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Valve announces Steam Machines

Valve announces Steam Machines

Wed 25 Sep 2013 5:14pm GMT / 1:14pm EDT / 10:14am PDT
Hardware

Valve expects to have "several boxes" from different manufacturers

Valve has revealed its second step into the living room: Steam Machines. Like many speculated, while Valve has its own prototype Steam Machine, other manufacturers will be making devices of different prices and configurations.

"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," says the company on the reveal website.

Valve still wants SteamOS to be open, so users can build their Steam Machine if they so desire. The company also seems open to users tweaking Steam Machines however they want. Mouse and keyboard do not seem to be the primary means of interacting with Steam Machines, hinting that Valve's last announcement is an input device of some sort.

"Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too. Stay tuned, though - we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input," reads the Steam Machine FAQ.

Steam Machines will be available in the beginning of 2014 according to Valve, but prior to the full launch Valve is conducting a limited hardware beta with 300 selected Steam users.

28 Comments

Tom Keresztes Programmer

683 335 0.5
Popular Comment
it should have been named Steam Engine....

Posted:A year ago

#1

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,576 1,419 0.9
Heh... Maybe they'll rename the client that. It would kind of make sense. :D

Posted:A year ago

#2

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Tom: Perhaps that's what's powering Friday's announcement? Oops. Heh. OK, I have NO idea what Friday's announcement is. Really!

Posted:A year ago

#3

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

412 981 2.4
When microsoft forgot what built it, as in " the real money is in the software not the hardware.. thanks xerox/ibm". It has taken Microsoft a decade to just get back to even on its xbox hardware adventure. I simply dont get why everyone is chasing the console hardware market, these living room consoles are not over priced and marked up iphones. These are lucky to break even, need to be relevant for a decade hardware devices.
I mean are they looking at Coleco, Atari, Sega, Mattel and all the others that lost their shirts in this market, and saying, ooooh I got to get me some of that.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 26th September 2013 2:49am

Posted:A year ago

#4

Russell Kentish Studying Master of Digital Media, Centre for Digital Media

19 0 0.0
I have a feeling that the third announcement will be Source 2.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,576 1,419 0.9
I'm hoping it's Source 2 (with a game reveal as well). I'm afraid it might be an input reveal. Which, whilst important - and needs more innovation in the PC market - doesn't automatically fill me with excitement.

Other thoughts:

1) This could be what's needed to actually create a stable PC experience. Much like the Nintendo Seal of Quality guaranteed a cartridge would work on a Nintendo machine, there could be a Certified on Steam Machine label. Basic Low/Medium/High Steam Machines being the Minimum/Recommended specs of PC games, and the Steam Machines being developer test-beds, so that games are guaranteed to work on them. Living-Room gamers - that is, families where either both parents have been working, or one has been working, the other looking after the kids - are not going to suffer the poorly optimized and in some cases broken releases that plague PC gaming.

2) DRM will change in a major way. Steamworks games will work out-the-box (obviously). SecuRom, though? What mum or dad is going to want to faff with activating or deauthorising games? No-one is going to accept TAGES screwing over their shiny new Steam Machine. UPlay has shown the way forward for third-party DRM on Steam - a streamlined automated registration experience, that essentially just helps build the Ubisoft brand. But even so, I think there'll be a polarisation between DRM-less games, and Steamworks.


As an aside, it'll be interesting to see if more EA games start popping up on Steam now, and whether they'll support Linux dev at all.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th September 2013 7:41am

Posted:A year ago

#6

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

302 383 1.3
@Morville - something like the ultrabook standard for home pcs? Could be.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Imagine if Microsoft or Nintendo or Sony made their hardware into an open standard that anyone could manufacture. They would clean up, just like Windows did for desktop PCs and Android did for smartphones. Presumably this is what Valve are planning.

In fact you would have thought that Microsoft might have learned their lesson, they made a fortune from desktop computing by not making the hardware and have made nothing from game consoles where they do make the hardware.
With mobile phones Microsoft have moved from the desktop business model, with WP8, to an Xbox business model by buying Nokia. In other words they have gone from what works to what doesn't work.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

818 652 0.8
@Bruce

Mobile market is overpopulated now. With a lot of studios moving from phones to desktops and next gen consoles (due to their change of policy to be more "indie friendly") Even some big companies like EA are limiting or closing their mobile division.

A few studios will remain, yes, but it was a bubble like the one we experienced in game crash 83. A lot of people said that (me included) but far too many people inside mobile studios all they did was look the other way around and concentrate exclusively in the "green numbers".

I believe the big mistake was using a "console number" mentality while being part of the mobile phone market: Every person who buy a console is going to buy games, but not everybody who buys a smartphone is going to do the same. This is where the numbers collapse.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Alfonso Sexto

Blimey you have gone off topic!!
And I don't see how your reply has any relevance to what I posted.

