Back To The Future of Videogames...

I'm pretty stoked about Big Picture, Valve's new plan to move PC's into the living room.

It's not something in which I will partake, having a pretty sweet PC setup in my room already, but I like the implications it has on the direction of videogames in general.

Microsoft, Sony and even to some extent Nintendo have made it pretty clear at the numerous industry events like E3 that they are attempting to combat the stigma of owning a "console" by replacing it with a "Multimedia hub". The ridiculous dashboard on the 360 is clear proof that Microsoft is attempting to cram as much junk into their console as possible, and for years these two publishers have been battling for social-network and media domination in their hardware.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't use any of it. I own a PS3 and a 360, and use them both frequently enough to justify owning them, but for solely videogames. I have a pretty sweet PC, and it's the PC which I use the most - because it already does everything that these consoles have for a long time been attempting to do, and it does so effortlessly and with a much greater degree of freedom and versatility.

This isn't a PC fanboy rant. I'm not suggesting that consoles are inferior in any way as videogame-playing machines. My favourite franchise in the world is Gears Of War, and I would much rather play that on my 360 than my PC. I bought my PS3 to play Uncharted and Journey and I have no regrets there, either. There are games that define consoles, that fit so perfectly you can't help but wonder if the hardware was structured around them. They are perfect examples of everything consoles do well.

The PC has the luxury of being able to sidestep the petty competitiveness of E3 dick-swinging by being completely open. And this is obviously what has made the platform so appealing to Valve, a studio with a reputation for not patronising their users with over-simplified menu screens or a lack of consumer involvement in the design process. Now Valve are actually putting their money where their collective mouths are, which is admirable and, honestly, pretty exciting.

In 5 years I expect everyone will be running a PC in their living room.

In 10 I expect Valve will be selling their own brand of high-end PC's that run on a linux-based OS of their own creation. People have made it pretty clear that they are willing to spend a lot of money on videogames, and that they care enough about the performance of their consoles to spend hours arguing about it on the internet. All they need is a way of selling the versatility of the PC without intimidating their customers with the underlying software tinkering. And I have the utmost faith that they will do so. Because Gaben.

The next 5 years are going to be interesting. Get hype.

Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep

23 Comments
23 Comments
Edited by Sweep

I'm pretty stoked about Big Picture, Valve's new plan to move PC's into the living room.

It's not something in which I will partake, having a pretty sweet PC setup in my room already, but I like the implications it has on the direction of videogames in general.

Microsoft, Sony and even to some extent Nintendo have made it pretty clear at the numerous industry events like E3 that they are attempting to combat the stigma of owning a "console" by replacing it with a "Multimedia hub". The ridiculous dashboard on the 360 is clear proof that Microsoft is attempting to cram as much junk into their console as possible, and for years these two publishers have been battling for social-network and media domination in their hardware.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't use any of it. I own a PS3 and a 360, and use them both frequently enough to justify owning them, but for solely videogames. I have a pretty sweet PC, and it's the PC which I use the most - because it already does everything that these consoles have for a long time been attempting to do, and it does so effortlessly and with a much greater degree of freedom and versatility.

This isn't a PC fanboy rant. I'm not suggesting that consoles are inferior in any way as videogame-playing machines. My favourite franchise in the world is Gears Of War, and I would much rather play that on my 360 than my PC. I bought my PS3 to play Uncharted and Journey and I have no regrets there, either. There are games that define consoles, that fit so perfectly you can't help but wonder if the hardware was structured around them. They are perfect examples of everything consoles do well.

The PC has the luxury of being able to sidestep the petty competitiveness of E3 dick-swinging by being completely open. And this is obviously what has made the platform so appealing to Valve, a studio with a reputation for not patronising their users with over-simplified menu screens or a lack of consumer involvement in the design process. Now Valve are actually putting their money where their collective mouths are, which is admirable and, honestly, pretty exciting.

In 5 years I expect everyone will be running a PC in their living room.

In 10 I expect Valve will be selling their own brand of high-end PC's that run on a linux-based OS of their own creation. People have made it pretty clear that they are willing to spend a lot of money on videogames, and that they care enough about the performance of their consoles to spend hours arguing about it on the internet. All they need is a way of selling the versatility of the PC without intimidating their customers with the underlying software tinkering. And I have the utmost faith that they will do so. Because Gaben.

The next 5 years are going to be interesting. Get hype.

Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep

Moderator
Posted by MattyFTM

Must be a slow day at the office if you've had time to blog.

Moderator
Posted by Sweep

@MattyFTM: You have no idea.

Moderator
Posted by Hampe

Looks like Gabe has a marijuana leaf in the reflection of the left eye in this picture.

Posted by FourWude

"In 5 years I expect everyone to be running a PC in their living room."

Over my cold, dead, consolified body.

Posted by Rebel_Scum

@Sweep said:

The ridiculous dashboard on the 360 is clear proof that Microsoft is attempting to cram as much junk into their console as possible, and for years these two publishers have been battling for social-network and media domination in their hardware.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't use any of it.

Yep, the console multimedia aspect is really lame. Never put pictures, music on my 360 nor watch movies off it either or stream content. They could've at least allowed you to use your own music to play in games. Wouldn't be that hard to implement although developers would have to support it.

