VIDEO Steam Machines: Valve enters the console wars

Discussion in 'Games' started by Darth-Lando, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    For those of you not paying attention, two days ago Valve announced Steam OS as an open source, stand alone operating system for "living room machines". Today they announced Steam Machines to run their new OS coming in 2014. There will be an in house Valve system but also 3rd party hardware. These new consoles will allow people to stream games from their home PC directly to their TV or play steam games natively among other things:
    In-home Streaming
    You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have - then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!
    Music, TV, Movies
    We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.
    Family Sharing
    In the past, sharing Steam games with your family members was hard. Now you can share the games you love with the people you love. Family Sharing allows you to take turns playing one another’s games while earning your own Steam achievements and saving your individual game progress to the Steam cloud.
    Family Options
    The living-room is family territory. That’s great, but you don’t want to see your parents’ games in your library. Soon, families will have more control over what titles get seen by whom, and more features to allow everyone in the house to get the most out of their Steam libraries.

    Valve has one more announcment scheduled for later this week and I think we all hope it's the same thing.
  2. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    So can I use this, essentially, as a PC console? Is everything reliant on my desktop computer, or will this have the power to run things on its own?
  3. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I thought Steam already has Big Picture to enable you to play games from your PC on your TV
  4. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    And I don't like Steam, so this means nothing to me. The prevalence of Steam is killing my interest in most games I would normally be interested in, though I don't really have a computer capable of handling modern PC games, so I have other reasons for not being able to play most modern games. Quite simply put, having to use third party software just to play the game I paid for is wrong.
    V-2 likes this.
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Both, actually; you can stream Windows (or Mac, for those cruelly tormented souls trapped in the neverworld of indy games and ports :p) games to it, and also play native games; a fair number of people only count the Linux-only titles on Steam for that-there's about three hundred, iirc-but when you get into the Steamplay initiative there's about a thousand that'll work...not many triple-A titles, though.
    Ender Sai likes this.
  6. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I'd imagine that's what Friday's announcement is intended to cover.
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  7. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    The thing is, if Valve is willing to make what is essentially a home console with PC/Mac connectivity, I wouldn't mind that at all. I'm not a big desktop gamer, but you give me a controller, I'll play it, and if the Steam Box takes away worries about system requirements, brother, I'm sold. There are plenty of PC games I'd like to play but can't because I have a Mac and I can't be bothered getting things up to spec.
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    There's fixes for that, @Penguinator-what model of Mac do you have?
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    They did mention it earlier this week, I think. "Triple-A titles to be announced over this coming week".

    We haven't really seen SteamOS yet, but when we do, I think it'll be more like Android on steroids-after all, Android is built on the Linux kernel. Ubuntu/etc are a bit much for the living room set IMO.
  10. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    Circa 2008 Mac Pro, 2 gigs ram, pretty standard. Only upgraded to 10.6.8 because everything after 7 scares me (discounting 7).
  11. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Are they really "entering the console war"? They're letting other manufacturers make their own boxes and with a free OS that runs computer games and works on PC's. It's nothing like what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are doing and it doesn't seem like Valve is looking to be a direct competitor.

    And I'm wondering how the machines will handle (non-Steam Workshop, 'cause ugh) mods. Besides the cheap games and performance, that's really the main appeal of PC gaming for me. And if I just stream my games from my PC, what's the point of a Steam box? I can get a long HDMI cable to string to a TV (don't trip!) for much cheaper than the $100-$200+ these boxes will likely cost. :p
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Sep 25, 2013
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Bump up the RAM and throw a Bootcamp partition for Windows install on there and your gaming disability will be pretty much fixed.
    Penguinator likes this.
  13. Nobody145 Force Ghost

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    Feb 9, 2007
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    Mac Pro, that's the old rectangle thing that's finally about to be upgraded (with the trash can design :p). Although I agree with you about staying at 10.6.8- that's Snow Leopard, I think? As if it wasn't bad enough most games aren't ported to Mac, most of the recent ones that were ported require a more recent version of OS X.

