Valve: Linux, Big Picture to power ‘turnkey’ living room PCs

What do Steam’s new Big Picture mode and the Steam for Linux beta have in common? They’re both ingredients in what may become a new "turnkey" platform for gaming in the living room.

Valve head honcho Gabe Newell spilled the beans in an interview with Kotaku on Saturday. Paraphrasing Newell’s responses, Kotaku says the Valve founder "expects companies to start selling PC packages for living rooms next year." Those packages would be designed to connect to a TV, and they’d run Steam in Big Picture mode on top of Linux right out of the box.

Newell made no secret of the fact that Valve will offer its own hardware. Valve’s product will offer a "very controlled environment," he said, but other companies will apparently be free to jump in with competing offerings. "We’ll do it but we also think other people will as well," he noted.

In related news, OMG! Ubuntu reports that Valve has been quietly adding Linux system requirements to game listings on the Steam store. I think those have been pulled, though. The screenshot in the story shows Linux system requirements for Dynamite Jack, but the current listing for the title only has Windows and Mac requirements. Hmm.

In any case, these are some exciting—and somewhat unexpected—developments for PC gaming. The idea of having a single, open platform serve the needs of both PC and console gamers sounds appealing, no question about it. However, I think Valve faces an uphill battle getting major game publishers to invest in Linux ports of their PC blockbusters. A Steam console would be of limited value if it only ran Valve games and low-budget indie titles.

Comments closed
    • Goofus Maximus
    • 7 years ago

    Heh. Steambox would be a great nook for the NUC…

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    While I’m all for a “Steam Box” I just don’t see how they can port the valve library to ubuntu.

    • moose17145
    • 7 years ago

    Been tinkering around with Linux Mint… gotta give it credit… it’s pretty easy to use, even for a novice to linux. I could very well see a well designed linux distro like Mint giving MS a good run for their money. That being said, companies like Valve helping push Linux (in my mind) can only be a good thing. Competition stirs innovation.

    • shaq_mobile
    • 7 years ago

    When I demoed the Big Picture, I did appreciate the layout and graphics. Seems pleasant. If they can get it to library and view videos in conjunction with codec packs (does it already?) then I’d definitely need to build a HTPC for it.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    I would far more prefer that Valve announce/publish “SteamBox” specs each year, than create something that is supposed to last for 6-7 years like a console generation, and maybe even a SteamBox Pro (ew, this is why I’m not in marketing) that has better specs. Something like..

    SteamBox 2013: Core i3, GeForce GTX 650Ti, 4GB of RAM, 120GB SSD, Ubuntu 12.10
    SteamBox Pro 2013: Core i5, GeForce GTX 660Ti, 8GB of RAM, 240/256GB SSD, Ubuntu 12.10

    That’s probably overkill for 1080p, so maybe the video cards would drop the Ti suffix and go for “vanilla” 650 and 660, but you get the idea.

    And then in January of 2014, let’s do it all again.

    Then games could have “recommended requirements” that include Steambox specs. Games could have a minimum of whatever the publisher sets, but you could do “recommended: SteamBox 2013” to make it easy on people.

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Steam for Mac, Steam for Linux, Portal 2, CS: GO. I think Valve’s going to release a port of Super Mario World before they release Half-Life 3.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Can you think of a better way to launch a new console? Half-Life 3 and console released together.

        • MrJP
        • 7 years ago

        I thought they were planning to release the console sometime soon…

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        Ah, I see. Nothing screams “customer service” like “remember that product you’ve been waiting for? It’s yours for $60…plus the low, low cost of $1,000 for a new HTPC branded by Valve.”

    • Pegasus
    • 7 years ago

    So this is going to look just like the modded case @ valve, right?

    It would work out great if you could pick your choice of OS on boot. Their console OS or one you installed as a secondary. It would be great if you had free rein installing 3rd party programs on their OS as well. But I could understand if they locked it down to limit just how things were installed within their OS for the sake of being a “console”.

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    So Valve’s solution to consoleification of the PC industry is to…make a console?

    Thank God for you GabeN.

    • bthylafh
    • 7 years ago

    So I’ve gotten Steam installed in a Mint VM, which was reasonably easy – mainly had to install ia32-libs because it’s a 64-bit OS and they don’t have a 64-bit version of Steam yet.

    I have these games available that I own:

    And Yet It Moves
    Braid
    Cogs
    Frozen Synapse
    FTL: Faster Than Light
    LIMBO
    Osmos
    Psychonauts
    Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45
    Serious Sam 3: BFE
    Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
    Team Fortress 2
    Team Fortress 2 Beta
    Trine 2
    VVVVVV
    World of Goo

    Most of those came from a Humble Indie Bundle or another, but some of them are strictly commercial releases. I have to say I’m surprised to see RO:O on there but none of the other Unreal Engine-powered games that I own, and I don’t see Left 4 Dead 2 on there, which ISTR was available to at least some Linux testers.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] I don't see Left 4 Dead 2 on there, which ISTR was available to at least some Linux testers.[/quote<] That hasn't been opened up yet to any of the beta testers. All the beta testing on that so far has been internal only.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    “A Steam console would be of limited value if it only ran Valve games and low-budget indie titles.”

    That. And that fact that their big title games are already on other consoles. Why buy another one?

      • Ethyriel
      • 7 years ago

      Because it will hopefully be cost competitive device that’s an open enough platform to upgrade at your own pace, in order to play newer games at higher settings, without dropping $1000 on a new gaming PC every couple years. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are about three years overdo for upgrades, yet the cost of keeping up with PC gaming can be out of hand.

      I for one would love to spend $400 every two years to get a console that can play newer games, yet still have full backward compatibility and 100% digital distribution. I think the key for Valve will be, outside of building a sizable Linux library, is having a fine grained index of different games performing at different levels of their hardware specification. I’m thinking every two years they should release three specifications that hardware vendors can build to: $200 with a target of arcade games, $400 with a target of RPG’s and older shooters, and $600 with a target for the newest, shiniest shooters.

      Games should be automatically configured for performance on the console’s class of hardware, with an option for overriding the settings.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        I’m still gaming on a Radeon 4850.

        I can’t turn every setting up to 11, but I can play at 1920×1200 with settings on high for most games.

        • albundy
        • 7 years ago

        I’d love to see direct competitors just freely give valve a larger piece of the pie, but that’s just NEVER going to happen. what’s stopping EA and Ubisoft from making their own hardware then? I just dont see it.

        • Arag0n
        • 7 years ago

        Actually it can have the opposite effect and make games be designed for the Steam box as common low denominator, so PC games quality decrease significantly. Specially given that it will run on Linux using OpenGL instead of DirectX and OpenGL support isn’t as good as DirectX for GPU drivers.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          Every single cross platform game already runs on both Direct X and OpenGL Ex, so this changes nothing.

            • EtherealN
            • 7 years ago

            This sounds wrong, got some sources?

            Most cross-platform games seem to be using OpenGL. (You don’t need DirectX to run on windows.) Though admittedly I don’t play all that many “AAA-games” nowadays, so it’s quite possible I’ve missed a lot of them.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Xbox needs Direct X, PS3 needs OpenGL EX.

