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Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television

Valve offers a retrospective on the success of Steam over last year, outlining the growth of their online service, while also discussing their ambitions of entering living rooms this year with the addition of "Big Picture UI mode." Here's the deal:

January 6, 2012 - Valve® today announced the 2011 growth data for Steam, a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment.

During 2011 the platform grew to offer over 1,800 games to over 40 million accounts. Year-over-year unit sales increased by more than 100% for the seventh straight year, and during the 2011 Holiday Sale Steam's simultaneous user number eclipsed the 5 million player mark.

Meanwhile Steam doubled the amount of content delivered in 2011 vs. 2010, serving over 780 Petabytes of data to gamers around the world. To meet the increasing demand for games and services on the platform, the Steam infrastructure more than doubled its service capacity and a new content delivery architecture was deployed to improve user download rates.

Over 14.5 mil copies of Steamworks games were registered during the year, a 67% increase over 2010. Steamworks titles shipped during 2011 include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution , and more. Since the suite of services was released three years ago, Steamworks has shipped in over 400 games.

"Steam and Steamworks continues to evolve to keep up with customer and developer demands for new services and content," said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. "Support for in-game item trading prompted the exchange of over 19 million items. Support for Free to Play (FTP) games, launched in June, has spurred the launch of 18 FTP titles on Steam, with more coming in 2012. Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house."

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64. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 11, 2012, 02:40 descender
 
I wasn't attacking you, relax. The situation you described with your brothers drive is not backing up your steam library. Backing it up would mean having it on a drive you are not running steam off of, not moving it to a new drive, it failing and you not having your backup anymore....

My point stands... You can back up the entire steamapps folder, move it between computers and basically never have to re-download anything. All you ahve to do is launch the steam.exe file in any folder on any computer, close steam, dump the steam apps folder and relaunch steam. It takes a few seconds to figure things out but it doesn't have to download anything (assuming your backup is current).
 
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63. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 9, 2012, 14:41 Verno
 
Sony is really bad repeat offender in that regard though, we could fill a few forum pages of discussion just about their numerous and repeated attempts to corner consumers into high margin items. And he's right, I can't really see Sony letting Valve do anything other than very tertiary functionality with Steam on the PS3.  
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62. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 9, 2012, 14:18 Krovven
 
Dev wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 18:30:
Keep in mind this is the sony that continually tries to trap people into proprietary media and storage formats

Heavens NO! They are doing the same thing every other company is trying to do!

 
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61. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 18:30 Dev
 
Suddenly_Dead wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 17:53:
I can't see Sony surrendering that much control, and I can't see what they would gain out of it. A little bit of name recognition? Okay, but what about the marketing Steam (and the PC) get in return? Wouldn't that be concerning? It's just a store, it's not like a store would somehow make porting PC titles easier, so I don't see what it would add.
Exactly, and thats how sony will look at it. They won't care about some increased revenue, they will think that increase could come from their store.

Keep in mind this is the sony that continually tries to trap people into proprietary media and storage formats, because they are crazy about trying to control people. No way in heck would they let ANYONE besides themselves with PSN sell games on PS3.
 
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60. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 17:53 Suddenly_Dead
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:41:
Valve apparently takes a 30% cut of each game sold, so it wouldn't surprise me if they could come to some sort of arrangement to bring Steam to the Sony platform and split it 10% Sony, 20% Valve, 70% publisher - or have a different arrangement, where say Sony has to provide the bandwidth themselves. Afterall, 1/3 of a shit ton of money is better than 1/3 of nothing for Sony, while Valve would dramatically increase their marketshare. And Sony might still pursue its own online store simultaneously, so it can hedge its bets.

I can't see Sony surrendering that much control, and I can't see what they would gain out of it. A little bit of name recognition? Okay, but what about the marketing Steam (and the PC) get in return? Wouldn't that be concerning? It's just a store, it's not like a store would somehow make porting PC titles easier, so I don't see what it would add.
 
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59. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 14:07 Sepharo
 
Dev wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:56:
Sepharo wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:48:
I dunno, making one of these but for streaming PC gaming to your living room doesn't seem like it would be too difficult.

Ah I guess you could've meant the business and infrastructure rather than the technical aspect
Thing is, that requires a MHL capable HDMI, and any TV modern enough to have that (which was probably made in like last few months) is highly likely to have the ability to stream built in.

What they need to do is make sure is figure out an adapter that can plug into wall and covert a normal HDMI into a MHL. If such an adapter exists (I have not bothered to see if it does) they need to make sure and heavily market it along with the device. I'm betting a ton of people will buy the roku and wonder why it doesn't work.

Yeah I just used that as an example because I think it's great. But they could just make a device that works with an alternate power cable if you don't have MHL right? Keep the big pieces in a wall wart (or on those boxes in mid cable) and just have place to optionally plug it in on the device. Or is there somethng more to MHL that I'm missing beyond providing power?
 
