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back to article Valve says no Steam Machines until 2015, fingers crossed

Video-game kingpin Valve has announced that its Steam Machine console hardware will likely be delayed by as much as a year, owing to ongoing development of the device's ambitious controller. In a blog post on Tuesday, Valve developer Eric Hope said that a private beta program using prototype versions of the wireless controller …

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Steam Machines are marketed to Mr and Mrs A.V. Ridge and their 1.8 children. They are going to expect the same basic functions and flexibility as all other consumer electronics. Currently Steam falls very short on a basic expectation all consumers will have.

If they already have 1 steam machine and 50 games, and purchase a second machine they will believe that when the first machine is in use the 49 other games will be accessable on the second machine.

Steam does not offer this functionality, and without it VALVe will fail in the consumer electronics market. VALVe must sort out the Steam Family Sharing before the release of the Steam Machine.

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That isn't a Steam issue.

Sorry Vince, but that's software licensing. If you want to play Half Life on two Steam machines at the same time, then open a second Steam account and buy a second copy of the game for the second box.

I'm not aware of any games manufacturer who lets you play multiple copies of the same game (and serial number) on multiple machines at the same time. To them, that would be piracy and frankly, I would agree.

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Re: That isn't a Steam issue.

None such, please look at the numbers in my statement.

50 games, 49 playable on the other device

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Re: That isn't a Steam issue.

That's not the point. I can play Mario Kart on my Wii, then take out the disk and put Zelda in. There's nothing stopping me from putting it into a Wii U and continuing to play Mario Kart there without having to shut down Zelda first.

(s/Wii/X-Box/, s/Mario Kart/Halo/, s/Zelda/BattleGearDutyCreed/ as required).

If I have two consoles running Steam, each logged in with their own account (call them "his" and "hers", just because), he can use Family Sharing to play Civilization on his Steam box from her Steam library, but will have to quit the game if she tries to play her own copy of Skyrim on hers. That's the problem.

She bought two games, and wants to play one of them on one computer and one on the other. I can't see anything even remotely approaching piracy there.

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Re: That isn't a Steam issue.

Thank you midnight, some times I feel I'm the only one that sees this issue.

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The Controller?

Pull the other one, they have obviously come across a fundamental insurmountable problem in that they can't stuff anymore buttons on to it to give it keyboard functionality that the basic keyboard and a mouse has when playing PC Games.

I expect it will finally arrive with a fully fledged keyboard and mouse, they are just having trouble with the universal knee attachment to keep it in place when you sit on the sofa. As to the mouse, a simple mouse pad with universal armrest attachment is also on the cards.

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Re: That isn't a Steam issue.

Steam Family and friends sharing was created exactly for that purpose. nowdays you can share any of your 50 games to up to 5 other steam accounts and they can play it all they want as long as you (the owner) are not playing THAT particular game.

Its not a well documented feature and a little awkward to use, since you first need to log in with your steam ID on your friend's computer, then authorize that computer acces to your games, then have him log back into his account.

While its not exactly freedom, it works just fine for the 1.8 children and each of their's 3.25 best friends.

Personally im worried about consumer confusion over dozens of diferent brands of steam machines, its really easy for the non-tech savy consumer to shun steam machines completely because they bought the cheapest possible steam machine they could get, and it ran games like crap.

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Re: That isn't a Steam issue.

Re: HinD

It is not THAT game it is ANY game.

If I'm playing portal you can not play ANY of the other 49 games.

This is the massive misconception with SFS.

If it worked like you think I would be very happy and there would ne no issue, but it doesn't.

Can two users share a library and both play at the same time?

No, a shared library may only be accessed by one user at a time.

From this page

http://store.steampowered.com/sharing/

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I haven't tried it for a while, but I know from personal experience in the past it was easily possible to have two games running on the same account at once.

PC 1: Sign in to Steam, activate offline mode. Play game.

PC 2: Sign in to Steam on same account. Play game.

One account, one game purchased once, two people playing at the same time.

Yes, they have checks every so often (or did) for the offline computer, but in the scenarios given, this would work fine. As I say though, it's a while since I've done it, and then it was two computers on my same home network.

On the flip side though, what about this scenario:

Two people in the same house with their own consoles/steam machines. Both want a copy of Super Awesome New Game to play online at the same time with their friends. If we use something like Watch Dogs as a recent example, the Keeper of the Wallet is going to be forking out around £20 less every time they buy a game, and given how cheap older titles are on Steam (and stores that sell steamworks keys), buying the same game twice for two separate accounts isn't too bitter a pill to swallow.

Swings and roundabouts.

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Using offline mode is a work around, not intended practise.

You could use offline mode to have any number of computers playing the same game. This is posible with or without SFS.

Yes steam games are £20 cheaper, but if I have to buy another copy so my daughter can play watchdogs while I play Civ5 that advantage is lost.

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Meh

Here's hoping....

.... There's enough Ubuntu in there to make it reliably dual-bootable.

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Re: Here's hoping....

Nope.

Plenty of Debian though; same difference in a lot of respects, but a lighter, easier to optimise stack.

