Given its efforts to bring Steam into the living room, you’d think Valve would be worried about the next generation of consoles coming later this year. Yet according to Valve CEO and bearded messiah Gabe Newell, the "biggest challenge" in that space isn’t so much new console hardware—rather, it’s Apple making a play for the living room "before the PC industry . . . gets its act together."
Newell dropped that bombshell during a lecture at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. The folks at Polygon have posted some other choice quotes from the talk, including this interesting overview of the situation:
"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there’s a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"
Newell also brought up Miracast wireless display tech and Nvidia’s Project Shield. Based on his statements and the wording of the Polygon article, I’m getting the impression that the hotly anticipated Steam Box may not be a dedicated living-room PC. Now, I’m imagining more of a small, low-power system with the ability to stream games from a full-featured PC. I kind of like the idea, too—why buy a whole other gaming PC when you could just extend your current one to the living room?
I can see Newell’s point about Apple, as well. Even today, AirPlay mirroring with an iOS device and a $99 Apple TV can deliver a reasonably compelling gaming experience. If Apple makes a stronger push in that market—which the rumor mill suggests it will—then we may see more games take advantage of the technology… and more folks questioning their need for a dedicated console.