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58. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 13:56 Dev
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:48:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:41:
A console expansion or buy out of OnLive seems much more likely than launching a thin-hardware client of their own.

I dunno, making one of these but for streaming PC gaming to your living room doesn't seem like it would be too difficult.

Ah I guess you could've meant the business and infrastructure rather than the technical aspect
Thing is, that requires a MHL capable HDMI, and any TV modern enough to have that (which was probably made in like last few months) is highly likely to have the ability to stream built in.

What they need to do is make sure is figure out an adapter that can plug into wall and covert a normal HDMI into a MHL. If such an adapter exists (I have not bothered to see if it does) they need to make sure and heavily market it along with the device. I'm betting a ton of people will buy the roku and wonder why it doesn't work.
 
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57. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 13:48 Sepharo
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 13:41:
A console expansion or buy out of OnLive seems much more likely than launching a thin-hardware client of their own.

I dunno, making one of these but for streaming PC gaming to your living room doesn't seem like it would be too difficult.

Ah I guess you could've meant the business and infrastructure rather than the technical aspect
 
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56. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 13:41 theyarecomingforyou
 
Dev wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 12:13:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 06:07:
I think it's more likely that they will be launching a version of Steam on the PS3, given that the PS3 version of Portal 2 also included a copy of the PC version.
So you may be right, I think it just depends on how much Sony will let them do. Sony is not likely to want to let valve do sales through steam when they have their own PSN. But the other parts of steam, sony may let them do.
Microsoft currently has a successful business model with Xbox Live but it is still vulnerable going forward. Sony, on the otherhand, is very much lacking when it comes to their online presence. Valve apparently takes a 30% cut of each game sold, so it wouldn't surprise me if they could come to some sort of arrangement to bring Steam to the Sony platform and split it 10% Sony, 20% Valve, 70% publisher - or have a different arrangement, where say Sony has to provide the bandwidth themselves. Afterall, 1/3 of a shit ton of money is better than 1/3 of nothing for Sony, while Valve would dramatically increase their marketshare. And Sony might still pursue its own online store simultaneously, so it can hedge its bets.

I think Microsoft will be too greedy to accept Steam on their platform but I think Sony will be desperate enough to do whatever it takes to get such a deal done. The PS3 already supports the Steam Overlay, so Sony is already much more tolerant of Steam than Microsoft. And it's interesting that Valve changed their tone so much on the PS3, after openly criticising it. No doubt part of that was not being able to use Xbox Live to distribute free updates to TF2 on X360, as Microsoft is pathetic stingy like that - they only care about money.

A console expansion or buy out of OnLive seems much more likely than launching a thin-hardware client of their own.
 
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55. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 13:04 Dev
 
I wonder how many of the 19 million items traded were coal.  
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54. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 12:42 Dmitri_M
 
Too bad we're not talking about a newly announced Valve IP or concrete HL3 news. It'd interest me more than a delivery system that turns my PC into an ATM in my living room to sell me indie games I spend 5 minutes playing.  
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53. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 12:13 Dev
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 06:07:
I think it's more likely that they will be launching a version of Steam on the PS3, given that the PS3 version of Portal 2 also included a copy of the PC version.
Gabe already expressed an interest in doing steam on PS3, when he announced that portal 2 would be coming to PS3, he was talking about how he thought steam and PS3 would be a good match.

So you may be right, I think it just depends on how much Sony will let them do. Sony is not likely to want to let valve do sales through steam when they have their own PSN. But the other parts of steam, sony may let them do.
 
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52. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 11:07 Prez
 
You are of course right about the conventional wisdom being wrong; that's what made it so frustrating. You and I both knew all along that PC gaming was still viable, but the guys that mattered, the developers who make the games and the publishers who fund them, were all too happy to jump on the "PC is dead" bandwagon and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. What Valve did was not only explode the myth and expose the lie, but they have done what everyone (including myself) thought to be an impossible dream: they expanded PC gaming and are making it grow! My 11-year-old daughter identifies Skyrim as a PC game first and foremost because of Steam. Undoubtedly many other people do as well, thanks to Steam. Use it or avoid it like the plague, Steam's influence and benefit to PC gaming is in my view undeniable.

This comment was edited on Jan 7, 2012, 12:03.
 
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51. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 09:37 WaltC
 
Prez wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 19:36:
...

Gabe Newell and his crew are the saviors of PC gaming as far as I'm concerned.

You've got to understand that the "conventional wisdom" about PC gaming was never correct to begin with...;) I mean, if it had been correct, Gabe would not have started Steam in the first place. He started it because he knew the "conventional wisdom" was wrong--was nuts, really. And, you certainly don't do the amount of work required for a HL2 and subsequent episodes for a dying medium--Valve sold/sells buckets of PC HL2.

