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Newell: Steam Box customer testing in 3-4 months

Valve head says controllers still being developed

Gabe Newell revealed some information about the Steam Box in an interview with the BBC at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards. "We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months," Newell told the BBC reporter. "It's the openness and flexibility of a PC done in a way that makes it work well in a living room. There are noise issues and heat issues, and being able to do that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it."

Newell also said that Valve is continuing to work on controllers for the Steam Box, and experimenting with biometrics in order to improve the game experience. "If you think of a game like Left For Dead - which was trying to put you into a sort of horror movie - if you don't change the experience of what the player is actually feeling then it stops being a horror game," Newell said. He noted the possibility of the game being aware of the player's response to the action in order to change what the game does to increase the desired player emotion.

Newell noted that the new generation of consoles coming up are also based on the PC architecture, which he feels is a good thing. "The nice thing is that all the consoles are moving in the direction of PCs," Newell said. "It's great to see that that's occurring."

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Latest comments (14)

Jade Law Senior concept artist, Reloaded Productions3 years ago
Im really excited to see what happens with steam box.
Im curious as to what the price will be as that will dictate its market. Will the average pc gamer make this purchase as it is essentially a console or will it feel defunct when they already have everything they want?
Will console gamers warm to it if its price-tag is too high, or will this be considered a reliable alternative to making the leap to a gaming pc?
Whats its hook for competing with living room brands like xbox and playstation to average joe public?

I'm not sure if I would buy one myself just yet but I'm really hoping this is a success for valve as competition for other consoles wouldn't be a bad thing. I'd love for microsoft to step up their game a bit with digital delivery.
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital3 years ago
As Steam has become an impenetrable walled garden, where your only option to get your games there is either via a publisher or winning a lottery in Greenlight, I really hope that Steam Box won't make any relevant impact within the dedicated game hardware market. Because otherwise, it is a really bad news for every small developer / publisher.
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Antony Carter Senior Programmer, Epic Games3 years ago
I also get confused by Gabes constant calling for Console platforms to be more open, when it seems the steam platform has equally high walls, Do as you preach Gabe, if its a success others will follow.
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Show all comments (14)
Alexandros Gekas Co- Founder, Editor, Ragequit.gr3 years ago
@ Jakub, Antony: Maybe you two should read about Newell's plans for Steam's future before jumping to conclusions:

http://www.vg247.com/2013/02/01/newell-on-steam-bottleneck-wants-to-open-up-publishing-to-anyone/
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
From what I'm hearing its still easier to get game on a PC service than a console, especially when consoles require super high submission fees, costly licenses and dev kits, all expensive and not as likely to pass. I don't think its just me but I see a lot more games on Steam than PSN for example. There are walls everywhere but they're not built equally by any means so I can't see Steam, PSN and Xbox Live being the same.

Asides from that, we don't completely know what the steam box entails. The hardware itself is sounds pretty open and Linux based. I wouldn't be too surprised if other applications asides from games could be installed, including superior media players and other services. Even though all the consoles including this steam box will have similar architecture, they won't all have the same level of 'openness'.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd3 years ago
@ Jakub Considering it's still insanely easier to get your game on Steam than on XBLA, PSN, or Nintendo Network, I'd say you should still be rooting for them. Your other option is Ouya, but I don't see why you can't have multiple boxes existing. Also Valve has already expressed interest in opening up Steam much more. They're just trying to find the right way to do it.
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital3 years ago
@Adam, Nicolas: Sorry guys, but you obviously don't have a slightest idea of what are you talking about. Unless you are AA to AAA, Valve won't even look at your games, you are directly sent to Greenlight. You can have the next Fez or Minecraft, but you either need a publishing deal or you need to rely on the "wisdom" of the crowd. So, you have to more or less make the whole game, invest a lot of money into it and then hope that some kids are not in the "I feel like down-voting someone today" mood.

Anyone who can afford a high-end PC can afford a DevKit and can self-publish on PSN and Nintendo. Microsoft won't let you self-publish, but they will at least LOOK at what you have and... you know... consider publishing it.

Now tell me how is Valve insanely easier to get to? Really, tell me.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ Jakub

Go through the list of indie titles released before Greenlight became a thing. Look at WarZ. Then tell me that there's any kind of vetting process or standard to getting titles on Steam. AA? God, some titles aren't even A. :)
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
@Jakub

Sorry, but I'm not convinced.

I'm hearing a lot about why PSN etc are "not so bad" even "not a walled garden" but I'm not hearing much about what makes PSN and co so much better. I've had, heard and discussed various accounts of where things are not nearly as rosey as you're making out. Or where easy for some types of studio, its not for others.

Even in the article "PlayStation 4 Must Demolish The Walled Garden" we had a very mixed bag of views.
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Rob Jessop R&D Programmer, Crytek3 years ago
As Rob Fahey pointed out in the comments section of the article Adam mentioned, if you can't get on Steam there are still other viable stores to sell or be discovered through, which have fewer or no technical requirements and don't exist on consoles. If a Steam box is going to be PC/Linux based, this will probably be true there too.
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital3 years ago
@ Morville: I am not judging quality, but the business side of things and the actual probability that a small developer's game will ever make it to Steam.

@ Adam: I give up. If you believe that Steam is an indie heaven, go on. All I am saying is that the console makers made a lot of things easier for indies in the last few years and they deserve a lot of credit for that, instead of being constantly measured against the almighty Valve, who are making the life of indies progressively worse. That''s all. I am finished.

@Rob: Steam IS PC digital market. There are alternatives, but none of them is in the same league as Steam.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
@Jakub

Gotta say, I'm not impressed. I'm not sure why you're so angry.
I give up. If you believe that Steam is an indie heaven, go on.
I merely stated that from the various accounts I've had (including some of my own investigation into platforms and distribution) it is generally seen as being easier to distribute games on a PC based service. I didn't even specify Steam in that line and made it clear this is going by what I've gathered - but you thought it was necessary to disregard me as 'totally wrong'. I don't see how developer accounts are wrong they are what we call experiences which you know, vary?
All I am saying is that the console makers made a lot of things easier for indies in the last few years and they deserve a lot of credit for that instead of being constantly measured against the almighty Valve, who are making the life of indies progressively worse. That''s all. I am finished.
I'm not exactly a devout Valve follower, apologist or 'any of the above' and I'm happy to acknowledge the idea and fact console manufacturers have made their services more open and more approachable, which should be good for everyone.

My angle is quite simply, that the grass is obviously not as green as you're making out in your angry rant against Valve, where I'm simply repeating and chiming in on a variety of experiences different studios of different sizes, individuals or those used to different technologies or processes will obviously be going through when submitting on a PC (Steam or otherwise) or on a console.

This has got nothing to do with me thinking Valve and Steam are "indie heaven" its me not allowing myself to be deceived or pushed into thinking in one uniform way, when that is pure madness.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 7th March 2013 3:58pm

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Robert Mac-Donald Game Designer, Lethe Games3 years ago
Jakub, on other news Gaben was discussing how they may open steam so anyone can upload a game, kinda like the Android/IOS store, as well as allowing people to create their own stores.
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital3 years ago
I don't want to sound like a grumpy Steam-hater :-) Steam is a great service, but there are things I don't like about it and I am using the power of the internet to discuss those issues.

@Robert: I am not sure that is a good option either. Honestly, do you consider AppStore a healthy marketplace? Discoverability of content is so bad, that not only the publishers and developers have to release their content for free, they actually have to pay to have people playing their game. The XBLA model with indie games section, where anyone can release anything and then the "major" shop next to it, for people who do games for living, seems like the best scenario to me.
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