            • EtherealN
            • 7 years ago

            Ah, right, thanks. Then it makes sense. So long since I bothered with consoles I completely forgot about that. Oops. Guess it shows that I’ve returned to being a pretty much 100% PC gamer (aside from my android devices), I totally understood “cross-platform” as “multiple OS” (Win/Mac/Linux) and didn’t even think about Xbox and PS3. The shame…

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        You can do this on a PC and it’s using PC parts so it’s going to either cost the same as building your own PC with the same parts +15% overhead, or drastically more.

        If you’re spending $1000 on a new computer every 2-3 years you’re doing it wrong.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Because Valve hopes to encourage developers to cross-develop for Linux and Windows at the same time in order to enable them to hit the Steam Box audience in addition to standard PC gamers. I’d bet against them, but Steam has become quite the moneymaker for quite a few publishers and it’s not hard to imagine a few (ie., THQ, Activision) trying the whole thing out to see what it amounts to.

      And theoretically, assuming the GPU drivers are up to snuff, it shouldn’t be that hard to get a PC game working on Linux as well as Windows. Especially if Valve does the heavy lifting in the beginning as a proof of concept.

        • EtherealN
        • 7 years ago

        Well, the big problem I’d expect would be not just drivers, but most specifically that most PC developers are heavily invested in DirectX.

        But if Valve decides to reinforce it’s position through implementing something Cedega-style right inside the Linux Steam client, and thus be able to make this transition a lot easier for the publishers and developers… Then it could get really interesting. I just don’t know how feasible this would be.

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    As a PC gamer I welcome this.

    • revparadigm
    • 7 years ago

    A upgradable pc gaming “console” running on Linux.

    I can see hackers drooling already.

      • fr500
      • 7 years ago

      Just have to say, dedicated servers and moderated servers…

      Last time I played a shooter on XBOX360 I was very, very, very annoyed. On PC most of the time I know where I’m playing and who I am playing against.
      Proprietary platforms aren’t any better

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    OMG GUIZE? POST MUCH?!

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS, BUT THAT’S OKAY BECAUSE WE KNOW YOU’RE THERE.

      AND WE MIGHT AS WELL PLUG YOUR WELL AGAIN: [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=85163[/url<]

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        Thanks guy! <3

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    So I understand Valve is going to make a killing off of this, but why would I as a PC gamer want to buy a console that pretends to be a PC? This isn’t a PC, although Valve is going to market the shit out of it as that. This isn’t increasing customer awareness by telling them what their computer can or can’t run. This wont have adaptive and ever increasing hardware. There is really NO benefit to buying one of these except to fit the trend.

    If it can run on a steambox, it can run in windows. With big mode you can have the same experience simply by buying a Xbox PC controller and hooking your PC up to your living room TV. I am personally ashamed and devastated by the direction Valve is taking with this. PCs were the last bastion for gamers wanting more then the watered down console experience and now Valve is going in to fuck that up too. There will no longer be a better version for the PC, there will be a better version for the PC (aka Steambox), which will be nothing more then another watered down PC wannabe in a year or two… let alone when it’s going on seven. The PC moniker is going to mean nothing more then the Steambox in the future.

    Screw Valve for killing the one last arena for PC gamers. Hardware baselines are killing the gaming industry and encourage nothing more then regurgitations of CoD23. I thoroughly hope developers don’t develop for this and it dies before it gets off the ground (I doubt it though).

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      Ok, then don’t buy one. This is clearly for people who aren’t comfortable building their own PC.

      The rest of your post is just paranoid ramblings.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Bensam123 has a new anti-Valve vendetta for some reason. I think it’s because Nvidia worked on improved drivers in Linux. Since Bensam123 is a huge AMD fanboy, his response is not to say that AMD should also improve its own Linux GPU drivers, but to accuse everyone else of being in an evil anti-AMD conspiracy.

        The irony is that Trinity would be an excellent platform for Valve to work with for a game-console type system, the problem is that AMD needs to step up the driver support in a big way under Linux to really provide great support. They sure could do that, but Bensam123 prefers a conspiracy to actual improvements any day of the week.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          If you want to know my reasons read the post you silly goose!

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        You don’t need to build your own PC to purchase one to hook up to a TV! A dell can do this. My neighbor that is in his 60s figure out how to do it to watch Netflix and he’s not all that tech savy at all. It wouldn’t be hard for Valve to make videos or even a Wizard to help people do this. They already do it with driver updates.

        Instead of insulting my post why don’t you actually make counter-points? I assume you read it, right? Chuckula on the other hand doesn’t seem to read anymore then two randomly selected half sentences before writing a post. In this case I’m pretty sure he didn’t read any part of my post before making a reply.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          Steam has big picture mode, so they already have what you’re asking for.

          The difference here is that your average Dell does not have an acceptable GPU, while ostensibly a steam box should.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            It doesn’t? I’m pretty certain you can equip a dell with better graphics then integrated.

            Big picture mode doesn’t show you how to hook up your PC to your TV or function as a wizard for that matter. It also doesn’t tell you how a game would perform on your hardware, offer upgrade advice, or if it will even run at all. That’s what they’re advertising with the Steambox, only they can do that already in software for PC gamers.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]If it can run on a steambox, it can run in windows[/quote<] I can't see what you're objecting to. This is the essence of what's great about this route. You can't play an Xbox game on anything except an Xbox. With this platform, there will be a choice, buy the official kit, buy a 3rd party one, or just build your own. If this encourages developers to focus more on PC development, and leave it as less of an afterthought to the underpowered console platforms, how can it possibly be a bad thing for the PC games industry? Just because there will be a target specification to optimize a game for doesn't mean that games will be developed for that spec alone. Seems to me that PC development will carry on much the same as it always has, with steambox being one spec amongst many to cater for. The difference will be that the PC might actually start to be considered a primary platform again, so steambox will encourage more PC-specific game engine and content design. As opposed to the way it is now, where engine features and content are built for consoles, and at best get hacked for a bit of extra detail when it comes to a PC conversion. Extra detail that the game engine was never really designed for. I really can't see Valve's plans hurting the PC as a games platform.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I’m objecting to Valve putting a ‘baseline’ on PC gaming, when what makes PC gaming different from consoles is that it doesn’t have a baseline. I’m afraid that will lead to two different levels. Games will be henceforth made for ‘consoles’ and for the ‘steambox’, which are two different baselines and two easy to use targets for developers. So +PC or whatever will simply mean it has better graphics for a better console, AKA the steambox.

        This isn’t PC development, this is another console, a faster console, wearing the PC moniker. Hopefully it will die before it ever gets on it’s feet because I value the diversity in PC gaming far too much to have it sterilized and homogenized like consoles.

        The PC market IS becoming a primary platform again, without the steamboxes help. Right when we’re start to break out of the decade long lethargy of consoles Valve is trying to corral us back into a new one with our steambox overlord. Consoles are about to be completely obsolete, with Valves help they could’ve very easily done it by helping users in their living room and by making gaming much easier for the common joe. Intead they went the opposite direction with it.

