able to make sure that their "console" will not require constant upgrades and do what a PC can do without it actually being a PC?
My 4 year old pc can still run newest games on low settings. And the graphics card was considered low end when first released
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Old 03-03-12, 10:29 PM   #14
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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Originally Posted by wmansir View Post
I predict this will turn out to be just a logo/certification program. Like MS's "Vista Ready", rather than a strictly locked down hardware/software platform.
I don't think so. Remember, Newell has made comments in the past like:

Quote:
Valve's Gabe Newell has been pretty open about his displeasure with the PS3 in the past, and it's clear from a recent interview that time has not softened him, calling the system "a waste of everyone's time" in Edge magazine last week. Newell continued, saying, "Investing in the Cell, investing in the SPE gives you no long-term benefits. There's nothing there that you're going to apply to anything else. You're not going to gain anything except a hatred of the architecture they've created. I don't think they're going to make money off their box. I don't think it's a good solution."
That quote was October 2007. The PS3 was launched November 2006. It took Sony nearly four years to finally break even on the console (whereas it took Microsoft nearly three years to break even on the 360).

We also have...

Quote:
Valve Software's chief Gabe Newell has unleashed a stinging attack on PS3, saying Sony should cancel the console and start all over again.

"The PS3 is a total disaster on so many levels, I think It's really clear that Sony lost track of what customers and what developers wanted," Newell reportedly said in an interview with Game Informer.

He continued: "I'd say, even at this late date, they should just cancel it and do a do over. Just say, 'This was a horrible disaster and we're sorry and we're going to stop selling this and stop trying to convince people to develop for it'."

It's a different story with Nintendo, however, Newell revealing he really likes "everything that Nintendo is doing."

"The happy story is the Wii," he said. "I'm betting that by Christmas of next year, the Wii has a larger installed base than the 360. Other people think I'm crazy."
The man was right. While Microsoft reports units sold, the 360 has sold nearly 66 million consoles as of the end of Q4 2011. On the flip side, Nintendo reports units shipped and the Wii has shipped nearly 95 million consoles as of the end of Q4 2011. I would find it hard to believe there are 29 million unsold Wii consoles sitting out there in the world, but, well, there's your numbers.

Granted, he did contradict himself by appearing at Sony's E3 press conference announcing Portal 2 in 2010. So, there's that. However, he's also bashed Microsoft as well!

Quote:
In an interview with PC Gamer, Valve's Gabe Newell discusses the lack of updates for the Xbox 360 version of Team Fortress 2, saying the team figured Microsoft would fix the "train wreck" that is Xbox Live's downloadable content rules.

Putting your faith in Microsoft to change its rules seems like a losing strategy, and in the case of Valve's Team Fortress 2 for the Xbox 360, it certainly was. Discussing some of the developer's failures over the years in an interview that included project manager Erik Johnson and marketing director Doug Lombardi, Newell explains that Valve felt Microsoft's rules regarding how often downloadable content can be offered and how much can be distributed for free were "untenable."

We thought that there would be something that would emerge, because we figured it was a sort of untenable… "Oh yeah, we understand that these are the rules now, but it's such a train wreck that something will have to change."

That something did not change, resulting in a PC version of Team Fortress 2 that's evolved far beyond the release for Microsoft's consoles.
Where has Team Fortress 2 gone in its development? Newell made the game free-to-play in its fourth year as its now supported by micro transactions. Where has that put the game? 59,547 people were playing Team Fortress 2 at a given time today making it the second most played game on Steam. What happens to be in front of it? Valve's own Counter-strike (and Counter-strike: Source). Games that have sold millions of copies in the past six months, Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, don't even have as many players online at a given time.

Newell gets it. He gets how games should be built and developed. He gets how games should be played. He gets how they should be priced. [Fuck, Portal 2 on the PS3 came with both the PS3 and the Steam copy of the game. I had three platforms (PS3, Windows and Mac) to play the game on for one, single price.] You can't say that about Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony. There's reasons why the video game community is loyal to Newell and his team.

If any company is going to be going against the big three, I'm glad that Valve will be the one.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:48 PM   #15
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

It doesn't seem like other competent developers out there are having any problems developing good/great games for the PS3. Sounds like Newell has just wanted to bitch since day 1. Newell's stance on all this will change when he they have to pour millions of dollars into developing their unit. It's not like it is something that they can slap together in a garage with spare parts and very little cost.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:03 PM   #16
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I remember complaints about the PS3 being from more developers than just Newell. Usually people making multi-platform games would bemoan having to deal with the PS3's architecture.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:08 PM   #17
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
I remember complaints about the PS3 being from more developers than just Newell. Usually people making multi-platform games would bemoan having to deal with the PS3's architecture.
I also remember complaints but is seems like most of the developers just learned how to develop for it and some of them have created some kick ass games.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:15 PM   #18
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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I also remember complaints but is seems like most of the developers just learned how to develop for it and some of them have created some kick ass games.
Oh, I certainly agree. However, I don't think the issue was that it could not be done. Rather that Sony unnecesarily complicated things.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:20 PM   #19
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I don't think Newell is saying you can't make a good game for the PS3, but rather that the PS3's architecture is so unlike anything else out there that its a lot of work for only one platform.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:14 AM   #20
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

