So what's the angle of Steam Machines?

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#1 Posted by xyzygy (9890 posts) -

I guess I just don't see the point of these things - why not just custom build a computer for way less than it's costing for a lot of these machines? Some of the cheaper Steam Machines don't run other OSes (or at least that's what I've gotten from it) whereas the more expensive ones that are $1000 and up, can run Windows. I just don't see that point - for a lot less expensive you can build your own PC and run Steam AND Windows AND games that aren't on Steam.

Do Steam Machines really have a market? I would assume that people who would be into this stuff would be more into having an all-in-one, customized machine like an actual PC. What's your take on them?

#2 Posted by alanm26v5 (437 posts) -

I think there's a market for a cheap streaming box, but maybe those aren't exciting to lead off with. I don't know what these are for, but I know that people will buy them.

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#3 Posted by Zlimness (541 posts) -

The Steam Machine is being marketed as an alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One. At least that's my take on it. A lot of people seem to be getting into PC gaming, but think it's too complicated to build their own PC and buying a branded computer is really expensive. We'll see if there's a market. I'm seeing a lot of hardware manufacturers jumping on this idea at least.

#4 Edited by Zeik (2207 posts) -

I can fully understand why there are people who don't want to put up with building a computer and would pay more for a pre built one. I can also understand the appeal of the relative simplicty and straightforwardness of consoles over PCs. But the Steambox doesn't really capitalize on this any more than any other pre-built PC, especially with a billion different skus by different manufacturers.

#5 Posted by TinyGrasshopper (223 posts) -

I would say there are people who want to play PC games in the living room but don't want to build a PC, but want to swap out the parts every once in awhile for an upgrade. I used to build PCs, now I hate it. It's a hassle. If you mess up a build, it's a long time (and possible extra expense) lost, isolating the problem, and replacing the part, and its way harder when you don't have extra parts lying around.

So, I would say it's for people that want to have upgradability like a PC, but don't care about the up front hassle of building a system like a console, and also have a streamlined interface, like a console.

I would count myself as one of those people. I'm definitely getting one.

#6 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

On the one hand, I can totally see an opportunity to tap into the market of gamers who are recently bridging the gap between console and PC gaming (like myself).

On the other hand, the price points on these consoles is pretty high - far too rich for anyone who's just curious. At $500 and above, you're not likely marketing to anyone who's a casual gamer (at least not a middle class one).. And I'd suspect anyone who's already a dedicated PC gamer either has the rig they need, or has the means to build their own at a smaller price point that these pre-built machines.

Factor in what Zeik said above - that anybody who's slightly casual will bolt at the slightest hint of complexity - and I can't help but see a recipe for disaster. Having different machines, from different manufacturers, at different price points and specs - with not a hint of unified branding - screams complexity. I can't see that appealing to anyone who's intimidated by PC gaming.

Time will tell though - really curious to see where this goes.

#7 Posted by fisk0 (3849 posts) -

@zlimness said:

The Steam Machine is being marketed as an alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One. At least that's my take on it. A lot of people seem to be getting into PC gaming, but think it's too complicated to build their own PC and buying a branded computer is really expensive. We'll see if there's a market. I'm seeing a lot of hardware manufacturers jumping on this idea at least.

But as far as I know the early or cheap Steamboxes won't compete with PS4/XONE, they don't have powerful hardware and are primarily intended to stream content from another, more powerful PC in the household. It's more like the Vita TV.

#8 Posted by Davvyk (693 posts) -

@xyzygy:

There are still tons of people who want to get into PC gaming that don't want to build a PC.

I personally work with a few console gamers who have always asked me about PC gaming and on a couple of occasions have come close to getting me to build a gaming PC for them. A decently priced Steam Machine is going to push them over the edge and into PC gaming. It gives them what they want, aimed at a gamer, with the minimal amount of fuss.

I agree that building a gaming PC would likely be cheaper (although no massively so), its what i have always done, but some people are willing to pay a premium to get a product with the minimal amount of fuss.

I think there will be a market. My only concern is the different strata of machines available. With the different spec levels i can see some people being disappointed by performance in some of these machines. I understand why they exist though.

#9 Posted by bigjeffrey (4768 posts) -

for people with money who dont want a tower PC sitting in their entertainment center.