        There are PC specific games… NS2 for instance. There are a lot of them starting to pop up. Console>PC ports may have been the norm, but that’s definitely starting to change… just like it used to be, just the way it should be.

    • Malphas
    • 7 years ago

    It’s still fairly useless until streaming is viable as the final ingredient to piece this all together. Contrary to the deluded opinions of Linux fanboys, most developers simply will not support Linux, and even Valve don’t have the clout to change that, so until streaming games is practical any kind of “Steam Box” will need to run on Windows, have a technically/legally dubious compatibility layer or be limited to a small selection of mostly Valve, indie and older titles only.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      What does streaming data have to do with ANY platform support?

        • Malphas
        • 7 years ago

        Because streaming games can be fairly platform agnostic and only requires a single working Linux client (which Valve would provide obviously), not multiple game engines that run on Linux. I should have thought that was rather obvious.

          • superjawes
          • 7 years ago

          Streaming data is just a constant flow (of data). “Streaming games” means that you constantly have a flow of data to your console to play the game. Unless you mean “digital distribution,” “streaming” data will have virtually no effect on Linux adoption.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Are you being deliberately obtuse? I don’t mean digital distribution, I mean what I said – streaming games, exactly as you described it, which already exists via services like OnLive. It would allow Valve to provide games to their platform via a Linux client regardless of the hardware the actual game was intended for, as it wouldn’t run on local hardware but would instead be streamed via the Internet. The only issue is latency, which is why I said it has yet to become viable in the mainstream.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Fine, then your point is completely invalid because streaming games will never catch on for ANY platform.

            A service like OnLive going out of business presents more problems than when/if Valve goes out of business and cannot support Steam any more (games gone forever, not just requiring an offline patch).

            And even then, it presents the same issue as cloud computing, putting your data in the hands of someone else.

            You also have to consider that one of the benefits of PC gaming is spending what you want on hardware to get desired outputs (eye candy).

            On top of all that, Diablo III pointed out just how angry players can get when trying to connect to an authentication server just to play a single player game. Now imagine if a hiccup on OnLive servers disconnected everyone, and then everyone was trying to stream [i<]the entire game[/i<] all at once. Streaming games presents more problems then it solves.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Those arguments all seem to be personal reasons for disliking cloud services in general, rather than any technical and logical reasons for why streaming games will fail in the long term. Games are already increasingly requiring always-on Internet connections, and as much as gamers complain people still buy those games regardless, I can’t see why cloud gaming, with its inevitable outages and occasional technical mishaps will be any different.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            You still have offline options with a service like Steam, and if we are to believe Ubisoft, they are backing off their always-on DRM because it has failed so miserably (and they’ve taken several PR hits over it). Other games get away with things like always-on by cloud storing saves for characters, offering unified friends lists, and overall being a service more than a police force.

            But the thing is, streaming and processing things server-side requires a lot more than just an authentication. You can have a crappy latency on authentication and still have a perfect gameplay experience. I think WoW even maintains two connections: one to authentication and one to server (realm). Losing a connection to the server when the server is actually running your game is more problematic.

            Of course, you did point out one of the technical issues with streaming games at all: bandwidth. The increases in BW in the US are mostly to accomodate video services, not games. But for streaming games, you also have to tackle the issue of providing enough horsepower to run the games for each client (that’s in addition to getting the game data to your client). That offloads a lot of the requirements of the end user back onto the publisher/developer/etc.

            tl;dr, the server-client relationship is a more powerful tool than game streaming.

            EDIT: this may just be my opinion or prediction (which colors my perception of this matter), but “always-on” DRM is going to become much more service based like Steam. Yes, it provides publishers with a tool to protect their copyrights, but at the same time, it gives more power, protection, and utility to the players, resulting in a healthier relationship than companies/programs that take almost ALL the power from the players.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            I think you’re overestimating how much the general public cares about these issues. In any case, I’m not here advocating cloud gaming, I’m saying that’s the only way a Steam Linux box could succeed because all the alternatives (compatibility layer, getting developers to write games for Linux, or a limited selection) are all fraught with even more problems.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            I’m really not overestimating anything. Bandwidth needs to go up (and video services will help drive that), but in order to handle a major part of the gaming market through streaming, you will also need to increase your server capabilities. That’s not something the general public would care about so much as something the provider would have to shell out cash for. Actually, if you combine investment capital with consumer skepticism (which is bound to happen), you make it even less likely that it will happen at all.

            Linux gaming development is something much simpler, and actually is tied to what consumers want. All you really need is the Linux community (and major developers) to choose a disto or base OS requirements that will be the gaming gold standard. Think Android’s success in the mobile market. Once everyone agrees on the basics, you pitch it to consumers to use.

            Actually, this could be made easier if Valve were to release their own console (or just a Steam OS based on Linux). That actually provides a fully functional system/system+service that’s ready to go.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “All you really need is the Linux community (and major developers) to choose a disto or base OS requirements that will be the gaming gold standard.”

            Will never happen in a million years. If Valve were to create an entirely new Linux-based OS like Google did with Android, then fair enough, but getting that off the ground would also be extremely difficult. On the other hand publishers have a vested interest in cloud gaming (which is why they’re pouring so much investment into it) because it allows them to sell it as a subscription service rather than having to sell individual titles. They don’t care about what consumers want, it’s about what will generate the most revenue.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            While the details differ, Direct3D and OpenGL both solve the same problems and provide similar capabilities. If the major game engines do Linux ports, then any developers who use those engines don’t need to re-learn everything since the game engine will handle a lot of the differences for them.

            • stupido
            • 7 years ago

            what about rendering in your scenario? you’ll still need a device that renders the graphics locally…

            or you mean something like watching animation movie where you control the character?

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]what about rendering in your scenario? you'll still need a device that renders the graphics locally...[/quote<]I actually had forgetten about that...you could minimize it in some ways, but you would still need fast rendering because the game will already be on a delay from the server, and too much of a delay in getting information to the user will destroy the experience. Video streaming gets away with this by sending several seconds of video ahead of what you are actually watching. Can't actually do that with something interactive...

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            It’s not “my scenario”, it’s an existing format that’s emerging. You don’t need a device that renders the graphics locally. I don’t think you understand how services like OnLive, Gaikai, CoreOnline, etc. already work.

            • stupido
            • 7 years ago

            I know that it is not “your” scenario… I just badly formulated my question…
            and indeed I don’t understand those services, since I never used them or even looked at. But I’ll fix that…
            In the meantime, feel free to explain them me if you feeling so… ๐Ÿ™‚

            • GrimDanfango
            • 7 years ago

            I would suggest the speed of light is a big limiting factor in streaming games actually taking off. The latency you talk about doesn’t seem likely to go away.
            The fastest ping I consistently get on my 100Mb fiber-optic connection is about 15ms, and that’s the round trip to my nearest speedtest.net server. That’s almost bearable on its own, but add that to the fact that you’ve got the latency of input, the latency of the frame rendering on a remote machine, the latency of that frame being compressed for transmission, the latency of receiving it, decoding it, and sending it to the screen and the latency of the monitor.
            That’s the absolute best case scenario unless something absolutely fundamental changes about how the internet works, and it still would make playing anything remotely action-based feel like you’re moving through mud – shooters, racing games, 3rd-person action games… y’know, what most of the world likes to play.
            That’s the case where there’s a stupidly expensive high performance game-streaming data-center within 50 miles of everyone’s house, which would require thousands upon thousands carpeting the world in order to provide a consistent service to everyone, and it also assumes everyone moves over to fiber-optic soon.

