So what's the angle of Steam Machines?

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#51 Edited by believer258 (11627 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@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.

I don't think you're wrong, but I think the Steam machine has shot itself in the foot by not having some sort of tiered system. A big problem with the intimidating complexity of PC's is knowing what each part is and what the naming conventions mean. They're still looking at a list of specs and don't know the first place they should look. It's definitely easier than building a PC yourself, and I don't doubt that some people will finally jump into PC gaming with a Steam box, but you still have to get on the internet and look up just what the hell a GTX 770 is or the difference between an i5 and an i7.

#52 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@tinygrasshopper: PC gaming is defined a lot by mouse / keyboard, you can't play DOTA 2, Sc2, LOL, Diablo with a controller, you can play console ports thou.. but then again why not getting a console then. I still wonder who is this thing for? Seems like such a niche product.

Then if you don't like the steam controller, you can put a xbox controller on it, and again.. what is the point? you can buy a cheap dell desktop with a decent vid card today, and do the same without limit yourself to the thing linux library.

#53 Posted by Hailinel (23853 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@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.

I don't think you're wrong, but I think the Steam machine has shot itself in the foot by not having some sort of tiered system. A big problem with the intimidating complexity of PC's is knowing what each part is and what the naming conventions mean. They're still looking at a list of specs and don't know the first place they should look. It's definitely easier than building a PC yourself, and I don't doubt that some people will finally jump into PC gaming with a Steam box, but you still have to get on the internet and look up just what the hell a GTX 770 is or the difference between an i5 and an i7.

This is really the biggest problem with Valve's approach right here. It seems that "Steam Box" is less a unified hardware guideline and more a PC of some shape and size capable of running SteamOS and that might come packaged with the Steam controller, and that is meant to hook up to a television rather than a PC monitor. And given that the prices range from an Xbox One-like $500 to an absolutely insane $6000(!), expecting a PC layman to understand what it is they want in a Steam Box, or what they'll get out of the Steam Box they find most appealing or affordable, is a questionable proposition. I understand Valve's desire to propagate SteamOS and create an ecosystem that can sustain it, but their approach seems misguided and based on the assumption that people will buy hardware that runs it because it's both Steam and an alternative to Windows. Not even they seem to have a clear picture of who Steam Box is for.

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#54 Edited by Grelik (142 posts) -

Seems like Steam Boxes will be just as confusing to the casual PC gamer as any of the many "prebuilt" options available now. All these different manufacturers building their own coupled with the fact that when Joe casual brings it home and now has to get his head around "streaming" all his steam games somehow because 1 in 30 games actually work natively in Linux... It will be a nightmare.

If, and only if this this doesn't completely crash and burn, Linux still has years to go before it will be remotely close to having the same support as windows.

The upside is with more competition for our money, we as the consumer will only benefit.

#55 Posted by PandaBear (1300 posts) -

I just get the feeling it'll be super niche and two or third party steam machines will survive. I guess to put it in perspective I only really play console/handheld games and would like a gaming PC as my current computer is a MacBook Pro (love that fucker) which I use only for work. But these Steam boxes hold zero appeal to me. A limited computer, no clear mouse and keyboard solution and none of the PC extras (as far as I know anyway, like PhotoShop, word processing, SkyDrive) doesn't appeal much.

I hope Valve do well. The Steam Store in the living room will give Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo the foot up the arse they need to have better sales.

#56 Edited by Hailinel (23853 posts) -

I hope Valve do well. The Steam Store in the living room will give Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo the foot up the arse they need to have better sales.

That's only if the Steam Box has traction comparable to any of the consoles, which, given the divisive nature of the hardware specs and prices, among numerous factors that remain unknown, is far from a given.

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#57 Edited by s10129107 (1179 posts) -

They wanna launch their software platform and need a way for people to adopt it. Each machine sold ensures one more software license being used. Hopefully on my next build i wont need to get a Windows key.

#58 Posted by futurstock (129 posts) -

i dont have 500$ laying around just for me to not have to get up and plug in an hdmi cable, unfortunately.
they seem to be pretty expensive, for linux?

#59 Posted by SSully (4125 posts) -

It's all about ease of use. My gaming PC is about 4 years old now and is mainly used to play DOTA 2, counter strike, and occasional indie titles on the PC. I have no use for the gaming PC besides games, and actually think a steam box could replace it in the future. I don't need a top of the line PC and some of the current steam boxes look like a great alternative to my PC.

#60 Posted by ChaosDent (234 posts) -

Valve wants to continue to grow the Steam audience and they want to insure themselves against potential changes that could threaten their current market position. The vague idea that Microsoft might someday discontinue win32 isn't the only threat to Steam or even the most imminent one. Being tied to the Windows ecosystem so tightly means that Steam is subject to the same downward sales trend that Microsoft is, consumer computing is moving away from Windows, and they aren't just moving over to Mac. Laptops are being supplanted by tablets as the dominant consumer computing technology, and even the laptop category itself is being eaten at from the inside by Chromebooks.

Core PC gamers are happy to continue to build or buy boutique Windows desktops, but I'm sure a pretty big fraction of Steam's 65 million users are only ever accessing their Steam accounts on traditional consumer laptops. According to the current Steam hardware survey numbers at least 20% of respondents are using a mobile branded or integrated GPU. This user base of more casual users on general consumer laptops is very much at risk by a migration to more locked down platforms where third party app stores are either impossible or at least a tough sell to users.

The Steam Machine project addresses these issues by expanding the ecosystem into a new form factor and using that expansion as a tool to grow their Linux platform user base. There are certainly challenges: the limited number of Linux compatible Steam games and the fact that the machines themselves literally are just PCs. The released specs indicate that the much sought streaming-only Steam Machine won't exist, but I think that's OK. This first wave of machines will be picked up almost exclusively by early adopters who will use them largely as a streaming-only Windows PC extension anyway or will see them as a new-console-like investment where the relatively limited catalog isn't damning. Either way each sale is another more or less fully capable Linux gaming PC that valve can tout to developers as a target. If events go their way they can create a virtuous feedback cycle where more Steam Machines prompt more high profile game ports which drives more machine sales.

It will be a slow burn even if it does work, but I'm sure from Valve's perspective it's better to start expanding their comfortable niche before some inevitable competitor (be it Windows, iOS or Android) eats away at their current niche.

#61 Posted by Fattony12000 (7032 posts) -
#62 Posted by crithon (3075 posts) -

it's suppose to be a disruptive element closer to the Android eco system. Even the controller isn't that necessary, but basically Gabe Newell is angry over how Microsoft handle Windows 8 with it's market place and now making an open platform to play games on.

But honestly, the first few years are gonna suck. Valve has shit launches on their own games, and their patching is pretty slow. Steam Big Picture mode hasn't been stable since it's launched.

#63 Edited by TinyGrasshopper (223 posts) -
#64 Posted by pinhead1 (6 posts) -

Trying to get PC Gaming to a bigger audience and help people who do not want to build their own pc

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