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#10 Posted by joshwent (2105 posts) -

Two people on an old 8-4 podcast I was just listening to said they'd love one. Their main reasons were that they have families, and don't wan't to be off in their office or whatever playing their PC games, and that they could get most multiplatform games for cheaper faster through Steam. They completely acknowledged that they could just connect a PC to their TV, or build their own mini PC for their living rooms, but the ease of getting an already built box that you can just plug in and go with sold them over the (relatively small) hassle of the other options.

You have to remember that most of the people posting here, who are confuses at the usefulness of these things are the extreme minority. People who are knowledgeable about games and downloading them through something like Steam, and who aren't completely overwhelmed at the prospect of building a custom PC. The majority of other folks just want to play games/stream media with as little work as possible, and these Steam Machines offers exactly that.

#11 Posted by fisk0 (3849 posts) -

@joshwent said:

You have to remember that most of the people posting here, who are confuses at the usefulness of these things are the extreme minority. People who are knowledgeable about games and downloading them through something like Steam, and who aren't completely overwhelmed at the prospect of building a custom PC. The majority of other folks just want to play games/stream media with as little work as possible, and these Steam Machines offers exactly that.

My issue with the Steam boxes, at least these first ones coming up is that they seem to be for the people that don't want to build their own PC, but actually aren't. I think most people who'll get one and aren't already long time experienced PC gamers will be sorely disappointed, because the Steam machines were made for streaming from an existing PC, not as an alternative to the gaming PC's or consoles.

#12 Edited by joshwent (2105 posts) -

@fisk0 said:

... the Steam machines were made for streaming from an existing PC, not as an alternative to the gaming PC's or consoles.

There are models that are pretty "low tech" that could be used for streaming primarily, but there are many others that are just straight up mini PCs. I see where you're coming from, but your point is sort of invalidated by the specs that just came out.

#13 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

no fucking clue, I like steam but this are redundant to say the least

#14 Posted by Whitestripes09 (399 posts) -

Some of the prices on these things are reaching pre-built gaming computer prices... I'm not really sure whose supposed to buy this thing. For a slightly higher price you could buy a bare bones Alienware and the additional costs would be keyboard, mouse, and a monitor if you need those things in the first place. If I had the decision to play PC games in my living room or replace my computer with an Alienware, I would probably just replace my computer for the price. Seems to me also that if you want a true entertainment room in your house you would probably go with a new console as well since it's cheaper and has more features than any of these steam machines.

#15 Posted by StarvingGamer (7985 posts) -

Anyone who would argue that Steam machines are nothing more than a cute venture by Steam is being obtuse by reflex. If you merely tri to think straight, you'll see that Valve is doing this for all the right reasons.

Isoceles.

#16 Posted by Kidavenger (3505 posts) -

4770k/780ti running linux in the livingroom...

Hopefully they sell these in Bestbuy so I can get the geeksquad over to set it all up for me.

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#17 Posted by Fattony12000 (7034 posts) -

360 degrees is the angle.

#18 Posted by AlexGBRO (273 posts) -

there is model with integrated graphics that might be the streaming one but also has a i7 chip and 1TB of storage

#19 Posted by Brodehouse (9576 posts) -

@fisk0: I sure hope they don't expect people to pay 499 and up to stream from their other, already expensive machine. That seems like a pretty hard sell.

#20 Posted by Veektarius (4582 posts) -

Yeah, I don't see anything on those specs that says 'streaming machine' to me. If a PS4 can provide a gaming experience nearly on par with a $1000 PC for $400 (that's probably at a loss, I don't know), I don't see how you need $500 to stream a game being run on that PC.

#21 Posted by Hailinel (23857 posts) -

@fisk0: Given that the Vita TV was a bomb, that's not an encouraging comparison.

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#22 Edited by GaspoweR (2793 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

I guess I just don't see the point of these things - why not just custom build a computer for way less than it's costing for a lot of these machines? Some of the cheaper Steam Machines don't run other OSes (or at least that's what I've gotten from it) whereas the more expensive ones that are $1000 and up, can run Windows. I just don't see that point - for a lot less expensive you can build your own PC and run Steam AND Windows AND games that aren't on Steam.

Do Steam Machines really have a market? I would assume that people who would be into this stuff would be more into having an all-in-one, customized machine like an actual PC. What's your take on them?