            I’m not saying it will never take off, but I do think it’s at least a decade or two and some serious infrastructure building away at this point.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            I didn’t say it was happening any time soon either. I’d question whether you’ve actually tried a cloud gaming service though. I have out of curiosity, and to my surprise it did actually work. If it was to take off it’s possible developers would make the games less latency sensitive. You might question that, but similar things have happened before, for example people said shooters would never work on consoles controllers and they were sort-of right, however what happened was developers dumbed down the games so they would, by introducing assisted aim and cover. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but it happens, so it’s easily possible similar mechanics could be introduced that compensate for latency issues.

            • GrimDanfango
            • 7 years ago

            Fair point, it sounds horrible, but you’re right, it’s certainly happened already for consoles.

            I wonder about the Linux thing. Gabe talking about their hardware being a very controlled environment – I wonder if down the line, they tailor their own branch of Linux to be used solely as a gaming platform. I think that could start to create inroads into convincing developers to support it. Few developers support Linux at the moment due to it basically being a completely impossible platform to truly support. Games need consistent support, and Linux is such a complex, ever-changing, multi-headed beast, that any consistent commercial support goes out the window.
            If Valve mean to tailor their own Linux distribution, and can make it a solid and dependable target platform, developers might start getting on board.

            Of course, Linux purists would cry blue murder ๐Ÿ˜›

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            The Linux fanboys will get over it. After all, Android has been pretty successful. Valve could do the same thing to create a GamingOS. The only real issue I see (if you want to keep it a PC-based platform) is that you will need people like Nvidia and AMD to support drivers, but I’m sure they could convince one of them keep drivers up to date, and the other will follow.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Nvidia, AMD and intel have already been working a lot with Valve in regards to their drivers.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Latency issues aside, I can think of another reason why cloud-based just isn’t practical for shooters: computational load of the rendering process. To provide a comparable user experience to local rendering, the cloud service would need to provide the equivalent of a fairly powerful GPU for each user. That’s exactly the sort of thing you *need* to push out to the user’s end, since that means it scales automatically as the number of players goes up.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            That’s not really an issue though. You think there’s no computational load for all the other things people do online? Gaming isn’t really any different. You don’t need the equivalent of a GPU per user, you need adequate processing capability for the amount of users using the service at any given time, there’s nothing new or difficult about that, it’s the same thing that every web hosting provider or company like Google or Amazon already does. Not to mention that a single company buying hardware in bulk to be used by only a proportion of the userbase at a given time is massively cheaper than each user buying their own dedicated GPU at retail pricing.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]You don't need the equivalent of a GPU per user, you need adequate processing capability for the amount of users using the service at any given time[/quote<] So you're saying that they just need the equivalent of a GPU, just the equivalent processing power of said GPU... That aside, web hosting is a different task from actually running a game. Web hosting all comes down to storage and I/O performance. Gaming requires computations. Moving said computations to the cloud doesn't make them go away, it just shifts where those computations are made. Cloud gaming's major disadvantage here is that you have to predict how much power you need BEFORE your servers are under load. The status quo allows the total computational power to vary by leaving most of that work client-side, so as more people want to play, they provide their own computational power.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            ” So you’re saying that they just need the equivalent of a GPU, just the equivalent processing power of said GPU…”

            You don’t seem to have comprehended where I made the distinction between per user, and per user using the service… Again having to predict how much power you need in advance is no different from other web services, you use the data you have to make as realistic a prediction as possible while leaving a degree of headroom and then hope for the best, occasionally you have outages, but that’s life.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            “You don’t seem to have comprehended where I made the distinction between per user, and per user using the service…”

            That’s the same thing. Like I said before, the computations still have to be made. Cloud gaming only changes where those computations happen (which means you need the equivalent power of your end users on the server-side to handle computations).

            But no, this is still not like web hosting. Like I said, web hosting is just data management, not computational power. Your predictions come down to overall storage space, or how many hard drives you pack into the server, and bandwidth. Cloud gaming requires less on the storage space, but still has bandwidth requirements AND computational requirements. You can help your web hosting situation by adding more hard drives. Getting more computational power requires more or faster CPUs and RAM.

            As an added bonus, you can throttle your storage use by setting user limits. Unless you limit how many users can use a game at once, you’ll have to stay well ahead of usage. And if you do limit how much users can play, goo luck getting them to pay (sorry for the rhyme).

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “That’s the same thing.”

            Sigh. No it’s not. e.g. If you have 100 total users, you don’t need the computational equivalent of 100 GPUs. You might only need the equivalent of 60 if you determine that as your peak load (on a weekend evening for instance).

            ” Like I said, web hosting is just data management, not computational power.”

            Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong. I don’t even know where to start with this. You realise you’re using forum software right now, right? You realise that requires computational power for the various database queries etc. nevermind more demanding applications like webapps, HTML5, etc.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            I’m wrong? JBI already argued against your point. Maybe you can minimize overall need, but you’re not going to see 40% improvement by offloading client computations to the server. At the same time, however, one of the appeals of cloud gaming would be getting better performance than you would on your current machine, meaning that your server could still exceed the load the client would render on his own.

            And no, I am not wrong about databases. There are computations going on, but nothing on the level of an added GPU per user. Again, JBI pointed out that such applications spend a lot of time idle. In fact, the server will do nothing about this comment I am posting until I submit it, in which case it handles a package of data and then goes back to being idle. Gaming is NEVER idle, so every extra user increases the load significantly.

            EDIT: to be clear, non-gaming cloud applications sit idle, a luxury that gaming applications cannot afford.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            ” Maybe you can minimize overall need, but you’re not going to see 40% improvement by offloading client computations to the server.”

            Not to be a dick, but are you an aspie or something, you’ve been severely obtuse repeatedly this entire thread. The 40% example reduction I mentioned is because you’re never going to have 100% of your users all using your service at the same time, a point I’ve tried to make repeatedly now but you never seem able to grasp. It’s just a side note anyway, but you were originalyl trying to state you’d need to match ever user GPU for GPU, when obviously this isn’t the case. It would be like a restaurant owner saying he has to have enough tables in his premises to accommodate every single one of his customers at the same time, which would obviously be batshit.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Your restaurant analogy does not work because people are fine waiting (even though a smart owner would expand if he had too many people waiting). Gamers are not so patient, especially when they have already paid for a service. You can’t just set up hardware and say, “well, we can only accomodate XXX users at a time.” If someone is paying a subscription, they are going to want to use it on THEIR time. No, you don’t need 100%, but you DO need enough power to meet your peak loads and then some just for redundancy.