But I will bite.
Mobile gaming is still expanding very rapidly. Console gaming is still contracting.
New consoles (WiiU and Vita) did not slow the contraction.
There are about two billion smartphones active in the world.
If only one in ten owners plays games (the real figure is much higher) then there are 200 million mobile gamers. Vastly more than all consoles in use put together. And the owners carry their gaming device with them 24/7. And can spend money at the click of a button.
We are heading for 7 billion active smartphones.

The market for providing mobile entertainment is very overpopulated because of the apparent low barrier to entry. Very many people are publishing games who do not have the skillset to succeed. So they will fail. But even 50,000 mobile publishers failing does not mean that the market has failed. Merely that Darwin has been at work.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,130 1,162 1.0
Off Topic:
Remember when the Wii was the thing and everybody and their grandmother bought one? There was one console which showed how there is a difference between gamers and people playing games. The ladder tend to meander away once the novelty has worn off.

Mobile games, i.e. touch based games will often monetize most among people who are core gamers to begin with, see some of the studies published on this very site for proof. Whether or not this audience can be grown by adding non-gamers remains to be seen. For all we know, the trend of playing on your phone might just be a trend similar to granny playing her Wii.

The fact that app stores barf mediocrity in everybody's face isn't helping the cause either, even if there are legitimately good games found on mobile. (check out They Need to be Fed 1 +2 for example). A mixture of quality and advertisement might result in a product which works, but if one thing is certain, then it is the fact that wherever you are now playing mobile games, somebody will come up with something for you to do instead that is not a game and some day we will look back on mobile gaming as an artifact from the past.

------------------------------

On topic:
This is the second coming of the 3DO idea and it has powerful allies. Maybe not right out of the gate, but two years down the road, the Xone and PS4 might get cornered by an onslaught of hardware iterations, aggressive pricing and Occulus Rift. Just like Apple hardware iterated their competition out of the market.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Andrew Clayton QA Functionality Tester, EA DICE

14 38 2.7
Popular Comment
More mobile users doesn't mean more mobile revenue. Revenue per user is a much better indicator of the health of any platform rather than the total number of users. Mobile could get 50 billion active smartphones, but if only 1 million of those are paying users I'd take the console market.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Tom Keresztes Programmer

683 335 0.5
Revenue per user is a much better indicator of the health of any platform rather than the total number of users.
Profit per user, I would say. It could very expensive to attract that user, and expensive to make the product.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Jason Whitaker Senior Progammer, Stainless Games

5 2 0.4
This is the second coming of the 3DO idea and it has powerful allies.
3DO wasn't the first to get that wrong. MSX, anyone?

Anyway, I don't know how this will pan out, but at least this is a company with an understanding of the industry from a development perspective...

Posted:A year ago

#14

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 419 0.3
7 billion active smartphones? We've niggled on this point before, but an old smartphone in a draw, or in the bin is not an active phone. The population of the world is not much north of 7 billion. That means just about everyone in the world would have to be using a smartphone to achieve 7 billion actually active phones. And by everyone I mean new born babies, prison inmate, homeless people in warzones with no electricity to charge it on, the 80 year old down the road who hates technology and couldn't turn a mobile on, and people with no access to cellphone networks in countries were no smartphones are for sale. Not sure how many people in rural areas of Papa New Guinea have an S4.

Of course some people have a second phone for work, but that does not mean they will spend twice as much on games just because they have twice as many phones.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Andrew Goodchild

Google is your friend.
UN: Six billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19925506
NUMBER OF MOBILE PHONES TO EXCEED WORLD POPULATION BY 2014 http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/mobile-phone-world-population-2014/

And as dumb phones fall out of use they will all be smartphones.
Not necessarily all using Android WP8 & iOS.
Firefox phone OS and AMOS may do business at the bottom end.

Niggle me no more.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Frank Trottier Analyst programmer

23 23 1.0
AMD revealed yesterday the new API Mantle that will permit coding to the metal for all developpers on consoles and PC by passing Direct X or OpenGL if they wish for their GCN architecture. There seems to be important increase in performance on PC between CPU and GPU calls. Waiting for gamesindustry.biz to cover it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Frank Trottier on 26th September 2013 6:37pm

Posted:A year ago

#17

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,178 967 0.8
Me too Frank, I'm waiting for it to be picked up, its one of the biggest moves in the industry.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 419 0.3
@Bruce
But if you are talking about more mobile phone subscriptions than users, we can summise that consists of people with multiple phones. So your 6 billion phones are not 6 billion users. A customer with 6 phones is still one customer, and is spending the same time and money that they would on mobile games as if they only had one phone. This may be a lot, this may be nothing, they may be too busy texting themselves.