I think it has more with also expanding the market outside of just the niche PC market by trying to make a push for machines that are pre-built that are close to the price of current gen consoles while partnering with PC builders that could also offer higher end options. Essentially, I'd like to think that the SteamOS is for the hardware gaming space like Android is for the mobile space since it's pretty much open to everyone.

I think Valve down the line would also be making a streaming box but they are pushing the Steam Machine hardware as it is right now first just so they can have their introduction into the living room console market. Lastly, I think they built the SteamOS specifically to cut down costs on machines for potential buyers since you don't need to buy an OS (an additional $100) for your build and thus that money, for example, can go straight to buying a much better component.

#23 Edited by EXTomar (4491 posts) -

It is the same reason why people buy machines from Allenware/Dell: You get additional support and the convenience of not spending your time building and setting up.

These machines are not for everyone and neither is building a PC from scratch.

#24 Posted by Yesiamaduck (899 posts) -

@fisk0: I sure hope they don't expect people to pay 499 and up to stream from their other, already expensive machine. That seems like a pretty hard sell.

Might as well buy a netbook with an HDMI out and install Steam OS

#25 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

About 90 on each corner

#26 Edited by Scullinator (512 posts) -

Im interested in PC gaming but have never owned a computer nice enough to play the newer games. However I was turned off when I saw the controller. What do most people use when playing games on Steam? Keyboard and mouse? I have no interest playing games with mouse and keyboard. sorry

#27 Posted by xyzygy (9890 posts) -

About 90 on each corner

Alienware's Steam Machine has a cutoff wedge in the corner so...

#28 Posted by MarkM (288 posts) -
#29 Edited by UnderWaterTree1 (10 posts) -

They are trying to get console people on board the only thing is XB PS or Nintendo fans ether have a pc for games already or don't care about pc gaming. I don't think people with Gaming PCs are going to rush out to buy a Steambox day one

#30 Posted by Jayzilla (2555 posts) -

I don't think people understand how much better games will run on a linux OS than on Windows. The average consumer doesn't get how resource hungry Windows is. Once you play it, you will understand the draw. Also, throw in the fact you can have a dedicated Steam solution in the living room when Steam Sales hit. It's also a library that doesn't go away as easily as other platforms. Backwards compatibility stays around longer. The reasons just aren't that sexy to a dude just looking to get his COD on and have his little brother scream into his headset not stop while he does it.

#31 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4329 posts) -

Im interested in PC gaming but have never owned a computer nice enough to play the newer games. However I was turned off when I saw the controller. What do most people use when playing games on Steam? Keyboard and mouse? I have no interest playing games with mouse and keyboard. sorry

Sounds like you never heard of using a 360 controller with a PC before

#32 Edited by Zlimness (541 posts) -

@fisk0 said:

@zlimness said:

The Steam Machine is being marketed as an alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One. At least that's my take on it. A lot of people seem to be getting into PC gaming, but think it's too complicated to build their own PC and buying a branded computer is really expensive. We'll see if there's a market. I'm seeing a lot of hardware manufacturers jumping on this idea at least.

But as far as I know the early or cheap Steamboxes won't compete with PS4/XONE, they don't have powerful hardware and are primarily intended to stream content from another, more powerful PC in the household. It's more like the Vita TV.

Most of the Steam Machines announced are quite powerful actually. More powerful than a PS4. So it is very much a complete package. Maybe Valve hasn't communicated this well enough, but CES is happening right now, so maybe they'll announce so more news.

#33 Posted by xyzygy (9890 posts) -

@jayzilla said:

I don't think people understand how much better games will run on a linux OS than on Windows. The average consumer doesn't get how resource hungry Windows is. Once you play it, you will understand the draw. Also, throw in the fact you can have a dedicated Steam solution in the living room when Steam Sales hit. It's also a library that doesn't go away as easily as other platforms. Backwards compatibility stays around longer. The reasons just aren't that sexy to a dude just looking to get his COD on and have his little brother scream into his headset not stop while he does it.