Dual booting is no harder than with any other Linux distro these days, but I suspect initially it'll be for those who know linux well intially - unless they borrow a better installer mechanism from another distro.

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Re: Here's hoping....

SteamOS is dualbootable now (in fact I have 6 os's on my PC - one of them SteamOS - the rest are all versions of Linux...)

Also SteamOS is based on Debian Wheezy not Ubuntu

Running phoronix benchmarking tests SteamOS has 50% less fps in various games compared to kubuntu or Arch/Gnome3.12 - I think its because they use the version of Gnome3.x in Debian wheezy (which is 3.4) and compositing isn't correctly disabled in that version.

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What's wrong with these people?

Fuck the controller. Where's Half-Life 3?

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Re: What's wrong with these people?

I was going to say the same thing. They committed to completing this years ago, or at least HL2:Ep3 (didn't they say they were switching to the episode model to avoid this exact situation?). I can't count all the boondoggles they wasted time on, off the top of my head, there is the Linux initiative and the 'Big Picture' feature. Adding more features is all well and good, but you should at least complete your commitments first.

May whatever god they believe in help them should they ever try to go public, missing important commitments and spending resources on profit-less projects like this is a sure way to end up with a share price of zero and the FTC/SEC/IRS/SS/DoJ crawling up your ass for fraud and misconduct.

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Re: What's wrong with these people?

Yes, because peripheral hardware designs people write games.

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JDX
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Re: What's wrong with these people?

No, but they have a finite budget which means they are diverting financial resources to SteamOS. And with something as big-name as HL3, attention of the top brass focusing elsewhere is a factor too because they would be actively driving it.

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Re: What's wrong with these people?

"Fuck the controller. Where's Half-Life 3?"

I will be shocked, I say SHOCKED, if HL3 isn't the Steambox's key launch title.

It will need one of those after all.

In fact I will be surprised if SB + HL3 are not bundled at launch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's wrong with these people?

There was a recent statement from a Valve employee that confirmed, for sure, that HL3 is in development. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it was linked to the launch of Steam Machines... maybe the Steam Machines launch is even being delayed to 2015 because of HL3.

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RE: NoneSuch

To go into more detail.

Mr Ave Ridge buys a SteamMachine, creates an account and fills it with 50 games.

He sets up an Account for his Kid "Por" and shares the games to it.

All is fine, up until his Kid says "I want my own Steam Machine"

So Mr Ridge buys a second Machine and sets it up.

Por is playing Portal in his room, so Ave fires up Half Life 2.

5 minutes later Por comes down stairs crying he's been kicked out of his game and it won't let him back in.

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Re: RE: NoneSuch

Good, that will build little Por's character

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Re: RE: NoneSuch

Agreed poor little Por Ridge needs a good slapping. Doesn't know how good he's got it.

When I was a Lad we used to huddle around the power brick of a zx81 for heat.

We didn't have a tape deck, we used a microphone. I took months of practice, but we could load games by squealing.

When the rubber from the keys perished we cut up bike tyres and nailed them to the keyboard.

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Steam Machines, as they are, are DOOMED

They're commodity hardware - Fine. I have that.

They work well with your TV - Good. I have that with Big Picture Mode on Steam.

There'll be this great new Controller - Yep. You sell it, I'll buy it.

They run Linux so most of your games won't work. WTF?

What we want is something like the nVidia Shield (that takes the output of the PC you have an slaps it on another screen). Give me a decent controller, HDMI out and a wired LAN port, and it's cheaper and better.

I want a dumb appliance I can control well from the sofa.

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Re: Steam Machines, as they are, are DOOMED

"What we want is something like the nVidia Shield (that takes the output of the PC you have an slaps it on another screen)."

You mean like Steam boxes have been advertised as being able to do since they were first announced?

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Re: Steam Machines, as they are, are DOOMED

I thought that function was added to Steam in the latest beta- the ability to stream games from one machine to another, provided they are both logged in to the same account and are on the same subnet?

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Pint

I am and I am not disappointed with this news

I like the concept, I'm eager to give the controller a go and I like the way Valve are "targeting the living room" (man I hate that phrase).

So I am disappointed that after all the buzz and excitement last year, and the "ooo I hope I'm going to be a tester!" phase (which also turned out to be disappointing for anyone living outside the US), it has now been delayed by at least 7 months, and we all know it's going to be longer than that.

But I'm not so disappointed because Valve work very differently to Sony and Microsoft and that is refreshing. Steam is not tied to any specific hardware, so certainly with the new in home streaming, what's stopping somebody putting together a low powered mini PC together and do 50%* of what the Steam Machine was going to do anyway?

This of course does beg the question, if they can be delayed for so long, are they a waste of time? OR, is it going to be released with a new upcoming game from Valve which they haven't quite finished yet and won't be finished until next year? I think the latter.

Whatever the case, Valve really are not worried about delaying something that is pretty big news by possibly another year. If Microsoft or Sony did this, they would lose a lot of fanboys, but I suspect not in Valves case, which goes to show the loyalty of the users of the platform.

Man this beer is good.

*50% streaming Windows only games to the box, the other 50% running games that can be installed on Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm hoping it's because they're waiting for HL3 to be ready too,

so they can have that as an exclusive Steam machine launch title.