            So even if you see a reduction, it won’t be anywhere near 40%, and that hardware is going to carry a hefty premium.

            This entire thread is you trying (and failing) to make the point that cloud gaming is or could be viable. The point I am trying to make is that the logistics of shifting the market to cloud gaming is unrealistic. You might get a (very) small community who enjoys it, but it will never replace client run games on a large scale.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]a smart owner would expand if he had too many people waiting[/quote<] This is not quite true. It really depends what kind of restaurant it is, if it's a fancy kind where you go there to eat what the main chef has designed, you can only get so big. Also, people are irrational and can see a waiting period as a sign that the restaurant must be great if so many people are willing to wait.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            True. I mainly thought of something like a pizza joint, where if you had waits longer than an hour and people traveling across town, you WOULD open another location to serve more people.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “This entire thread is you trying (and failing) to make the point that cloud gaming is or could be viable.”

            Not really, my actual point was it’s the only way a Steam Linux box would work. It was actually as aside that got sidetracked by people like you missing the point. What I’ve been saying is that games being ported to Linux on a widespread scale is just a Linux-fanboy’s wet dream, not something that will actually ever happen.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            And again, your are wrong. There are other ways to make a Steam Linux box work. It’s just an addition that cloud gaming would never make Linux gaming (general) catch on because cloud gaming will never catch on.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “There are other ways to make a Steam Linux box work”

            Like what? Like the ways I already mentioned as unworkable alternatives?

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Basically. Just because YOU think they’re unworkable doesn’t mean that they ARE unworkable.

            Just let Valve take the Android approach. They can tailor their own specific GamingLinux and you have a working Steam Linux box. Getting it to catch on is another task, but far simpler than making cloud gaming work.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Again, this is just deluded Linux/Valve fanboy nonsense if you think Linux gaming will actually take off. I fail to see why you find Cloud gaming (which I’m not trying to say is going to be a huge success anyway, only that it’s the only potential way this will work) is so far more far-fetched considering it [i<]already exists[/i<] and has a small, sustainable niche already.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Simple. As cloud gaming grows, so does the server-side investments. That not only gets expensive, but starts to create computational problems that really have no workaround, meaning that you will have to invest a LOT more in order to handle the added capacity. Niche it is and niche it shall forever be.

            EDIT: also add to the fact that if your subcriber base falls off, then you have more hardware than you need, resulting in poor return on investment, etc. Cloud gaming doesn’t even work from a business perspective.

            I also never said Linux gaming would “take off,” but rather setting up a Steam Linux box would be far simpler, cheaper, and more viable than cloud gaming. If it’s done right, a Linux distro specifically tailored for gaming could do well and even support a product like a Steambox.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “As cloud gaming grows, so does the server-side investments. ”

            As does revenue, thus negating the issue of it being more expensive. The computational problems actually become less as fluctuations in a large userbase are smaller (in relative, not absolute terms, obviously) and more predictable than those in a small userbase.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            But if your user base drops off at all (even just a little), your investment is negated and you’re powering more hardware than you need. Any investment you make must have a reliable return, and a floating userbase makes it very difficult make that investment work.

            More importantly, compare this to the current system. As new users hop into a system like Steam, they bring their own hardware. So even if you have Team Fortress 2 running on a server, a lot of the work is still done on each individual client. More players has less of an impact on the server even though the total computational need goes up dramatically (which is counteracted by the new player bringing their own hardware).

            The return on investment of the current system is much better, if only more reliable than a cloud system. That’s even considering the fact that cloud carries a subscription. But if that weren’t enough…you can still do a subscriber system without cloud gaming. Valve could offer a Steam+ subscription allowing limited access to several games. So in the end, what benefit does cloud gaming have at all?

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            “So in the end, what benefit does cloud gaming have at all?”

            Well the obvious one is it running on a thin client on multiple platforms.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Or you can do something similar, but make the client run the game. Now you’ve eliminated the increased server cost cloud gaming requires and you’ve still got people on a subscription. And it doesn’t even matter if you lose a ton of subscribers because you never had to shoulder any additional cost in the first place.

            No benefit.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Even if 500 people pile into the forums at once, they still need only one forum server because:

            A) Each user only needs a small fraction of the server’s capabilities, for a few milliseconds at a time;

            -and-

            B) there’s no requirement for real-time responsiveness; if there’s a half-second hiccup delivering a forum pages to users, nobody cares (if they even notice). But a half second delay rendering a frame in a FPS game is unacceptable.

            You’re comparing apples and oranges.

            Furthermore, most web apps (and HTML5!) rely on the user’s browser shouldering the majority of the rendering burden. And that’s 2D!

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue.

            The cloud paradigm works because typical cloud applications only make light demands of the server and/or do so only intermittently. Streaming an audio or video file does not make heavy demands on the server, it’s just moving precomputed bits from a hard drive to the network. Cloud-based office apps sit idle 99% of the time waiting for the user to press keys or click the mouse. Even 2D cloud-based games rely on the Flash player in the user’s web browser to render the frames. This allows the cloud provider to amortize the cost of the hardware across hundreds or thousands of users.

            A 3D shooter OTOH, is continuously rendering a complex 3D scene, 60 times a second. Computationally this is many orders of magnitude more demanding than the types of services we typically run “in the cloud”.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, it’s more demanding. That’s the only distinction, it’s not rocket science to do the maths and determine whether it’s feasible or not (which it clearly is given the growing interest and services available). What point is it you’re trying to make? That it’s not feasible (despite the fact these services already exist)? That’s it’s too expensive? Clearly it won’t be given that it’s cheaper than a GPU per user (only a proportional of the userbase needs to be covered at any one time, in conjunction economies of scale with competing for contracts between parties meaning much more competitive pricing for hardware), a subscription fee is going to cover that easily.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            No, it’s not [u<]just[/u<] more demanding. It is [u<]continuous heavy[/u<] demand, with a hard requirement for [u<]real-time[/u<] (on the order of couple dozen milliseconds) responsiveness. Very different problem, and less suited to economical cloud-based solutions. Even if you ignore the cost of the additional hardware, the cost of the electricity (and A/C for cooling) is going to go up orders of magnitude compared to (say) a server that hosts hundreds of users on a web forum.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]That it's not feasible (despite the fact these services already exist)[/quote<] Services that are going out of business because they are not economically feasible.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Is that so? So can you name one other cloud gaming service other than OnLive that’s going out of business because it’s economically infeasible then?

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Can you name one that’s actually making money?

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, Gaikai and CoreOnline for starters.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Gaikai is a private company, so you don’t know if they are making money or not.

            CoreOnline was launched in August, so there is no way it is profitable yet, and we won’t know if it can make money for some time.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            OnLive doesn’t have working GPU virtulization. They do need a GPU for every user connected.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Contrary to the deluded opinions of Linux fanboys, most developers simply will not support Linux[/quote<] Why not? With a "linux in a box" platform it actually becomes easier to develop for then the land of 10 billion PC combinations.