And the 360 dashboard is nothing but an advertising whore bag but then we all knew that.

Posted by selbie

@Hampe said:

Looks like Gabe has a marijuana leaf in the reflection of the left eye in this picture.

That or it's a face-hugger on it's way to spawing Gabalien - the most feared xenomorph of them all. Luring you with the scent of cheap games, then BAM! instant zombie conversion.

Edited by Red12b

@FourWude said:

"In 5 years I expect everyone to be running a PC in their living room."

Over my cold, dead, consolified body.

I've been doing it since 2003

Since fucking Napster, Hooked up to my Amp playing music, it's just a thing in the living room, Monitor right on the dining table if we have guests over we take the screen down and grab extra chairs from the garage,

No problems at all, and it's fucking brilliant

Posted by Phatmac

Uh, people on Giantbomb will probably be be using PC's more often in their living room, but you clearly underestimate the vast majority of people that don't even know how to put their PC's in their living room. We all live in a bubble as regular gamers so you have to step back and realize that the majority doesn't think or act like you. I'm concerned that PC's won't be as popular as they are thanks to tablets. I highly doubt that PC's will ever each that kind of success, but we'll see.

Posted by Sweep

@Phatmac: Our generation has grown up with computers. Look at the advances that have been made with operating systems alone. In 5 years you might be able to build a PC like it was made out of lego. I fully appreciate why people are intimidated by PC's because I used to be one of them, but if Valve can continue to streamline it, as they have done with Big Picture, then I think it will become an increasingly popular idea.

Moderator
Posted by Phatmac

@Sweep said:

@Phatmac: Our generation has grown up with computers. Look at the advances that have been made with operating systems alone. In 5 years you might be able to build a PC like it was made out of lego. I fully appreciate why people are intimidated by PC's because I used to be one of them, but if Valve can continue to streamline it, as they have done with Big Picture, then I think it will become an increasingly popular idea.

No doubt PC gaming has become easier to jump into, but even I don't have a PC hooked up to my TV. I just don't see PC's becoming that huge over 5 years. It'll certainly be a popular choice among gamers and even some that have avoided PC gaming due to people not being able to sit on the couch and play with their PC's. The only counter point is that most casual players are still ignorant over the growing PC gaming spectrum. PC has certainly become popular once again due to Steam and mass appeal games like Minecraft, but I doubt it'd be as popular as your original comment stated it would be. I'm a growing fan of PC gaming so don't take this as my dismissal of PC gaming as a whole. I find it far more interesting than what consoles are currently delivering. I'm sure I would have never said that 5 years ago so you may have a point.

Posted by crusader8463

I'm not a fan of this rush to try and turn PCs into consoles. I'm worried that the more features they add to try to turn the PC into more like a console the easier it will be for lazy devs to just slap a sticker on the side of a box and say use a controller to play this game. I play on PC because I hate playing games with controllers and the more I see stuff like this the more worried I become that in the near future they will just assume everyone has a stupid 360 controller plugged into their PC at all times and expect people to play PC games with them rather then take the time to add proper KBM controls.

Posted by Ravenlight

Everybody uses that picture of Gabe. He's got a sick mountain-man beard now, though apparently he's still wearing the same shirt.

Not pictured: Hundreds and hundreds of knives.
Posted by Little_Socrates

I totally use Netflix on my consoles all the time. But that's also the only multimedia I use for the things.

Posted by impartialgecko

My TV is my games playing portal so all this is correct!

Posted by mordukai

@Sweep: My pc is setup in my living room and I have to say that Valve's Big Picture is pretty great.

Posted by EVO

It's funny, PCs are becoming more like consoles, and consoles are becoming more like PCs. However, consoles have already established their place in peoples living room and I doubt PCs will any time soon. But if any company can do it, it's Valve.

Edited by That1BlackGuy

You make some good points, however I still have skepticism that the PC platform will completely overtake the home console space and as EVO stated, it very much seems each side is working to become interchangeable in the long run. I will say that the PC's marketshare in the gaming space will increase that much is certain and Valve will probably be one of the main factors at play in doing so. You also have to factor in mindshare and market value as well in relation to the general consumer with respect to the PC.

Posted by Slag

I could see that.

If Valve doesn't do it, I bet Apple will. Or perhaps both will.

Not really a stretch ,Consoles are becoming more PC like and vice versa.

When it really comes down to it the average consumer doesn't need a PC for actual PC functions, for most it's an entertainment/communication/websurfing device. I think Steve Jobs once called the Desktop the " truck of computers" and it the sense that niche performance/commercial guys only need trucks I think he was right.

The iPad is one take on this idea making PCs simpler, but I could totally see a TV/Video game Console/PC hybrid existing five years from now. There have been attempts at this before.

I bet for marketing reasons it will not be a called a PC though.

Posted by Aetheldod

I never ever had a tv on the living room , what witchery is that????? D: You crazy people

Posted by Sweep

@EVO said:

If any company can do it, it's Valve.

Fuckin' A

Moderator
Posted by ThatPrimeGuy

Its a good time to be a Steam user.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

Ugh, I hate loving Gears 3 so much that I just can't bring myself to get rid of my 360. I've been using my PC so much that Gears is the only thing that will make me turn on the 360.

My PS3 is collecting dust in the meantime while I wait for Last of Us.