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back to article Valve chief confirms Steam-centric console-killing PC

Expect to see a Steam-brand console-style living room PC in 2013, Gabe Newell, the head of Valve, has revealed. There have been hints the company is working on such a box. The debut earlier this year of a TV-centric UI for the Steam client, called Big Picture, which came out of beta last week, is perhaps the most important one …

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Bronze badge

Re: Linux is much more stable for gaming than windows

"Pathetic, eh? OK, what frameworks does Windows have for running Mac games?"

It's not really worth writing a framework for running Mac games on Windows as there are too few Mac-only games to make it commercially worthwhile. Not to mention - it's a brave software house who dares to tread near the hallowed turf of Appledom - if something so much as whiffs of Apple, the iLawyers will start circling.

If you'd have said a platform for running Linux games, then you'd be on a safe footing. Otherwise, on a seperate note, I think it's great that developers are being more agnostic in their development - ports between platforms might be of better quality, not to mention come out in a similar time frame.

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FAIL

Re: OK, what frameworks does Windows have for running Mac games?

Trick question. Macs don't have "Mac games". They have Linux games.

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Stop

Re: "Here's an example of what the new 'internet economy' really looks like, in practice."

"Pathetic, eh? OK, what frameworks does Windows have for running Mac games?"

It doesn't need one.

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Re: Linux is much more stable for gaming than windows

"The rest has to be forced to work with a half-assed Windows emulator."

A half-arsed Windows compatibility layer that runs OpenGL games faster than on a real Windows installation.

True story.

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Facepalm

Re: Linux is much more stable for gaming than windows

Quick! Downvote the post! Maybe it'll stop being the truth...

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Boffin

Re: Linux is much more stable for gaming than windows

As noted above, openGL on linux is currently running steam games faster than directX on windows in some cases. So if the game is written using a framework that does both, you're in fine shape on the 3d side (I haven't seen how well openGL compares to directX on windows, it would be interesting to know!).

Also - all the worries here about supporting specific cards or driver versions would be irrelevant for this steam service box. It would be a standard config for all of them, so they don't have to worry about dealing with the full breadth of weirdness that windows (or even a generic linux distro) has to worry about. They'll deploy one install image for each release of the platform, and test new games against just that. That's one of the (few) good things about developing games for the mac too - there's a limited universe to test against.

I'm not too keen on buying one of the steam boxes because I really don't WANT to play PC games with a console controller, but so long as you can use your own mouse and keyboard too, I'd definitely think about it - gaming PCs are not living-room friendly with fans that sound like jet engines.

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Happy

Console name

Steam Engine. Come on, do I have to do all the thinking for you, Gabe?

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Re: Console name

I'm unlikely to buy one - but I'd call it a "Condenser"

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Re: Console name

Surely since we're talking about hardware, it's Steam Iron?

-A.

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Coat

Re: Console name

Not very original, but surely it should be the Companion Cube.

...in direct competition with the Xbox

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@McWibble Re: Console name

"Not very original, but surely it should be the Companion Cube."

Well here we have a nascent marketing genius. Son, you have found your true calling.

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Coat

Re: @McWibble Console name

Surely considering Valve are releasing it, and considering their common release delays, it should be the Waited Companion Cube.

Waited/Weighted! Geddit?! I'll get my coat...

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Re: Console name

Easy, just call it Portal

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Thumb Up

Re: Console name

That's actually bloody glorious.

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@McWibble

If they actually licensed the design, and made it look like a companion cube, I'd just have one thing to say to them:

"Shut up and take my money!"

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Trollface

Re: @McWibble

Licence the design from themselves? Sounds like a Starbucksian tax dodge.

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Flame

Re: @McWibble Console name

>"Not very original, but surely it should be the Companion Cube."

> Well here we have a nascent marketing genius. Son, you have found your true calling.

Except that we all know what happens to the companion cube. :( Did you hesitate?

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Re: Console name

"surely it should be the Companion Cube."

How about "The Game Cube"? Oh, hang on...

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ojb

Gabe says 2013?

Expect it sometime after 2020

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ojb

Also, surely the obvious name is

Steam Engine?

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*Cough* Called it.

Bloody knew it. Ten quid says Half Life 3 is the release title. Been saying this for aaaaages.

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Anonymous Coward

Name

"Steamy Funbox - let your family play with yours"

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Anonymous Coward

I'd buy it and connect it to my desktop screen!

here is the thing, counter to what many PC elites believe, people don't upgrade their PC every time a new upgrade come out. People tend to live with their PC as it is until their next upgrade cycle comes around. nVidia said as much few years ago, they even went as far as saying that they might stop selling retail video cards because they don't sell so well.

Which is where the consoles come in, their hardware is static; a 6 years old console can play a new game without any problem, and the game would look on that console the same way it would look on any iteration of the console that came afterwards. On the other hand, with the PC, the graphics would look different depending on your specs. And to make it worse, the developers don't even bother to optimized their engines for the PC. As a result, even if your PC can do far more than the console, the game would look better on the console than it does on your PC! The developers would always say that they tried their best but the PC have too many configurations for them to optimized for all of them.

Hence this is where I believe such a consolePC would come in: People who don't upgrade their PCs often (the majority) can opt to buying this PC. The OEM would tell the developers that this consolePC will have a static specs for the next 2-3 years. The developers can now optimized their engine for this device as well as the console! While at the same time continue to make a general engine that would be used on all other PCs.

Although, the problem would be that this one vender would be controlling too much. It would have been better should they say, this is the slandered specs for the gaming PC for the next 2-3 years and let every other vender build their own PC, instead of using their position in the market to build their own PC. A second problem is the living room bit..... they are talking about controllers here aren't they?

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Anonymous Coward

"slandered specs" > standard specs

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Anonymous Coward

Ouya on Steroids?