What Steam has done that I find particularly noteworthy, and this was always implied by Steam from the start, is to help bring sanity to software publishers about $50-$60 MSRPs. It's true that the MSRPs haven't changed much at the initial point of release--games are still priced maximally. But what's happened with Steam, and to a lesser degree with companies like GoG (lesser simply because GoG deals with older software that you expect to cost less), is that those prices stay in the stratosphere for much shorter periods of time, and when they drop the prices often drop precipitously in the many and varied sales that Valve has. And, as Valve reports, that's when the number of copies sold goes through the roof--often increasing by thousands of percent over standard MSRP volumes--so that software publishers everywhere can plainly see that lower prices increase demand for their products.

I couldn't believe that I was able to buy Skyrim, for instance, at $40.19, a mere six-weeks after it launched for $60. I had expected to see the $60 price remain stable for at least six months--but it came down much faster than that in a Valve holiday sale. Any publisher with a brain would much rather sell five digital copies @$20 ea than one digital copy @$60. The key to fighting piracy is pricing. Piracy can never be completely eliminated, of course. But Valve and Steam will come as close as it is possible to do in overcoming piracy both by pricing wares low enough to stimulate maximum demand and by the use of Steam's sale and delivery methods--which are a form of very, very Lite DRM in themselves. Honestly, though, providing a *free* cloud service for my Steam games is a pretty good reason in itself to use Steam.

If I have any gripes about Steam it would be on the subject of game updates. It shouldn't take so long for them to appear, and they should always work when they are available. On more than one occasion I've had to monkey around with local Steam files just to get my game updated. That's an area that needs work, no question about it.
 
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50. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 06:07 theyarecomingforyou
 
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 00:34:
Thin-client for playing games over a LAN? I can see that selling; lots of people have computers in their computer room, fewer have one actually hooked up to their TV. Something like that from a someone like Valve could be huge, maybe even massively reshaping and boosting the PC gaming scene on its own. You know, if the latency doesn't make it unbearable and all that.
I think it's more likely that they will be launching a version of Steam on the PS3, given that the PS3 version of Portal 2 also included a copy of the PC version. I'm not sure Microsoft will get onboard with the X360, as their Xbox Live service is making them a fortune.

It's possible it will be a separate thin client but that would be a bit out of character for Valve. The only way I see that happening would be if they bought out OnLive.
 
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49. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 05:59 Fantaz
 
This is bigger than that... they want to launch a new steam cloud based gaming console! (yes, a STEAM CLOUD!)  
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48. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 03:14 Bhruic
 
The Steam client is very poor at dealing with large game libraries and completely unequipped for downloading your entire library should you ever need to. It's got a lot better than when it first started but that mainly occurred when they first added grouping - it hasn't improved since then.

Yeah, frankly I'm surprised at how feature-poor Steam really is. I mean, I know their main focus is on selling games, but the more "user friendly" they make it, the more people will focus on it exclusively. I mean, I know a lot of people already do, so maybe they just don't care.
 
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47. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 01:33 Sepharo
 
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jan 7, 2012, 00:34:
DG wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 16:17:
Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house."
I'm not sure this is just a case of supporting TV's-as-monitors better? Particularly as they say "in more rooms of the house" which to me implies non-PC devices?
Thin-client for playing games over a LAN? I can see that selling; lots of people have computers in their computer room, fewer have one actually hooked up to their TV. Something like that from a someone like Valve could be huge, maybe even massively reshaping and boosting the PC gaming scene on its own. You know, if the latency doesn't make it unbearable and all that.

Please let this be it.

But I was pretty confident that it was just a big UI. I use Hulu Desktop instead of browser Hulu even though it has less features and I don't need its controller designed menu sitting at my computer. I just like that it feels like more of a TV experience instead of a browser YouTube like presentation.
 
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46. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 00:34 Crustacean Soup
 
DG wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 16:17:
Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house."
I'm not sure this is just a case of supporting TV's-as-monitors better? Particularly as they say "in more rooms of the house" which to me implies non-PC devices?
Thin-client for playing games over a LAN? I can see that selling; lots of people have computers in their computer room, fewer have one actually hooked up to their TV. Something like that from a someone like Valve could be huge, maybe even massively reshaping and boosting the PC gaming scene on its own. You know, if the latency doesn't make it unbearable and all that.

This comment was edited on Jan 7, 2012, 00:39.
 
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45. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 6, 2012, 23:40 ASeven
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 21:53:
avianflu wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 21:45:
I dont get the "Gabe is obsessed with health" thing: he is really big and getting obese from the recent photos I have seen. Maybe someone knows something I dont know but he certainly doesnt look obsessed with health? Not meant to be snarky but c'mon Gabe is really looking big.

It was quote from an interview where he was talking about crunchtime and burnout. He doesn't want to stress his team, he makes sure they take care of themselves, take vacations, work in a stress free environment, etc.

You nailed it there. In a work environment that's relaxed and where everyone trusts everyone, productivity sky rockets. It also ensures that anyone that is there will stay forever there since it becomes a sort of a dream job with tons of benefits.

Treat your work group well and they'll produce a lot more.
 
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