        • Malphas
        • 7 years ago

        For a multitude of reasons, like low market share (game developers won’t be the first to budge in a chicken and egg scenario), existing engines and development tools already being geared primarily towards Windows, pressure from Microsoft, etc.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Every console starts off with zero marketshare and nothing for development tools. In the case of a linux console the tools have existed for a long long and are tested and tried. As far as “pressure from MS” goes, again many others have been able to compete successfully without giving MS any support at all.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            You’re incredibly naive if you think pressure from Microsoft (which still has more muscle in the gaming sector thanks to the Xbox than Valve does) on publishers like Ubisoft, EA, etc. not to support a Valve-Linux box won’t have a degree of success. You’re also naive if you fail to realise the efforts the likes of Sony and Microsoft put into getting developers to create content for their systems, which Valve simply doesn’t have the clout to match.

            • eofpi
            • 7 years ago

            Because Microsoft has been so successful at keeping EA, Ubisoft, etc. from developing for Sony and Nintendo consoles.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            They have, it’s called exclusives, and that’s in a sector where they’re a regular player like the competition, not an area where they completely dominate (as is the case for PC operating systems). Feel free to continue living in Stallman fantasy land though.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            90% of 360 exclusives are published by Microsoft.

            Seriously, I can’t think of an EA game that is a 360 exclusive.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 7 years ago

      No clout?

      Valve: “Hey publishers, want to save 50% on the fee we charge you to sell your items on Steam and have your games featured more prominently on our storefront?”

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    As long as this doesn’t set a new minimum benchmark for PCs that causes a 10 yr stall in game progress…. I am all for it. i.e. as long as they revise the hardware frequently enough that the specifications change with time (kind of like…. err… Alienware laptops).

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Gabe told Phoronix this a looong time ago btw.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    And to think I got downvoted for saying that I can see Valves new games being released on alternative platforms before Windows version in the future….

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Nah, we just downvoted you for the best reasons possible: 1. Jealousy; 2. Spite; and 3. BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Don’t hate me because I’m perfect… ๐Ÿ˜›

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Don’t worry, that’s not why. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    The interesting thing is that if Valve plays its cards right, you’ll be able to either buy this box outright or buy the equivalent PC components and build a Valve-compatible box of your own. Something tells me that as long as you pay for the games using Steam, then they don’t really care about the exact piece of hardware you use to buy their stuff.

      • just brew it!
      • 7 years ago

      Yup, that was my thought too. It could open up what amounts to a “DIY console” segment of the market. Not needing to pay for a Windows license could even make it somewhat cost-competitive with traditional consoles (but with better performance).

        • superjawes
        • 7 years ago

        Made even better by plug-n-play controllers. We were talking about this several months ago when Valve set up the Hydra to just work. Do the same with Xbox controllers (and maybe even the bluetooth Wii and PS3 controllers), and you’ve actually got a very potent console competitor since you can still choose whatever you want to play with.

        I’m actually a little amused by the idea of companies popping up to support such a market, too. I’m thinking a lot of small designs popping up, and cases could even be designed around easy GPU swapping.

        Could get very interesting.

          • A_Pickle
          • 7 years ago

          Also, split-screen support on the PC.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            “Dear Santa,

            “I want a Linux-based DIY console with plun-n-play controllers, split-screen support, and full access to my Steam library.

            “I also want a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.

            “Love, Jawes”

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            You can actually hack any Valve game that has a console version into working in split screen on PC.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Why would someone buy PC components to make a console? Isn’t that just buying a more expensive computer in order to make a more antiquated one?

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          I’m not sure where you’re getting the “antiquated” bit from. My point was that people would be able to build a system that meets or exceeds Valve’s “pseudo console” specs, using components of their own choosing.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Because games being made for the steambox wouldn’t be the same as games made for a normal PC today. So essentially you’d buy new hardware to play old games on it. The baseline would never move and you’d simply be better off buying a console, with the exception of convenience things like a SSD…

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            But you can still use that hardware to do other things as well. It’s really more a merging of the PC and console…

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Isn’t that kind of what the Xboxes and Playstations are doing, too?

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Bingo…

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, but still with more of an emphasis on the console side, and on a closed platform.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, but it just looks like a “Steambox” is shaping up to be a console coming from the other side of the spectrum. If a console is taking on more traditional PC roles, why can’t a PC take on more console roles?

            I’m just trying to say I’m not surprised that the two would be heading towards each other.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yup… And Valve is going to market the shit out of this being a ‘PC’ when it’s simply another console aimed at consolidating PC games and funneling them through Valve so they can get their cut.

            Steambox is going to be a gateway to PC gaming, which itself will disappear as PC gaming will in turn be indifferent from console gaming.

            A PC could take on more console roles if Valve was honest in their statement that they wanted to make things easier on consumers getting into the PC gaming experience. I’ve mentioned quite a few of these before… Such as a performance rating system and a guide to hooking things up to your TV and in general smoothing out the Windows experience as far as couch style gaming goes.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I can still use a PC to do other things… I can hook up my PC to my TV and run Steam on it… as well as windows games…

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      For that to work the only compatibility one should worry about would be x86. If driver support is not there (or if Valve locks it down and doesn’t allow other hardware to be used than their pre-built boxes) then that’s a fail in my opinion. Still the only improvement would be that you could change individual parts yourself if something breaks down or improve cooling etc., things that aren’t practical enough to be done by the average console user today.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Valve has no intention of “locking it down” according to Phoronix.

        [url<]http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTI0Njk[/url<]

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          “Newell said he’s expecting a lot of different companies to release these types of packagesโ€””We’ll do it but we also think other people will as well,” he told meโ€”and that Valve’s hardware might not be as open-source or as malleable as your average computer.

          “Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment,” he said. “If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that’s what some people are really gonna want for their living room.”

          [url<]http://kotaku.com/5966860/gabe-newell-living-room-pcs-will-compete-with-next+gen-consoles?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Twitter&utm_source=Kotaku_Twitter&utm_medium=Socialflow[/url<]

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      They would care… they make money off the sale of the steamboxes… For the same reason MS doesn’t let you run X360 games on your computer.

      There is no reason for them to release a steambox if it’s just another computer. From what I’ve read it’ll be it’s own hardware baseline and it’ll be a locked down system, just like every other console out there… only it’s bearing the PC name and it’ll more then likely run PC games as well as valvebox only titles. I’m guessing there isn’t going to be valve box only titles and either the entire PC industry will start making games for the valvebox or it’ll never catch on.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]and it'll be a locked down system[/quote<] Citation please since the one person that has been in contact with Gabe from the very beginning says it will not be.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          I read what you linked and it’s essentially another persons interpretation of the same quote. Locked down can mean that games for the steambox won’t play on a normal PC… In other words you can’t just build a steambox out of PC parts and call it a steambox.

          You’ll have to purchase the steambox and then mod it. They said they’re all for that. The parent I replied to was talking as if you could simply build your own steambox.

          (Read tangents under Arclight.)

