Thursday, January 10, 2013

Steambox, from a PC Gamer's viewpoint.

The news on Valve's Steambox really made a big impression on the gaming industry. But here I am, thinking "what's so special?". Some might not agree and some could even share my views on this. Let me talk about what I think about the Steambox.
From what I've seen, Steambox tries to bring PC gaming to console gamers by providing an easier to use PC. That's what Steambox is in my opinion: "A Mini-PC built by Valve". Nothing wrong with it, because if it does work it could interest those who doesn't like to use PC because of compatibility issues and driver problems. Steambox could act as a Streamlined Gaming PC for the masses. This seems an interesting idea but with the current news regarding pricing which is around $1000, I wonder if it's just a better idea to just buy a PC?

From gaming point of view, Steambox seems to be offering the same list of games that the PC gamers get. because if this PC gamers won't really be interested in buying Steambox. So what's the actual target market for Steambox? Console Gamers? how will Steambox compete with other consoles which usually have their own Exclusive games. Steambox exclusive games would just be PC exclusive games, which raises the same question: "Why not just buy a PC?"

You might think of me as a PC Gaming Elitist or whatever but that still doesn't change the fact that Steambox is essentially a Streamlined Mini-PC. Why should PC gamers be interested in it? and why should console gamers be interested in it? Play on your TV? you can already to that with Steam Big Picture. Exclusive games? doesn't seem there will be any.

Let's see some other argument about the Steambox: Multiple quality hardware(Good, Better, Best)? that's just the same as PC, it'll just create almost the same mess as PC and would actually confuse casual gamers since the console have differing specs. User generated content ? you do realize uncontrolled user generated content would mean thousands of rubbish content and you'll waste more time browsing through the swill rather than getting to the good stuff. Besides, you know which platform where you can find plenty of user generated contents? the PC.

I might be missing something or might be mis-informed, but from what we have right now I really see no reason for all the hype surrounding Steambox. It's a nifty idea, but it might not be making a big splash when it comes out. We'll have to wait for more info of course, but I really hope Steambox isn't just what I think it is. What do you think?


  1. Steam Box is basically similar to any smartphone that runs Android.
    It's a platform that is the heart and souls of a variety of different hardwares. The closest example would be Samsung, HTC, LG, Nexus, smartphones, that runs Android.

    In my opinion, the scariest thing for Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft is the fact that PC Gaming now have an entity. A symbol. One uniting banner that will invade living rooms and bed rooms everywhere.

    If more hardware developers jump on the bandwagon and create their Steam Boxes, that means more audience and more revenue for Steam. Afterwards, more game developers would create games for it, seeing it as the most logical choice. Being THE biggest digital (PC game) distribution platform. every game developer might want to take hardware specs into consideration when creating games so that the Steam Boxes can run it.

    PC gaming is always evolving, better specs, higher spec-ed games, but with Steam Box, that constant progress might be slowed down for the sake of a wider audience. Remember that moment when we can't play a certain game because our PC can't run it? With the existence of Steam Box, game developers will take extra care not to let that happen to often. The result? More people can play a certain game. Imagine if this happened back in the days Crysis 1 was still the king of incredibly high spec game. More people will be able to play it optimally, a lot more won't be shunned by the massive requirements. Hence, more gamer, more people who would buy and play the game.

    THAT is the main thing that makes Steam Box scary. The possibility of a more streamlined PC gaming experience, and the possibility that PC spec upgrades might be slowed down (which is personally a good thing to save money IMO :P)

    And even scarier still if those Steam Boxes are actually upgradeable. Which is quite possible considering they are created by hardware developers. Making Steam Box the first hardware-wise upgradable home console systems.

  2. Hmm, never thought about that. It's a really interesting thought though that if Steambox is successful it could mean a more streamlined hardware for PC. Some might see that stopping progress is bad but PC hardware progression moves too fast nowadays. It would also be good for the gaming industry if devs are starting to focus more on gameplay rather than graphic power. If Steambox could help with that, I guess it's a good thing.

  3. @Marvel I view steambox as scary in a different way. That constant progress dwindling would actually be detrimental because as we can see with consoles they try and milk things for as long as possible and we do not need that happening in the PC gaming market as well... The smarter move would be to make "branded" gaming PC's or educate people on costs of their computers etc. You have the dunder heads that still run around saying you need to spend a crap ton of money to get a decent gaming computer which in this day and age isn't true they can easily be had for under 1k if you know what you are doing and how to build out.

    The concern with steambox then comes up to the fact that at least these early models are meant to primarily run Linux... while you can install windows on them any physical media is an after thought since its meant primarily for digitally distributed games and then specs come into play. With that space heat dissipation is a huge issue there is a space saving element to it but unless they are using laptop parts (a la mac mini)I don't see how you can even fit most mid range / mid high range cards from today in the thing...

    Software needs to advance in gaming which pushes hardware further too. If we take the attitude of making them accessible to the widest audience all the time we'd still be playing stuff on a commodore 64 or atari 2600 or early computers... The overall dilemma being t his really seems like a poorly executed plan. Ultra and Nvidia and Crytek partnered up at one point and offered a Crysis Warhead branded machine they built. Told people what settings they could expect to run at with the build and sold it.

    People always try and skirt the bare minimum on specs somewhere then are somehow "shocked" when the game doesn't run as well as it could. PC hardware moves quickly because the software is advancing more now and becoming more demanding for gaming it's only a bad thing if you are one of these bone heads that has to be on the bleeding edge constantly... I do agree we need to stop with a focus on graphics so much but we still shouldn't halt hardware and software development. Better AI can come from better hardware and further advances with other core gameplay mechanics as well...

    What needs to happen really... The game industry needs to stop milking things plain and simple. Console lifetimes are becoming to long and stagnate other areas of the gaming industry and they continue to milk titles like CoD without much story going into them. Most of the more story heavy things are already on PC and the things that don't tend to be are usually ports from console games anyways and that is a whole different mess of its own.

    We need to stop with quick ports to make a cash grab and all games need more substance. Whatever happened to RPG's being epic and taking 100+ hours to beat. Now we can beat games in one sitting at times maybe two or three if lucky and the most creative people now are the indie developers who don't get the respect or admiration they deserve.