12-11-2012, 12:25 PM
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Valve wants to directly compete with consoles
Valve Wants to Directly Compete with Consoles
Gabe Newell confirms that Valve will be involved with production on a PC for living rooms.
by Charles Onyett DECEMBER 10, 2012
Rumors of Valve-produced or branded hardware have been circulating for a while. At this year’s VGAs, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed to Kotaku that Valve will be involved with some kind of hardware alternative meant to be used in living rooms with Steam’s recently launched Big Picture mode.
"I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them. ‘Cause they won't have to split the world into thinking about 'why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?' So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments."
“We'll do it but we also think other people will as well."
But what exactly is Valve’s idea of a PC that fits well into a living room? There’s nothing really preventing you from using a PC in living rooms at the moment. Right now, for example, you could just pick up the PC you might be reading this article on, move it to your living room’s television and hook it into an input. There you go, enjoy Far Cry 3 on a 50’’ display. Maybe it’s not the most convenient thing to do, but it can be done.
Newell gave Kotaku a hint of what Valve might be doing. “Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. 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.”
So it sounds like this living room PC wouldn’t be the same thing as a PC, but limited in some ways to be more console-like, but still not quite a console, which gets even more confusing when you consider that consoles are becoming more and more PC-like as their capabilities continue to expand beyond video games.
PCs that sort of look like consoles, like Alienware’s X51, exist right now, but it seems like Valve’s effort would likely involve something more than just a smaller form factor. As the developer has proven with Big Picture mode, it’s entirely capable of finding creative fixes to longstanding console problems that companies like Sony and Microsoft still haven’t solved as elegantly, such as Big Picture’s gamepad typing interface.
The “very controlled environment” Newell mentioned could mean the Valve’s living room machine boots up directly into Steam’s big picture mode and lets you browse, play, download and chat only through Valve’s digital distribution service. Or, if Newell only meant hardware by that comment, it could mean that if someone bought one of Valve’s machines, Valve would provide a limited, clearly-defined selection of possible upgrades. So Valve would select very specific RAM and GPU upgrades to keep some kind of standardized hardware configurations for developers to build games for, and in this way add much more longevity to the machine when better hardware and technology is developed later on.
A Valve machine could also give the company a more focused way to push alternative input interfaces, such as an augmented reality device, and then market that device to an audience that would have never otherwise been interested. How those plans mesh with Valve’s aggressive support of Linux remain to be seen.
Between Valve’s hardware, which Newell mentioned could be available next year, Microsoft and Sony’s still-unknown future plans, Nintendo’s Wii U, the Ouya, and whatever Apple’s ideas are for gobbling up even more of the gaming market, it seems like in the next generation of gaming there will be no shortage of ways to play.
Aside from Dota 2, which is still in closed beta testing, Valve has no officially announced unreleased games. We’ve reached out to Valve for a comment and will update with any response.
SOURCE - http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/12/...-with-consoles