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Michael has been in on the inside of the story well before anyone else and has more insight to it then anyone else. So far with everything he has reported about valve has been 100% bang on.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah and he simply said you can mod it, not that you can download a .iso of it somewhere and run ‘steambox’ on a normal PC. You still have to purchase the console and it’s still it’s own environment.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Oh there will probably be some DRM assets that have to remain closed (such as the steam service), more then likely no expansion slots, no upgradeable memory or cpu, possibly using closed source drivers, etc so it won’t be fully open, just like a windows PC does not have an open OS but one is still free to develop for it.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            …but a X360 doesn’t pretend to be a PC.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        You have confused “locked down” with “we will put out a known-good hardware configuration and officially support that configuration, but other configurations should work OK too.”

        A tightly-tune hardware configuration that is officially supported is *not* the same thing as a locked-down platform where there are extensive technical measures put in place to prevent software from running on “unauthorized” devices. There is a world of difference between the two.

        Another thing: I expect Valve to either license the manufacture of the console out for very little or no profit on the hardware sales. Why? Because Valve is a software company and makes money via Steam. Look at Microsoft and Sony for examples of companies that actually take a bath on the hardware sales, whereas Valve will just have standardized hardware that is sold for reasonable rates because it is standardized and doesn’t need lots of custom hardware development.

        To respond to your other posts, why would I want a customized system?
        How about:
        1. I want a nicer case than the console, maybe it has better cooling for beefier hardware, maybe it is quieter, maybe it looks nicer, maybe all three.
        2. I want faster/more storage than is offered in the console.
        3. I want more RAM than is offered in the console.
        3. Once I know the GPUs that are officially being used in the console, I want to buy a faster GPU that I know will still have good support since it comes from the same GPU family.

        Notice that I laid out *alternatives* to buying the console. You aren’t forced to build your own system and you aren’t forced to buy the console just to use Steam. Note: You could build a system using an AMD CPU if the console came with Intel… does that make you like the idea better now?

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Quotes stating that you can simply download the steambox .iso and install it on a normal PC?

          Dude, the only reason they’d make a console is to eat the ridiculous profits they’re going to make on this thing. If they wanted a more level playing field they could do so without ever making their own console. Such as giving people a idea of wether or not their computer can run a game… Setting up performance baselines and easy to interpret results (like red, green, or yellow performance ratings for a game)… Telling people how to connect their computer to their home entertainment system and making that more accessible (they already did this with driver updates for instance).

          But the fact is Valve instead went for the money grab. All of the above they could do in software with tools they already have at their disposal. What they’re claiming to offer they could already do without ever making a Steambox.

          Why would you want to make a Steambox anyway if you could can simply run whatever the Steambox has to offer on a PC? It wouldn’t make sense.

          People still play on the PC because it isn’t locked down. Because there isn’t a baseline that is in line with 7 year old hardware… Because it’s not another dusty old console. Steam as it stands isn’t locked down… When you start making steambox only titles and you don’t allow people on the PC to have the same experience as the steambox… that changes things.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Why would you want to make a Steambox anyway if you could can simply run whatever the Steambox has to offer on a PC? It wouldn't make sense.[/quote<] Because most people do not build a PC to hook up to their TV but if you offer them a low cost console they have been more then happy to hook it up to their TV.

            • superjawes
            • 7 years ago

            The current consoles might have been underpowered when they launched, but they keep up a little bit because they make slightly better use of resources. No need to run a full version of Windows and whatnot, just be strict with your memory allocation and running processes.

            This is the appeal of a Steambox. Cut out the non-gaming essentials (who needs productivity?) and you can get better results on lesser hardware, thus making it easier to manufacture such a product.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t think Windows is hard to design around or for if that’s what you’re aiming at. I also don’t think it inflates hardware requirements ridiculously either. You can look at system resources while playing games and see how much overhead the system has. For me it’s at 0-2%. If you’re talking about raw hardware access that’s really dependent upon DX and the like and at least the X360 simply uses a slightly modified version of Dx9. I’m assuming if the Steambox is compatible with PC games it’ll be using DX just like everything else too.

            I don’t really think that’s the Appeal of the Steambox at all… I really don’t think there ‘is’ an appeal to the Steambox over a PC. Valve is just doing this to reap huge profits off of it.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I’m glad you don’t think so, when every developer who talks about such things says how much more performance they can coax out of a console when they code to the metal.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            They don’t? Show me some links and quotes. Squeeze a console for performance long after it’s outlived it’s life is like making a rock bleed. Huge diminishing returns and programming straight to hardware doesn’t happen. X360 still runs directx 9.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            “A little bit” is probably around 2 years. It has been 6 since the 360 launched.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            You can build a lowcost PC and hook it up to your TV too…

            No one said the Steambox would be cheap, especially if it’s going to offer decent PC hardware… You’re probably talking about a $400-500 console. I would agree with you if this offered the same hardware as a Wii or a X360… Remember how much those cost when they were released and they didn’t have high end hardware even for the time?

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]You're probably talking about a $400-500 console.[/quote<] Which falls right in line with PS3 and XB 360 consoles when they were released and that is with custom silicon from multiple manufacturers. Knock that down to one vendor and based on existing product and your costs start to drop dramatically.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            …and consoles were ridiculed for their ridiculous price tags when they first came out when they were compared to a PC that would have better hardware and cost less. This is $400-500 years after their release. I suspect release prices for a steambox to be in the PS3 range, which was around $600.

            None of this is different from then how consoles are produced today. The Valve box wont use mainstream hardware. It will use it’s own special derivetives just like the X360 and PS3 do. Intel will have it’s own special production for the Steambox as the components will still have to be produced long past the retirement date for normal PC components. Either that or the Valvebox will have new hardware in the same systems (such as after three years), but will in some way handicap the performance to maintain their hardware baseline they’re talking about.

            The Valvebox is nothing more then another console only holding the PC flag and pledging to be on the side of PC gamers and subsequently profiting from such. It shouldn’t be put on a special pedestal.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]...and consoles were ridiculed for their ridiculous price tags when they first came out when they were compared to a PC that would have better hardware and cost less. [/quote<] And they still sold outstandingly and dominate the gaming landscape.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Steam doesn’t care how you buy software from their platform, but they want you returning to Steam over and over, skipping over other vendors that don’t offer Steam versions in favor of Steam versions. Suddenly, Origin looks very behind the times if you can buy a Steam box and play all your Steam titles easily and quickly on your HDTV.

      Plus, there are a lot of gamers out there that won’t build a PC because they’re 1) misinformed (about pricing), 2) misinformed (about the complexity of building a gaming PC), 3) misinformed (about not being able to use a controller if they prefer vs the OPTION of using a kb/m) or 4) misinformed (about the selection of titles available to PC gamers).

      In short, there are a lot of gamers out there that would enjoy a Steam box, but are so misinformed they don’t build their own gaming PC for a variety of reasons, nearly all of which are just them being ignorant of how the platform really is.