Also, from the linked article:
We count Sim cards, not the number of devices or people, so if one person has two Sim cards in one device, it counts as two subscriptions
And if an old PAYG phone sitting in a draw has a still active sim, it seems like that would be counted. That is not active, just ready to use.

I'm not saying that the market isn't absolutely potentially massive, it clearly is. But that number is completely meaningless, customers spend money, not handsets. By having two toilets in my house, I don't automatically need to use them twice as much as if I had one.

EDIT: It may also be worth noting that one reason for having multiple phones is that you are sometimes in situations where a smartphone is no good. Like if you go on a seven day hike and need an emergancy phone that lasts on one charge, or you work for a military contractor where any phone with a camera is banned.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 26th September 2013 8:50pm

Posted:A year ago

#19
Valve stake their claim. This is the equivalent of Android for game consoles/media center/set-top boxes.

Unfortunately while people buy phones because they're phones no-one is going to buy a console unless it has exclusive content (all forms of media) and the mainstream will insist on a smooth user experience which is very hard to guarantee using OEMs.

@Todd Weidner - They're doing it because they're the future TV distributors and will take a piece of the pie for every show that's broadcast.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 26th September 2013 11:14pm

Posted:A year ago

#20

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Christian Keichel

I said "consoles in use".
Most 360+PS3+Wii+PSP are gathering dust.
3DS is not a new console. Just an update of a 2004 launch. Hardly new. Fully backwards compatible.
In 1983 the problem was piracy, tape to tape copying, not vastly too many publishers. Read and learn: http://www.bruceongames.com/2008/04/23/game-piracy/

And it is "extent" not "extend" it is "their" not "there", question marks go at the end of sentences that are questions and you should use its not it's.

Like I said before you need to go back to journalism school.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Christian Keichel

$1 billion on GTA V represents less than 17 million units. Not many by mobile standards.
Nintendo themselves describe the DS as a family: http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Nintendo-DS/Nintendo-DS-Family-Nintendo-UK-s-official-site-Nintendo-DS-Nintendo-DSi-Nintendo-DSi-XL-116380.html
They even have a handy comparison of the different models in the family: http://cdn02.nintendo-europe.com/media/downloads/migration_1/DS_specs_UK.pdf
The video game crash of 1983 was caused by tape to tape copying. Just read the article link I gave you and learn.

As for games development. How many #1 games have you played a major global strategic role in the commercial success of?

Posted:A year ago

#22

Tom Keresztes Programmer

683 335 0.5
1 billion in revenues in 1 week,
Divide that by $50 (digital price) to get the user count. Approximately, of course, as others might price higher or lower... So GTA5 sold 16-17 million units in a week ?

Posted:A year ago

#23

Tom Keresztes Programmer

683 335 0.5
The video game crash of 1983 was caused by tape to tape copying. Just read the article link I gave you and learn.
I think you might mean a different event. Its generally viewed as the North American Video Game crash of 1983 and attributed to bad console games like ET on the Atari 2600. Or there was a crash in Europe around that time ? The Spectrum could not have crashed, as it barely appeared on the market in '83.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Tom Keresztes
I think you might mean a different event. Its generally viewed as the North American Video Game crash of 1983 and attributed to bad console games like ET on the Atari 2600.
Oops! Silly me. Thank you.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games

64 30 0.5
@Bruce: Both of those links you provided do not include the 3DS as part of the DS family. There's also a link saying "Were you looking for the 3DS?" Here's the link to the 3DS Family: http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Nintendo-3DS/Nintendo-3DS-94560.html

Despite the DS in the name, the 3DS is very much a new console. The 3DS can play DS games, but if you have any of the various DS models you can't play 3DS games. The iPhone 5 can play games made for the iPhone 3, that doesn't mean it's not a new phone :)

Personally I think Nintendo made a big mistake in the naming of the 3DS and Wii U. If there are people in the game industry who don't realize they're new consoles, how are their customers going to know the difference?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Dave Wolfe on 27th September 2013 7:54pm

Posted:A year ago

#26

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Dave Wolfe: Not directed at YOU at all, but I find it ironic that some people IN the industry don't put their hands on some of these systems to see what the differences are. There's not much of an excuse for that other than a lack of interest in the medium or some automatic reflex that makes one avoid trying something new.

Consumers can (and WILL) be dumb as stones or worse, but people making and marketing games (and writing about them as well) SHOULD know what the difference between one console or handheld and another is.

That said, sure, Nintendo has gotten a bit... lazy with the system names, most definitely. But crap names shouldn't stop people from wanting to know more once they start looking up information or actually PLAY that system. As the old SYMS clothing store ads used to say here in NYC: "An educated consumer is our BEST customer..."

Posted:A year ago

#27

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