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Valve's 'Steam Box' Console Is Real, Says Gabe Newell 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-out-right-after-half-life-3 dept.
symbolset writes "The Verge is reporting that the Steam Console we discussed in November is a real thing. Gabe Newell said it will be a locked down platform for the living room. The source is a Kotaku interview with Newell at the Video Game Awards. Newell said, 'Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general-purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them.'"
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Valve's 'Steam Box' Console Is Real, Says Gabe Newell

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  • by crafty.munchkin (1220528) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:06AM (#42230621)
    is Steam Big Picture as a desktop environment for ubuntu, or something along those lines - a linux OS which boots up into Steam. So you can build your own steam console with the hardware you want (and is fully upgradeable when new tech comes out) and ready to rock as soon as the OS is installed.
    • by the real darkskye (723822) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:18AM (#42230683) Homepage

      We already have Ubuntu variants which boot straight to an application (XMBCbuntu), and use the official repos for updates.
      Chances are someone will mix up a Steamuntu, even if its not officially supported by Valve but gets all the official Ubuntu updates.

      From what I can tell of the beta Linux Steam client, its responsible for its own updates rather than adding a new repository (like Google Chrome does) and relying on the user to keep their OS up to date.

    • by SeaFox (739806) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @01:14AM (#42230997)

      ...So you can build your own steam console with the hardware you want (and is fully upgradeable when new tech comes out) and ready to rock as soon as the OS is installed.

      That would defeat the strongest argument for the console: it just runs and you know it will runs what's available for it. Build-your-own comes with the all the headaches that come with it: driver compatibility, hardware reliability, and performance requirements for individual games. Console games are for all the Joe Sixpacks who just wants to flip a switch and play. When I used to buy games for my SNES, I didn't have to look at the box and wonder "do I have enough RAM for this?", "will I need to install a better graphics card to get smooth gameplay?"

      If you want a full-screen gaming environment for Ubuntu, when Steam is available for Linux, is there any reason you couldn't just build a dedicated gaming PC for the living room in an HTPC case, and then install Ubuntu and set it to auto-run Steam in Big Picture mode when it boots up. This sounds like a request you can already fulfill on your own.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        But the Steam box could be a list of minimum requirements so devs can program against a known configuration. If you choose to go off and build your own with different hardware, the support just wouldn't be there...

        • by SeaFox (739806) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:14AM (#42231279)

          How is that any different than just building your own PC how you want and installing Steam on it?

          • by symbolset (646467) *
            A Steam box is a platform owned by Valve. They control its destiny. This control is important to them, and to the gamers who entrust them with their money. This control ensures that the platform can't be yanked out from under them, depriving their customers of their investment and ruining their good name.
      • by Kelbear (870538)

        OP is right on the money. The difference between Console vs. PC has nothing to do with hardware or software, and everything to do with control.

        The bottom line is that all of the hardware and software in these categories have changed, and are going to continue to change. The fundamental difference is who gets to choose the direction of those changes. Under a vendor-controlled environment, there is one-size-fits-all convenience, and clarity in design for developers. Under PC environments, you have freedom to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      That probably wouldn't be easy as too many things are evolving too rapidly in Linux ATM, you have the kernel changes, Pulse,Unity, and of course you have the issues with the graphics drivers, its just changing far too rapidly to make a good DIY console using Linux.

      I'll probably get hate for pointing this out but other than Tablets this is the one place where Win 8's metro GUI actually works well, its Metro interface is practically a 10 foot UI right OOTB, hard to miss those big ass fugly tiles with a remote

      • by Raumkraut (518382)

        That probably wouldn't be easy as too many things are evolving too rapidly in Linux ATM

        Two words: Debian Stable
        Or, if they stick to Ubuntu, three words: Long Term Support

      • You make what is current and then a few years later something else. It works for Nintendo etc.
  • by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:08AM (#42230645)
    Arguably, Valve probably wouldn't be pushing full "steam" ahead on this if Microsoft hadn't dreamt up a Windows Store. This is in my opinion a real game changer for the PC ecosystem and the future of Windows.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:16AM (#42230665)

      Microsoft's biggest mistake was putting a tablet interface in their desktop OS.

