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Games Hardware Linux

Valve's SteamBox Gets a Name and an Early Demo at CES 328

Posted by timothy
from the you-mean-sgi-isn't-cool? dept.
xynopsis writes "Looks like the final version of the Linux based Steam Gaming Console has been made public at CES. The result of combined efforts of small-form-factor maker Xi3 and Valve, the gaming box named 'Piston' is a potential game changer in transforming the Linux desktop and gaming market. The pretty device looks like a shrunk Tezro from Silicon Graphics when SGI used to be cool." Looks like Gabe Newell wasn't kidding.
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Valve's SteamBox Gets a Name and an Early Demo at CES

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  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:03AM (#42517593)
    You must not have known what you were doing or something. My PC is 2 years old and it's still fast enough to run any modern game at medium to maxed specs at 1920x1080 while running Netflix in HD on monitor 2. It cost about $790. The constant need for new requirements in "console" games would piss people off though. With an Xbox, once you've got the hardware, you're good. If you constantly have to buy expensive games plus new hardware, that's just stupid. I would make it mandatory for any game on Steam that wants to be console-capable to have a "Piston mode" that is guaranteed to run properly on their hardware as-is.

    Since I know someone will ask....
    i5-2400 8GB 1333 CL7 RAM 1TB 524AS-ending Seagate drive ASUS DVD-RW GTS450 MSI P67-based board Digital TV Tuner Card
    Tada, I'm good for a couple more years.
  • Re:Linux + DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:09AM (#42517661)

    Parent: Missing the point of Steam entirely.

    Steam itself is not DRM. My library contains lots of DRM free games. On the other hand it also contains certain games which come with the same DRM as the boxed version. If you want to make a point buy the DRM free indie games on Steam and and don't buy the DRM ridden ones.

    Don't dismiss something just because it can do more than what you need. Nobody forces you to pirate with bittorrent or murder your wife with a kitchen knife either.

  • Not *the* steam-box (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:11AM (#42517675)

    This is just *a* steam-box, just a few days ago Ben Krasnow (Valve hardware designer) said that steambox would appear at GDC.

  • by suprcvic (684521) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:11AM (#42517677)
    My PC is 5 years old and the only upgrades I've done are more memory and new video cards periodically. Build a beefy enough system up front and upgrades later are minimal.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:11AM (#42517679)

    PC's got good enough about 5-10 years ago that this specs chase is a distant memory. If you spend $500 every 5 or so years you will be a head of the game.

    Valve might prefer you do that, it is why steam has a big picture mode after all.

  • Re:Linux + DRM (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:22AM (#42517841)

    When Linus made Linux he did not say "it is going to be DRM free", he even said that DRM is ok with Linux not too long ago.
    How is "Linux + DRM" a point? What is the point of Linux then?

    You are able to run DRM software on Linux right now anyway. Even if Steam is going to be big, it doesn't require DRM for the games which are distributed on it.

  • Re:Author quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @09:22AM (#42517849) Journal

    Captain, I'm sensing a bitter old man. I suggest caution.

    It's not bitter old man, but it is a little sad. SGI used to be the epitome of cool in the computer world. Cast your mind back to 1994. You had most people running DOS and Windows 3.11. A few people were running UNIX (tm) workstations with CDE.

    Many of those systems were slow, clunky, had at most 8 bits per pixel of palletted horibleness, weak graphics ugly user interfaces and so on.

    Then you had SGI.

    1280x1024 trucolour displays with accelerated texture mapped graphics. Holy crap that 3D asteroid blaster game looked sweet. Oh and a really cool UI with scalable vector icons, webcams, TV out, video chat and excellent sound built in. In 1994.

    Oh and you could get portable systems with a TFT screen back when they more or less did not exist for all practical purposes. And certainly not at that kind of resolution.

    Seriously, SGIs were something out of the future.

    How long did it take for PCs to get webcams built in?

  • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:25AM (#42518767) Journal

    if this means more games for linux on the desktop then yeah it could be big.

    Otherwise - it's just another locked down console and I'm not sure what benefit it will have for linux on the desktop.

    Unless Valve has been lying through their teeth this whole time(certainly possible; but not obvious why doing so would be an advantage for them), their desire is to compete in the console space by offering one or more 'easy, just-works, fits in your living room, appliance' style PCs that will be churned out to spec by cooperating OEMs and running Steam-on-linux by default; but that they have no problem with people running Steam-on-linux on whatever oddball homebuilds they like, subject to the caveat that Valve has minimal interest in dealing with the rough edges of motherboard Z's shitty ACPI implementation or binary compatibility problems introduced by your Gentoo install's creative compiler flags.

    Steam is, among other things, a DRM system; but not one that has ever depended on some crypto-lockdown-trusted-firmware(and, indeed, they seem quite worried that Microsoft, despite Games for Windows Live sucking pretty brutally, is well placed to be the ones offering such a system instead, same with Apple and its app store on the OSX side) in its Windows or Mac iterations. It would be odd if they were to go that route for Linux.

    Obviously, they aren't porting stuff to linux just because they love penguins and freedom and whatnot(since the closed source Steam binary will still mostly dish out closed source game binaries); but the threat posed by both Microsoft and Apple having digital stores attached to their platforms, along with a desire not to add the cost of a Windows license to every 'console' they ship, gives them a pretty good reason to support compatibility of games with at least the most common Linux desktop systems.

  • Re:Linux + DRM (Score:2, Informative)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:28AM (#42519703) Journal

    Steam itself is not DRM.

    Patently false. While Steam might occasionaly serve to let you download DRM free games (the Humble Bundles come to mind) which continue to work with steam uninstalled, you MUST have a valid Steam account to play the vast majority of games you purchase from the service, indie or otherwise, ON TOP of any other DRM which might be loaded onto the game.

    If you're cool with buying cheap games, with the understanding that you will have to bend over for whatever shit they feel like shoving into the unilaterally modified contract down the line, then so be it. Cop to it and don't let anyone try to talk you out of it.

    But don't lie.

  • Re:Linux + DRM (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @12:49PM (#42520997) Homepage

    Except he's right. Steam is not DRM. Steamworks is the DRM, and it's not mandatory.

    You're missing the point: it's not Steam or Valve's fault if the games you buy use DRM. It's the publisher's decision. If the game wasn't on Steam, it'd have another form of (likely much more annoying/shitty) DRM. What Steam provides is fairly mild DRM (yes, I say mild, because honestly I prefer having an account that adds a lot of value to my games versus limited activation, phone home schemes, or plain and simply unreliable bullshit ala StarForce).

    But Steam doesn't force anyone to use the DRM in their games.

  • by SighKoPath (956085) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:38PM (#42523635)
    Except at launch, the xbox with the 20GB HDD was $399.99, or $299.99 without a HDD. Want to upgrade your launch xbox to a more reasonably sized hard drive? I hope you're ready to pay extra. Oh shit, did your xbox get a red ring of death while out of warranty? Guess you'll have to buy another! Also, have fun with the $50/year for xbox live if you want to play multiplayer!

    So, 5 years of xbox 360:
    1. Launch console, $400
    2. New HDD, $100
    3. Replacement console after RROD, $300
    4. 5+ years of xbox live, $250+

    Total: $1050+

    Suddenly, that $800+ on a PC doesn't look so bad.

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