    I'm on an iMac myself and get by with a Bootcamp partition- VMs usually aren't very good for gaming. Although no idea what graphics card a Mac Pro from that year would have. You'd have to buy your own copy of Windows too for the license key, I think Windows XP is or has already been abandoned (at long last) so Windows 7 is recommended. Although I think there's a free preview copy of Windows 8.1 out at the moment (google Windows preview) which should work as a test at least, although the reaction to 8 has been mostly negative. Hm, not sure what version of Bootcamp will run on 10.6.8 and would still work with Windows 8 though.

    Been seeing several of these PCs that are sort of marketed as consoles, or rather as gaming PCs designed to be plugged into TVs. The Steambox (the official Valveone or a few other variations on it) is one of the higher profile ones though, given Steam's reputation. Depending on the hardware, could be good, although not quite sure I see the difference between this and just plugging a current PC into a TV monitor through some adapter or HDMI cord or something. Streaming could be nice though, but still not sure I care too much.
    Penguinator and DarthBoba like this.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    The main difference is that PCs and TVs don't really play too well because of the differences between displayed on a monitor and being displayed on a TV-aspect ratio, for one; fonts being tiny due to low PPI on TVs is another. SteamOS, assuming its basic GUI is Steam's Big Picture Mode, will overcome that.

    There's three hardware levels to Steambox as well-"good", which is a hundred-buck or so streaming box that uses your PC, "better", which'll be about 300 bucks and have midrange graphics and a specific hardware set in general, and "best", which is basically "whatever the OEMs feel like cramming into it".

    Mac Pros have upgradeable graphics cards, so his being from 2008 isn't really a limiting factor, also.
    Penguinator likes this.
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    They just showed the controller:

    Steam Controller

    [IMG]

    I'd say this qualifies for "crazy as hell" :p Looks really comfortable to hold, and the choice of trackpads over thumbsticks is interesting.
  16. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    Steam Controller is Valve's final announcement this week. It's got dual trackpads instead of thumbsticks and a touch screen in the center.

    EDIT: Damn, beat me to it. :p
    Last edited by Darth-Lando, Sep 27, 2013
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  17. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

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    I dunno what to make of this - if they had confirmed Half-Life 3, they would have won all the internets, but this is a controller for a PC that you can play in your living room. I dunno what anything means! :p
    Ezio Skywalker likes this.
  18. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    Interesting that there is no d-pad. This essentially means 4 less available buttons. I guess the touchscreen could take that roll if necessary but it seems like this just limits our options.
  19. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    Not really, given that the trackpad is infinitely configurable. It's like a morphing of the Logitech G13-sure, only twenty or so individual buttons, but configurable by game profile.

    This thing's gonna end RTS being largely a PC-only market at the very least.
  20. Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One

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    Dec 11, 2000
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    I remember I had a Sega Genesis controller where it was flat instead of a normal D-pad. Awkward as hell.
  21. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    Compare it to xbox or ps3 controllers. They have two sticks, 4 shoulder buttons, 4 face buttons on the right and a d-pad. If the trackpads replace the sticks how can you program one to be the d-pad as well? I don't want to change the radio station in GTA every time I try and turn left. It doesn't matter how configurable it is if you need 14 input options and it only has 10. The trackpads are a neat idea but this controller needs more work IMO.
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    The thing in the center is also a trackpad. That's the one you'll program.
  23. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    That layout is painfully suboptimal. Buttons askew from a central thumb position are a bad idea.
  24. Darth-Lando Chosen One

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    Aug 12, 2002
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    Yeah I get that, but the placement is awkward. Maybe it will be more intuitive once it's in my hands but right now I'm not a fan of this controller.
  25. Nobody145 Force Ghost

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    Feb 9, 2007
    star 4
    Huh, well, that controller is definitely different from anything else at the moment. It could work, the lack of joysticks is just unexpected. Guess we'll just have to wait to hear how the beta for this works out. I'm also curious just how much hardware they could cram into a Steambox. There's always a hardcore crowd, but then many of those already build their own PCs anyway. And still not entirely sure about a streaming box. Oh well, at least they aren't pushing Netflix/Hulu streaming like most of the other TV-PC boxes are.