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Re: I'm hoping it's because they're waiting for HL3 to be ready too,

They have stated in the past that there will be no SteamOS exclusives.

It might be PC exclusive for a while (IE windows or SteamOS) but not SteamOS alone.

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Um, didn't they shelve the LCD display planned for the controller? Article says there will be such a display. Did I miss news adding it in, but not as shiny as the original one?

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Unhappy

That is right, they scrapped the screen.

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why the thumb down?

Is it because you think my understanding of Steam Family Sharing is wrong.

Givej HinD's 4 thumbs up this could be the case.

Please go to the VALVe own SFS page and read the FAQ, ypu will find my understanding is accurate.

Maybe you think VALVe are doing the right thing, Imagine your next budget meeting.

Our ERP supplier have gone a VALVe style licensing.

Last year we brought 5 ledger, 10 enquiry and 1 admin licenses.

This year we need 10 ledger, 10 enquiry and 10 admin licenses.

Please, those that gave thumbs down, explain yourselves.

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Licensing aside, I'm keen they take their time on this...

I'm one of the people who they're targetting. I occasionally play games, and always in front of the telly, currently on a PS3. I have fond memories of PC games of old and hope they can pull off a 'living room gaming' experience which lets me play more of those games which previously required you to use a keyboard and mouse sitting in front of the computer.

If it needs a bit of refining, then so be it. I'd prefer a delay and a good experience than a flawed experience which turns me off the idea for good.

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Anonymous Coward

Clearly the issue

Is down to Valve time.

The great lord gaben said "It'll be ready 2014"

And some new guy in advertising though he actually meant 2014 and not "A year or two after... possibly 5"

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So it is only the controller that is missing?

So why don't they allow the unit to ship in a pre-release form using a standard controller?

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Re: So it is only the controller that is missing?

Because the controller is an important part of the steam machine, in the same way the wii-mote was to the wii.

The steam controller needs to be right to allow mouse/keyboard games to be playable on the big screen.

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Zot
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Re: So it is only the controller that is missing?

I'm perfectly happy using a wireless mouse and keyboard whilst sat on my sofa. Keyboard on lap, and mouse on seat cushion next to me.

Besides, I get the feeling that they are really waiting for graphics tech to get cheaper so they can get ahead of the PS4 and XBone at a reasonable price. This controller malarkey is a smoke screen.

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Re: So it is only the controller that is missing?

Personally I think it's down to the OS myself. Linux is great (imo) but people are stupid, (no offense intended people) if there'a a way to break the OS people will find it, so I imagine there's quite a balancing act trying to get it as idiot proof as a console, while being open enough that those who know what they're doing can extend on it if they so choose. While of course also being stable and speedy.

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Wrong move IMO

I'm sorry, but much as I like the sound of what they are trying to achieve with their controller, I am not convinced it will be ideal.

There are no physical ABXY type buttons on one side of the controller - I presume either the left or right pad can function in this way?

Whatever, you would not get decent haptic feedback like you would for a physical button. They might be able to emulate *some* feedback, but it will not be comparable to a real button I would imagine.

They should just do what console controller manufacturers have been too scared / stupid to do: Make a modular controller.

Take 1 xbox controller design.

Replace the following parts with a socket:

D-Pad, L / R analog sticks, ABXY button block.

Make said D-Pad, Analog sticks and ABXY button blocks plug-in modules that go into the sockets.

Also make a trackball plug-in module.

Voila - the ultimate controller. Left or right-handed, analog stick and/or trackball, configure the layout any way you want, user is happy as they do not have to replace an entire controller if a button or stick wears out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong move IMO

I used to have a ps2/3 controller that was somewhat modular. There used to be a few of them actually.

One simply let you swap the position of the thumbsticks and d-pad / face buttons. Some games I'd play ps controller style, others xbox style, some I'd put the dpad where the right thumbstick normally is because the right stick. It was great for customisation.

Another one I remember allowed you to detach the controller, rather than being a solid control, it was like two nunchuks completely seperated. And another I remember was similar to the second one, except the two halves were connected, but twistable.

I was always a fan of the modular controllers. However every time I moved house I lost the damn things.

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Re: Wrong move IMO

The last revision of the pad I saw looks like it has four buttons in a diamond shape (a la ABXY) on _both_ sides of the pad.

http://cdn1.mos.techradar.futurecdn.net//art/games_consoles/Valve/Steam%20Controller/Steam%20Controller%20GDC%20LATEST%20VERSION/steam%20controller%20buttons-580-90.jpg

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screw it

This screwed my week big time.

They really seem to have lots of issues with the controller ...

This is putting the whole ecosystem in jeopardy, as devs may stick to directx rather than opengl.

I really hope this is coming Q1 2015 otherwise I'll have to pay the Redmond tax again ...

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what hell is wrong with you people.

My first comment had got more thumbs down.

Ok its not the most eloquent of arguments, and easily misread.

However HinD continues to get thumbs up even though he is completely amd utterly wrong with his assumptions.

Please if you think I'm wrong, go look at the official SFS FAQ.

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