I'm not one of those dudes, and I still don't really see the appeal (yet). I'm into japanese games mostly.

as for backwards compatibility, sure you can keep your Steam Library forever, but I can also keep my discs forever. As for the steam sales, I can't argue against that. But still, Steam sales are available on a PC that a gamer who loves games enough to go buy tons of games on sale would probably have. Sales aren't specific to Steamboxes.... UNLESS THEY WILL BE :O

#34 Posted by fisk0 (3849 posts) -

@zlimness said:

@fisk0 said:

@zlimness said:

The Steam Machine is being marketed as an alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One. At least that's my take on it. A lot of people seem to be getting into PC gaming, but think it's too complicated to build their own PC and buying a branded computer is really expensive. We'll see if there's a market. I'm seeing a lot of hardware manufacturers jumping on this idea at least.

But as far as I know the early or cheap Steamboxes won't compete with PS4/XONE, they don't have powerful hardware and are primarily intended to stream content from another, more powerful PC in the household. It's more like the Vita TV.

Most of the Steam Machines announced are quite powerful actually. More powerful than a PS4. So it is very much a complete package. Maybe Valve hasn't communicated this well enough, but CES is happening right now, so maybe they'll announce so more news.

Yeah, I had missed that they had just unveiled actual specs when I wrote that, I was basing my reply on what they had said previously. These machines do seem to be working gaming machines in themselves.

#35 Edited by wewantsthering (1550 posts) -

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

#36 Edited by TheManWithNoPlan (5207 posts) -

I guess they're Pc's for people who don't want or know how to build Pc's.

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#37 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@veektarius said:

Yeah, I don't see anything on those specs that says 'streaming machine' to me. If a PS4 can provide a gaming experience nearly on par with a $1000 PC for $400 (that's probably at a loss, I don't know), I don't see how you need $500 to stream a game being run on that PC.

yeah pretty much this + that ugly controller, that even before the fact they run on linux, like if you going to see a bunch of AAA games releasing in linux now right?. As for now I'm more prone to buy a wii-u than a steam box, but this is valve we talking about so it may be awesome in a few years, I can wait and see if that happen.

#38 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes most of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

#39 Posted by GnaTSoL (791 posts) -

Are the $500 machines powerful enough for their price point? Like are they even more powerful than the other consoles?

#40 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

@jayzilla said:

I don't think people understand how much better games will run on a linux OS than on Windows. The average consumer doesn't get how resource hungry Windows is. Once you play it, you will understand the draw. Also, throw in the fact you can have a dedicated Steam solution in the living room when Steam Sales hit. It's also a library that doesn't go away as easily as other platforms. Backwards compatibility stays around longer. The reasons just aren't that sexy to a dude just looking to get his COD on and have his little brother scream into his headset not stop while he does it.

Maybe Vista, but Windows 7 and 8 really aren't.

#41 Posted by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

Yeah, not convinced it has enough of a niche. People who really want to get into PC gaming but find good Windows PC's too expensive to buy ready-made or too complicated to build? That gets kicked in the head by the fact that you have to stream from PC in order to play non-Linux games, according to the SteamOS page. Sure, boot Windows inside Linux, maybe, but that's not a good people who want something simpler and cheaper, because the ones that come with that function pre-packaged will inevitably be more expensive, right?

If Linux were better supported I could see this maybe having a niche, though I'd never buy one. As is, is the target market for this really gonna be satisfied with vague claims that Linux will be better supported going forward, honest guys, we promise?

#42 Posted by Hunter5024 (5535 posts) -

I surely do not know. I kind of feel like the industry has its bases covered. If you want to play games without the hassle of a PC that's what consoles are for. If you care enough about games to recognize whatever advantages the PC offers in that department, then you're savvy enough to learn how to build one. After all I did it and I'm an idiot. It looks like some of the steam machines are slightly cheaper than building an actual PC, but they also come with less functionality, so it's not like they're offering an amazing deal or anything. I'm not saying that these things aren't good for anybody, but I think it's a pretty small group of people.

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#43 Posted by midnightsandwich (25 posts) -

Kurt Angle.

#44 Edited by VeggiesBro (117 posts) -

I dunno, I feel like the steam machines are meant to be a bridge between consoles and PC's. All while increasing the Linux market. Time will tell if they are successful, but prices aside, I know I am somewhat interested.

#45 Posted by wewantsthering (1550 posts) -

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes more of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

Their enterprise software is a completely different discussion. I'm talking about their consumer products. They already have a version of Windows called Windows RT that doesn't run normal (x86) Windows programs. Most experts seem to point to Microsoft gradually making the shift to their store over the next couple years.