      • by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:53AM (#42231465) Journal
        Um, they put it on the server too. Tiles with Facebook and Twitter integration on your Domain and Exchange servers. How is that not worse than the tablet interface on the desktop?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Ha-ha. Running Windows on a server. That's funny.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      How is yet another console a real game changer? PC Gamers have had the options of consoles for decades, they just aren't appealing, a locked down ecosystem that is dictated by the manufacturer, in this case valve. This will be competing against the PS/Xbox/WiiU, yes it will be interesting to see how it goes against them but it is DOA as a gaming machine replacement.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The game it'll be changing is Windows dominance of PC gaming.

        Already big publishers and new games under development are starting to look closer at Linux support because of the Steam beta. They don't like what they see in Win8 any more than Gabe Newell does.

        My prediction is Valve will get behind Linux in a big, big way and this will be looked back upon as a turning point in history.

        Start with a Steam box, then certify higher-end hardware Steam-ready with curated, updated, solid OSS drivers available for the

        • by dbIII (701233)

          Suddenly Linux becomes EASY for Joe sixpack, he can buy it in a store

          That's what I did in 1995 with a six CDROM set.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Suddenly Linux becomes EASY for Joe sixpack, he can buy it in a store

            That's what I did in 1995 with a six CDROM set.

            Joe sixpack buys operating systems with computers.

    • by shione (666388)

      They made their mistake before pissing off Newell and making him leave microsoft. When he did, he founded steam along with another ex microsoft employee.

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @12:17AM (#42230673)
    How long until someone has it cracked and running general-purpose Linux? Bonus: How long until someone makes a cluster of them?
  • by Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @01:14AM (#42230999)
    It won't make it past its 2nd iteration
  • Valve over the years has gotten a large foothold in Windows gaming, now working on Linux gaming and set-top gaming. All they will be missing is smartphone (and mac?) presence before they can start having a google-like influence and presence.
    • by csumpi (2258986)
      I know two people with Valve accounts. But everyone I know uses Google. So they have some ways to go.
    • This is a bit worrisome, because Valve has a tendency to let non-critical issues go unaddressed for long periods of time, instead preferring to work on some new feature that will inevitably have its own set of ignored issues.

      As more and more games have decided to integrate completely with Steam, I've been having more and more problems with friends dropping from games when Steam decides to just randomly disconnect people as they update servers or whatever. This happens 1-3 times a week, where their servers j

  • I am assuming that by locked down, they imply a signed bootloader and/or a signed kernel image. I wouldn't be opposed to that provided all games remain available for the open PC platform as well.

    Such a thing is reasonable if they want to subsidize the hardware with games purchases and minimize tech support costs (There's far less headache to deal with if they can't do anything other than what you specifically approved. Anybody who has ever worked in an end user facing IT position would know this.) We can ta

  • by deweyhewson (1323623) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @02:05AM (#42231233)

    Until this is resolved [imgur.com], I'm wary of locking myself into Valve any more than I already am. The thought of a locked down environment worries me, too; that seems antithetical to what has made PC gaming and enthusiasm what it is.

    Still, it's Valve, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but being trapped in one more walled garden not only with software but hardware is not the direction I like the industry to move.

    • Games on steam have mods some even have in game downing / installing of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      Can we keep the reddit imgur spam on reddit please? If you can't explain your point in complete paragraphs without an image macro for assistance, you might want to look elsewhere.

    • by SpeZek (970136) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @11:06AM (#42233495) Journal
      So have the wife and kid play in offline mode?
  • by Dunge (922521)
    We don't need more hardware, the current PC is good enough. Just give us some good software/games for it already.
    • by JimboFBX (1097277)

      The point is to standardize the system. For example, will the walking dead play on my sister's 4 year old laptop if I give it to her this christmas?

  • I had the privilege of trying to install stream from behind a hotel firewall/router. Still doesn't work. Would download at under 16 kb/sec and there is hundreds of megs to download. I seen to recall that this is because it only uses a single tcp connection when there is a firewall and basically steam wasn't designed with this in mind. Remember, steam is fundamentally a web browser and file downloader. I know a few games where the stream based server browser also is very spotty. Firewall/NAT issues are prett

  • by MindPrison (864299) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @03:41AM (#42231675) Journal

    And you would have the console everyone missed.

    You could just plug it in, and play straight away few seconds later, nothing beats that feeling.
    Today everything has to boot forever, it takes several minutes just to wait for another game to boot up, I hate that. I live with it, but I don't like it.

    With todays amazing solid state drive developments, this shouldn't be impossible. USB-memory sticks costs almost as little as CD's and Floppy Disks did back in the days, so we're getting there.

    And the first console to do this, will win.

  • ... I think I'm switching to Haiku.

    *Tadum* *Crash* *Thud*

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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