The talk of a Steam Box reminds me of the Phantom console by Infintium Labs. What's that, you don't remember the Phantom, announced back in 2003?


http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/08/20

That's because it never got released, although the company sucked up a lot of funds.


http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/30

The only thing the company ever managed to release was the keyboard they had designed for the console.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Entertainment


Even earlier than that, I remember back in the 90s reading a magazine article about a game console that would've used PC hardware (I think a 386 CPU) and played PC games. That never got made either.


I was actually thinking it'd be interesting if someone created a hardware standard for a gaming console, but using Android instead of Windows. There'd be different levels of specs (either for new generations of hardware or even different tiers within a generation) that manufacturers would build and certify for, and the software developers could aim for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassdragon View Post
I would buy this in a second if they could also throw in a hard drive and media playback.
I would assume that any Steam Box would have a harddrive, since Steam is largely a download delivery service. They likely didn't mention it in the specs above because they're not going to affect gaming performance that much, and the capacity isn't likely tied down, and possibly would be available in a range and (hopefully) user upgradable.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:31 AM   #21
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

You want to buy a good gaming pc ready to go?

1000 bucks.

You want to build one yourself with the same power?

600 bucks.


Actual cost of the parts before mark-up of the computer you build yourself?

400 bucks.

With the PC, once you buy it the money no longer flows to the people making the computer. Consoles have historically sold at or below cost to make because they will generate money with every game sold. No one has figured out a way yet to sell a pc at or below cost and still bring in a steady stream of money. Valve might just do it.

You have a delivery system that will bring money to valve LONG after it is sold to the consumer. If they are willing or able to sell at TRUE cost or below cost, you might see a 399 dollar "pc" with the same power as one that would cost 40% more to build on your own or 125% to buy already put together.

Could be a game changer...

You could have this come out the same time as the next xbox/ps4 with more power, same cost and 1000x more games. Touching the casual to hardcore gamer. No used game sales. Total control over retail.
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Old 03-04-12, 12:40 AM   #22
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

I just don't see this working, in a business sense. I mean, I believe that Steam can create a new console, at an affordable price, and that it can run Steam (PC) games with little issues, like a modern console. I can see that. But I can't see Valve making money.

I mean, you already have a PC, that can run Steam and play PC games. You have an Xbox, Wii and/or PS3. Why would you need a "console" that can run PC games?

Who are supposed to be the people interested in this kind of console?
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Old 03-04-12, 12:41 AM   #23
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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I don't think Newell is saying you can't make a good game for the PS3, but rather that the PS3's architecture is so unlike anything else out there that its a lot of work for only one platform.
Exactly. And that's the point other developers have made as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
There'd be different levels of specs (either for new generations of hardware or even different tiers within a generation) that manufacturers would build and certify for, and the software developers could aim for.
That sounds too much like the 3DO. That didn't end well.
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Old 03-04-12, 01:06 AM   #24
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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I just don't see this working, in a business sense. I mean, I believe that Steam can create a new console, at an affordable price, and that it can run Steam (PC) games with little issues, like a modern console. I can see that. But I can't see Valve making money.

I mean, you already have a PC, that can run Steam and play PC games. You have an Xbox, Wii and/or PS3. Why would you need a "console" that can run PC games?

Who are supposed to be the people interested in this kind of console?
The people who have one computer in a separate room than the home theater where it's not feasible to run cables to run it on the main tv. Or maybe people who don't have the room to set up even a slim pc by their entertainment center to use a an HTPC.

Of course, this is all dependent on price and ease of use. IF if is under 300 bucks (not likely with those specs) and IF it can be navigated and played, including support for all the games without a keyboard mouse (that's why I don't have on in my living room. Wireless of both work like shit in my house for some reason and i don't like cords along my floor) then it may work. Otherwise it could tank badly.
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Old 03-04-12, 02:17 AM   #25
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Re: RUMOR: Valve working on 'Steam Box' Gaming Console

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That sounds too much like the 3DO. That didn't end well.
That's what I was thinking.

And a big problem they would have is a lack of exclusive titles. Consoles rely on exclusives to sell hardware, and unless Valve is planning on making their own games exclusive to this console, they may not have any. I don't think they're big enough to buy developers like MS and Sony can, and they have nothing that can sell on the level of Nintendo's Mario or Zelda.
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