#46 Posted by Andorski (5188 posts) -

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes more of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

Their enterprise software is a completely different discussion. I'm talking about their consumer products. They already have a version of Windows called Windows RT that doesn't run normal (x86) Windows programs. Most experts seem to point to Microsoft gradually making the shift to their store over the next couple years.

They don't even need to completely lock out third party programs (e.g. Steam) from the desktop. Have a system where DirectX games are required to be purchased through the Windows Store and Steam practically loses out on almost all full retail games.

#47 Posted by wewantsthering (1550 posts) -

@andorski said:

@wewantsthering said:

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes more of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

Their enterprise software is a completely different discussion. I'm talking about their consumer products. They already have a version of Windows called Windows RT that doesn't run normal (x86) Windows programs. Most experts seem to point to Microsoft gradually making the shift to their store over the next couple years.

They don't even need to completely lock out third party programs (e.g. Steam) from the desktop. Have a system where DirectX games are required to be purchased through the Windows Store and Steam practically loses out on almost all full retail games.

They aren't going to lock out third party programs. They are going to lock out competing platforms like Steam. They would want game publishers and devs to release their games on the Windows store so they get a cut of the sale vs Valve getting a cut as they do now.

#48 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@wewantsthering said:

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes more of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

Their enterprise software is a completely different discussion. I'm talking about their consumer products. They already have a version of Windows called Windows RT that doesn't run normal (x86) Windows programs. Most experts seem to point to Microsoft gradually making the shift to their store over the next couple years.

All of MS enterprise software runs on Windows, Windows is enterprise. Visual studio is enterprise, Big companies need custom solutions that run on windows, done with MS tools(visual studio). They made a store to stream line consumer apps(which arguably is a small business compared to its core business). As we speak they are releasing a new version of Visual studio, they are developing F# and a bunch of dev technology.

No analyst, No MS executive, No journalist, no one has said MS is closing the windows ecosystem... other than well Gabe, jeeez why would he said that? if no other to serve his company self-interest.

#49 Posted by wewantsthering (1550 posts) -

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

@donpixel said:

@wewantsthering said:

It's a long term play. Nobody should be buying any Steam machines now. Haha. They are preparing for the day when Microsoft goes all Apple and locks down Windows to only their Windows App Store.

Thats not going to happen MS makes more of his money out of enterprise licences, they know they can't do that. The whole MS is going apple store thing is Gabe playing their fans into paranoia, because hee valve fans.

Their enterprise software is a completely different discussion. I'm talking about their consumer products. They already have a version of Windows called Windows RT that doesn't run normal (x86) Windows programs. Most experts seem to point to Microsoft gradually making the shift to their store over the next couple years.

All of MS enterprise software runs on Windows, Windows is enterprise. Visual studio is enterprise, Big companies need custom solutions that run on windows, done with MS tools(visual studio). They made a store to stream line consumer apps(which arguably is a small business compared to its core business). As we speak they are releasing a new version of Visual studio, they are developing F# and a bunch of dev technology.

No analyst, No MS executive, No journalist, no one has said MS is closing the windows ecosystem... other than well Gabe, jeeez why would he said that? if no other to serve his company self-interest.

I'm saying that they are likely to splinter off traditional Windows and keep that around for enterprise. Visual Studio and all of their other development/business software will continue to function on that front (if they don't just roll it into their store). We have already seen them create a version of Windows (RT) that is their dreamland.

I have heard both analysts and journalists talk about Windows exclusively using the Windows App store to run apps on Windows. That's exactly what Windows RT is. MS is talking about it just how Apple is talking about how they will eventually only allow apps through it's Mac App store. Haha. They don't want to piss people off. If you slowly roll it out, nobody notices or cares.

Windows RT computers also happen to be some of the more affordable Windows computers. It seems pretty obvious that this is the way Microsoft is pushing in the consumer level field.

I'm not saying professional software will not be available on Windows. I'm saying the divide between consumer and professional OSs is going to be wider and the divide between mobile and desktops/laptops is shrinking. It's inevitable.

#50 Edited by AMyggen (2532 posts) -

Leaving aside the hardware, Steam OS has a lot to prove. Valve has to get every developer releasing games on Steam to make them playable in Linux from day 1. They're still miles away from that, and until they get there I don't care about this thing.

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