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More on Steam Hardware

Engadget has follow-ups to comments recently attributed to Ben Krasnow about plans for Steam hardware. Ben says he was misquoted (or mistranslated) and that he did not confirm Linux support and he does not think they will be showing off anything of the sort this year as reported (thanks HARDOCP). Meanwhile, there's an interview with Valve's Gabe Newell on The Verge where the Valve honcho talks of how they are working with many hardware partners on "Good, Better," or "Best" boxes for playing Steam games, and also goes ahead and says they will be releasing Linux-based "Steam boxes," among other things, also discussing their interest in low-latency controllers, biometric controllers, and other cutting edge-ness. This includes much discussion of open versus closed systems.

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30. Re: More on Steam Hardware Jan 9, 2013, 14:59 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jan 9, 2013, 14:48:
Verno wrote on Jan 9, 2013, 11:47:
The aesthetics are fine and I wouldn't be surprised if the hardware ended up as powerful or moreso than current consoles, people put up with way worse in the living room. I don't see why the OS matters either, its just how many compatible games can it deliver and that depends on what kind of weight Valve can throw around. No reason it couldn't run Windows too, some people have speculated that a higher tiered SKU might do so. If they were a smaller company I'd be dubious but they have an incredibly large customer base. HTPCs are expensive to build and the prebuilt options (Zotac, Foxconn) aren't powerful enough for the kind of gaming most want to do. It has a lot of crossover market appeal unlike the Razer thing posted in the news story below this one. If they could get external videocards (Thunderbolt, maybe in a year?) finally sorted out then this sort of thing would be ideal even.

That's all well and good but it doesn't answer the question: who is it being sold to? Console gamers will not switch to this at the same time new consoles much more powerful come out. The indie/androud lovers will go Ouya or an equivalent. PC gamers would have to install Windows and then be turned off by the lower specs and upgrade constraints.

I don't know who the audience is.

Already answered, the same people who buy gaming computers, laptops, desktops, potentially curious console people, HTPC consumers, etc. It doesn't have to sell 10 million units to be profitable either. It'll be a versatile device that can do more than just game as well, look at how many PS3s just play Netflix for example. Android is a lot more limited as a gaming machine so I don't see people automatically flocking to it either. PC gamers don't have to automatically install Windows, it all depends on how good the user experience is.

This is just a first effort too. Valve has displayed remarkable vision before and literally built a billion dollar market. Maybe they see the Windows empire coming to a close and are bridging out. Maybe they just want to put a PC in the living room because that's where the conflict in the market is. With Khronos finally pushing OpenGL back into relevance in the gaming industry we could be on the cusp of some interesting times for the PC.

Regardless it'll be an interesting experiment and I welcome any effort that puts the PC into other markets and spaces.
 
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