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]A Steam console would be of limited value if it only ran Valve games and low-budget indie titles.[/quote<] Actually, that's pretty much all I play right now, lol... Seriously though OEMs selling livingroom/HTPCs is not a new thing - and its not like any random PC can't be connected to any random TV quite successfully. I haven't watched TV in my own home that wasn't routed through a PC/tuner of some kind for nearly 10 years. For me a TV and a PC absolutely must be paired together. What's the point otherwise? As far as "Big Picture" mode goes its nice to have but I don't use it - anyone with a TV/PC already has their font sizes adjusted and a good wireless keyboard/mouse so the fancy interface and controller friendliness aren't a big deal to me - but I could see how they would be a big plus for new users/console fans. Valve's obsession with Linux makes a little more sense to me now though, I understand them wanting their "box" to be MS tax free with a nice custom distribution they've rolled themselves (hopefully something they will let us download an ISO for). But as far as being "very controlled" goes I'm a little confused - hasn't Steam proven that it is controlling enough without going too far and that it can happily reside on an otherwise open platform? I hope the entire OS doesn't get locked down and that he means something else by those words...

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      14 years of HTPC and counting…

      Any game can be console-friendly with a little effort, but XBox360 controller support is what makes my HTPC experience so enjoyable at the moment.

    • Narishma
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]The screenshot in the story shows Linux system requirements for Dynamite Jack, but the current listing for the title only has Windows and Mac requirements. Hmm.[/quote<] It [url=http://imgur.com/HzVju<]shows me[/url<] the requirements for the 3 platforms.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    So Valve wants to do what MS has wanted to do, and been a little successful at with the xBox, for years – bring a computing experience to the big screen in the living room. Tim Cook also dropped some very vague hints about TV experience ‘feeling like it’s 30 years behind’ recently too.

    Sounds good and all, but it makes me wonder what MS does wrong internally when they have these great visions so early, but execute halfway at best, then when the technology is there to get it right some other company comes in and takes over with a refined version of the idea.

      • drfish
      • 7 years ago

      It frustrating isn’t it? Of course there’s Xbox – but Windows Media Center has been around for just as long and its really great! My TV experience doesn’t feel “30 years behind” in the least (took some trial and error to get it that way though). But Apple will come along – market their inevitably more user friendly solution better – and everyone will go bananas over it… What can MS do though? They just don’t have the same level of control Apple has or the marketing prowess/image.

    • bjm
    • 7 years ago

    I can see it now…

    [quote<][b<]Monday Shortbread[/b<] by [u<]Ronald Hanaki[/u<] โ€” 12:00 AM on September 9, 2013 [b<][u<]The Significant Six[/u<][/b<] I. Phoronix: Valve releases [u<]Steam Box[/u<] running custom Linux OS. II. My Digital Life: How to [u<]install[/u<] Windows on your Steam Box and our benchmarks. III. Engadget: Apple granted innovative patent on [u<]Theater Mode[/u<] for Apple TV gaming. IV. Richard Stallman: Valve is [u<]encroaching freedom[/u<], begins new project for open source gaming distribution due for release in 2032. V: Random Linux Blog: billyfreedom [u<]reviews[/u<] Steam Box, including 47 screenshots of the installation process, forgets to review games. VI. l33t-g4m3r: Microsoft will not survive this, this is the year of the Linux deskt--console![/quote<]

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] by Ronald Hanaki โ€” [u<]11:54 PM[/u<] on September 9, 2013 [/quote<] Fix'd, Otherwise perfect.

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        Awww, give him a break. Kid is overworked!

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]VII. Apple purchases OUYA console [u<]patents[/u<], plans to integrate with 'maxi' iPad VIII. Apple [u<]purportedly[/u<] filing lawsuits against Valve for Steam Box encroaching on '981 patent, among others[/quote<]

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      /stands
      /applauds

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      btw, since when did l33t-g4m3r get his own blog?

      • A_Pickle
      • 7 years ago

      I… I so badly want to click on those links…

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Needs more upvotes.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Well done. +1’d

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    I kinda have mixed feelings about this, if it becomes successful.

    On one hand it will be benefitial for PC gamers since, i presume, the hardware will be far more powerfull then old consoles (yes i know still not close to high end PC builds but still and improvement) which will allow developers to put more eye candy in there.

    On the other hand i’m concered about the peripherals, which i presume, will be console type controllers. This will undoutably be another blow to traditional PC gamers which have already suffered for years from bad settings for mice and keyboards (or lack of thereof).

    Lastly another positive thing could be that ports will no longer be as bad as they have been in the past, since if the platform gets traction, it would determine developers to give a lot more attention to the PC market.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      You need not worry. This won’t challenge the xboxs and ps3s of the world.it’ll be too expensive and the games would be too limited in Selection to do much market share wise.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        If it comes out around the same time frame as the next XBoX and PS3 then it would be easy to match their price (and probably be even cheaper). If they go for example with Haswell they could easily offer a solid 1080p experience. Remember that intel is no stranger to building custom x86 chips for their customers if the demand is there.

          • BestJinjo
          • 7 years ago

          Intel graphics is garbage though. What’s the point of Haswell? Even if it has a Core i3, that’s good enough for games for the target market it’s going after – console gamers. The graphics card and gaming performance under Linux are far more important than if it will have a Haswell or an Ivb/Sb CPU.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t know if you have seen any of haswells performance tests but it clips along pretty good running the Unigine benchmark and that is more graphically intense then most games out there. There is good reason why intel and Valve have been working hard on their linux drivers.

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            Will the Haswell IGP lose to a decent (read: $100 or up) modern GPU? Sure (so does every IGP on the market).

            Would the Haswell or Trinity IGP (with the right drivers) be good enough to run this box: YES, remembering the caveats that developers will specifically target the IGP with optimizations and that 1080p is going to be the maximum resolution that needs to be supported.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<] Remember that intel is no stranger to building custom x86 chips for their customers if the demand is there.[/quote<] Whoa, slow down. I doubt Valve is interested in putting up the kind of investment or volume that would get Intel or AMD interested in a custom chip. Maybe they could talk them into a custom combination of clock rates but I doubt that would benefit either party. Valve will benefit from something which is truly open because they want to sell games, not hardware, and Intel/AMD will benefit from something which is truly open, because they like volumes.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            A gaming system has more potential sales then say a macbook air but intel also customized their silicon to accommodate that.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      It wont be more beneficial for PC gamers… I don’t play consoles because I don’t want the same environment or the same ancient hardware and consequent crappy titles that follow. Steambox will be the official ‘PC’ baseline so what few titles that are being made as PC only exclusives or have added eye candy for the PC will simply stop at the Steambox level and that will be called good enough.

      The steambox promised a baseline that’s not going to change to so it’ll simply get old just like consoles as the PC moves forward.

      Or console developers simply indoctrinate the steambox into console territory and the line we once had for PC gaming will disappear altogether.

      I’m pretty sure this will allow mice and keyboards, not controllers. Those are PC exclusives that consoles have gotten a lot of hate for. They wouldn’t make it a controller only thing.

    • oldDummy
    • 7 years ago

    Tux Racer anyone?

      • rogthewookiee
      • 7 years ago

      now that music is stuck in my head… thanks a lot..

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