I think the main difference, at least the way I see it, is that consoles are generally closed platforms while PCs are the opposite. If this thing is real, and it only has the ability to run Steam and play Steam games, then I'd be inclined to agree with you and call it a console. If not, and it turns out it can run everything a PC can and just operate as a regular computer, then I'd just call it a PC.
Whatever the case, I can kind of see where this would fit in the market, but at the same time I'm not sure how big the demand for something like this is. The X51 costs $700, and if we assume that this is similar to that, then I don't see how it's going to appeal to the same audience of people that want their $200-$300 consoles. Then again, if it is just a regular PC in small form factor, people might think of it differently and find the price reasonable. I really don't know what to make of this rumor...
According to the article it'll run services like Origin as well, so I'm assuming it'll just be a pre-configured Windows platform with Steam as the front-end. Hopefully those costs will be subsidized by the software purchases (I think Valve gets a 30% cut from every game sold), since I can't imagine it competing with a price that high, you may as well custom build a PC.
I could call it console, why couldn't you? Sure, it's a computer but so are the "rest" of the video game systems. Microsoft, Sony and even Nintendo are somewhat backtracking their consoles back to the roots and trying to market them as more than a console (a multimedia device, if you will). They have apps, web browsers, streaming capabilities, etc. - stuff that doesn't fit to the traditional definition of a console. Valve is starting with a PC but the Steam Box going to be designed couch and TV in mind. Interface and other stuff is (probably) going to work fully with a controller. But I think you get my point. It's console based on a PC but it's still console first - that's what it's for.
It seems to me it's going to be a hybrid, or convergence point of consoles and PCs. Ideally it'll be user friendly and accessible enough to warrant wide appeal, but with the flexability and benefits of PC gaming (sales, mods, graphics, indie games, control options etc). Though according to the article this thing will only play PC games, so you could say it's just an accessible PC, but then we'd all be arguing semantics.
Campaign definitely. Over the course of the last four days I finished Gears 1, even the PC exclusive chapters (they were some of my favourites of the whole series so far, shame they didn't get ported) and then Gears 2 along with the DLC chapter. I'm frothing at the mouth to get back into the story.
Look at it this way. Railworks Simulator on Steam has over $1500 of DLC available. It might seem ridiculous until you realise the developers intend users to cherry pick what DLC they want and ignore the rest. This seems to be the same, you aren't meant to own everything, just the few that stand out to you. I know there will be a few completionists who will cringe at this, but I don't have a problem with missing out on some vanity items.
Gears 1 is still surprisingly fun, but that's probably because the last time I played a Gears game was in 2009 so everything feels fresh. I don't think I'll keep it up though, I want to play Hard Reset, Ico Collection, Trackmania 2, Red Orchestra 2 and of course Gears 3 during September, and killing time with Gear 1/2 will feel like a waste.
It is in the PC version, you just need to connect a 360 controller to it (everything is mapped automatically). The PC version has been cleaned up since the QL, it's very stable at the moment (at least for me) and comes with the usual benefits of a multiplatform PC game (AA, AF, screen and shadow resolution etc)
I found it for $33 on PC so I got that version. The 360 controller is implemented well, I haven't run into any bugs yet and it seems very stable. The visuals looked much sharper than the Quick Look of the 360 version (I edited some .ini settings to stop pop-in and up-res the shadows, makes a world of difference). Multiplayer is working last I check (a few hours ago). Factoring in everything I'd recommend that version.