Sounds like Gabe wants an Ouya with a bit more grunt. Reading that back, it sounds like the soundtrack from a steamy fantasy...

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Linux

Valve will create the reference model

Valve is interested in selling hardware to some extent, I guess that what Gave will do is license/release the spec of the hardware and OS, so any PC builder can create and sell clone "Steam Engines"

Selling their own is just so they can raise the standard to an acceptable level of quality.

Valve gets the "Dineros" from the Steam distribution, the more "Steam Engines" out there the more Choo-choo in the cash register.

I'm all for it by the way. Picture this, being able to build your own "Steam Engine" using standard certified parts, and Linux distros.

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Anonymous Coward

So basically Valve is making a PC which is like a console, which they claim is a PC but really is a closed walled verboten-to-get-out-of garden which they call a "PC" but in reality is just another console ?

Rectalitis detected, getting the hell out of here (my PC runs on diesel BTW, no need for antiquated forms of power/DRM/fail like steam)

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Linux

The end of Windows?

If a steam console is out, more developers will start developing for it.

Since steam games run faster on Linux (according to valve), gamers will quickly switch to Linux to enjoy better performance, as soon as their favourite games get supported.

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FAIL

"The end of Windows"

Not really the end of Windows is it.

Just one company saying they will make a locked down box to plug into your telly JUST for games. Where are we, 1998 again? My Windows box does a lot more than games. If I want to play a game on my TV then I'll turn on the console.

However if I want to do the other 199 things I use my Windows vm running on Linux for then I shall sit at my desk or laptop :P

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WTF?

Re: "The end of Windows"

Eadon - dreaming again. I heard this 15 years ago. Do you think Windows is static? As Linux evolves, Windows evolves too. There is no way Windows is going to be abandoned.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The end of Windows"

"Windows has 3 natural customers, two of which are games related:

Gaming geeks (will move to Linux if they can)

Excel-bashing Managers (moving to Apple kit because it is more stylish and fun)

Casual gamers (moving to tablets, even phones and may move to Linux)"

This sounds seriously myopic to me or, well... just plain absurd. You appear to have missed the vast majority of Windows users in your list.

Source please!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The end of Windows"

"People said that IE..."

You don't make it too clear, but I assume you were replying to 'Test Man'?

Either way, I am quite sure that the market share Windows currently enjoys will diminish over time. That much is inevitable. Not just because it is Windows, but also because that is what generally happens to any dominant entity in a healthy and open market, given enough time.

But, I'd still like to see data to support your list of typical Windows users, and preferably data that does not come from some gaming site poll.

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Re: "The end of Windows"

"Gaming geeks (will move to Linux if they can)"

Because you speak for all gaming geeks everywhere?

I'm a gaming geek, I don't want to move to Linux. For that matter, I don't want to take my nifty high resolution PC games and put them on my TV either.

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Coat

Re: "The end of Windows"

> Source please!

Source belongs to Valve.

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jai
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very controlled environment?

very controlled environment

Sooooooo, it's a console then, no?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: very controlled environment?

A console that you can build your own clone of or tweak your Linux installation to mimic.

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Childcatcher

Re: very controlled environment?

> Sooooooo, it's a console then, no?

Yep.

Except that any Steam game that runs on a Steam console will run on Ubuntu and won't be DirectX, so Mac's will likely get a port of it as well as Windows (running OpenGL).

Its a console jim, but not as we know it.

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Hooray . . .

. . . another piece of hardware to lock us into the 1080p display for another 5 years.

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WTF?

Re: Hooray . . .

7 thumbs down and no responses . . . because I stated the truth? Interesting.

PC displays have been bogged down at 1080p for years, not least because the gaming universe has switched to cheap console ports and no real impetus to deliver a higher resolution to those who want it.

Similarly monitor manufacturers have got lazy and aren't pushing the envelope - it's a sad day when you can get a higher resolution tablet than you can a monitor. Current highest resolution in a 24" monitor is 1920x1200, anything beyond that goes into a bigger monitor (I don't want a monitor bigger than 24", how big do you think my bloody desk is). That means a pixel density of just 97ppi - compared to tablets boasting more than double that in a screen a quarter of the size, where the hell is my 24" 4K monitor?

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I've always said they should call it...

The Piston.

Steam Piston.

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Re:Steam Piston.

Isn't that basically a Steely Dan? (or am I having a whoosh moment?)

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I would be very interested so see what graphics solution they propose. Building a mini-ITX form factor with significant graphics muscle is a real pain, as I have discovered trying to build a smallish gaming machine.

Half height graphics boards based on the 675M or 680MX are not available at this time, and the GT640 and ATi 7750 performance is woeful when used at hi-res with all sorts of filtering and texture mapping.

It would be possible to build custom boards with a powerful CPU and on-board graphics solution (call it an iMac Mini for the sake of argument) but this would require a power supply in the region of 250W, which would leave you with either a bigger case or a huge power brick, and the custom board would make it propriety (and locked in) not to mention bloody expensive.

I'm really curious to see what they come up with.

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Of course they'll use a builtin GPU in a console-like mass-produced PC. Either they'll convince a board maker to include a GPU with enough oomph, or design a custom board. Doesn't *have to be* proprietary or expensive (but chances are it will be, more or less)...

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Stop

Or you don't build it the way you have to using the cmoponents you currently have?

Full height cards can be accomodated in very small cases, by using daughter-cards or by using a ribbon connection to mount the card parallel with the motherboard.

Air-flow sucks balls, but the full size card fits.

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I don't know why people bother with tiny form factors when they've got a foot or two of space behind a 46" screen to use up. Use a mini tower and decent quiet cooling, job done.

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Coat

It's called a PC you say ....

... so that stands for Play Console then?

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