Neoseeker : News : Valve expects Steam Box prototypes to be ready in next four months, plans to test "customer" response
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lKasHl Mar 5, 13
"So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play."

WOW biometric feedback would be awesome, imagine using heart rate as an indicator of when time should be slow mo'd in an intense SP campaign of a FPS. I hope Valve and the devs run with this, graphic fidelity increases are a logarithmic improvement and will eventually plateau. Looking for innovative ways of creating immersion will come to be the most important component of gaming
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BlackLabel Mar 6, 13
It's nice to see a bit of ambition while trying to give the system a purpose and a reason to exist, I mean if bio-metrics take off then Valve would have done gaming a great service but my issue is I don't see the Steam Box succeeding. I mean who are they marketing this at? The PC gamers? The ones that have rigs more than capable of playing games already? If this is aimed at console gamers then the system better be cheap, it better not be confusing and it better advertise why it will do things better than PlayStation 4.

I just think that Steam Box is nice concept that will work on paper, but won't work in the real world. With PlayStation 4, Xbox 720 and even Wii U they are closed platforms with one set hardware configuration, as a result games are coded directly to the hardware so you get more from less and costs stay low. On PC there are infinite configurations so the game is broadly coded so nothing is all that optimised meaning you need more to do less. The concern I have is that while Sony are sitting pretty with a rumoured £300-£350 console Valve would need to price the Steam Box at £600+ to give a comparable spec, but in a PC comparable spec won't offer PlayStation 4 quality.

I think that is my main concern is that the world just isn't ready for this and those that are ready have a gaming PC already. Another issue is if Steam Box comes in three flavours e.g. A low, medium and high spec. How do they advertise that the medium spec will run Crysis 2 on high but Crysis 3 on medium but won't run anything well two years from now? How do you advertise the concept of needing to upgrade these £600-£1000+ machines when gamers that choose PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 won't need to?

I see too many obstacles for Steam Box to succeed, but I do believe it is a nice concept and I hope Valve the best of luck. Ideally I hope to be wrong as more gamers playing on PC will solve a myriad of issues like poor ports and even poor online support post-launch, I mean the number of semi-popular PC games that 1-2 weeks after launch only have 200 people playing is frustrating. I hope Steam Box succeeds but colour me a skeptic for now.
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DeathlyRyAn Mar 6, 13
I think Valve should just stop and continue being a developer. Their not going to effect the competition against XBOX and PS. Probably PC but, I choose PC. I'm not a fan of steam at all...
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lKasHl Mar 8, 13
BlackLabel I share your sentiments, I've only really considered the steam box in its budget iteration as competition against the Ouya and not the 720/PS4, especially considering its running Linux out of the box and incompatible with basically 90% of PC games released to date. Having compatibility with previous titles might have been a selling point for a fair few units considering neither the 720/PS4 are likely to support it, but licensing windows isn't likely a viable option for Valve.

Also important to consider is, assuming that the steam box sells, Valve will still need graphic vendors to write optimised drivers for their products. With AMD revoking support for older graphics cards on Windows 8 I doubt they (or NVIDIA) will appreciate further fragmentation. Thats not even getting into the fact that Direct X is almost industry standard, neither AMD/NV have demonstrated outstanding optimisation in OpenGL besides in benchmark suites (typically). Overall, the Steam box will ship with more expensive hardware that performs sub-optimally whilst the consoles will ship with less expensive hardware that performs optimally. As much as I hate to say it, looks like a loss for Valve.
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Northern49 Mar 11, 13
I think the Steam Box will do well in markets where there are people who are sick of consoles, want a gaming PC, but have no idea where to start. That said, I think the Steam Box would do well if it allied itself with the Oculus Rift and found other new innovative ways to entice consumers, rather than motion controllers and gimmicks like 3D and touchscreens that do virtually nothing to enhance the gameplay mechanics that already exist.

As far as I can tell, the next-generation of consoles seem like nothing more than another revision. Nothing revolutionary, and increasingly harder to do anything outside of their own markets. Annoyances like not being able to render MKV video files will be replaced by the annoyance of not being able to plug in an external hard drive at all. That is, without jailbreaking the device, which will boot you out of their online services which you are forced to use and/or pay for.

Valve will have to find ways to really put Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to shame by breaking the pattern of reiteration. And having an upgradable console will entice users who fear another long hardware cycle.

You need to remember as well, that like Google, Valve can afford selling hardware at a loss, because their hardware is also selling services. The cost of the Steam Box may be less than you might think.
Last edited by Northern49 :: Mar 11, 13
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lKasHl Mar 12, 13
The problem with Valve subsidising it is whether they can do it to such an extent they can compete with the mass and more efficient console production whilst still remaining economically viable.

Realistically the consoles already have an established accessory market where they charge almost double the RRP for genuine products. Furthermore they can get away with charging subscription fees for 'basic' online services since thats the norm in the market, Valves integration with steam however prevents them from charging for basic services or risk alienating preexisting users. Thats not to mention that steam as a distribution platform is for the first time seeing competition from the publishers and if i recall, has a lower commission than the rights to publish on consoles.

Furthermore, valve also have to watch the amount they subsidise, being open source hardware, its very likely that an excessive subsidy will attract users hunting for cheap hardware, not necessarily users with the intention of utilising whatever paid services valve might be offering for the box.

Innovation like the Oculus Rift is only feasible when it gets mainstream support, realistically developer costs are already rising for next gen, I dont forsee many of them being enthusiastic about jumping on a new console bandwagon until it has a profitable market share, which as you mentioned Northern49 needs to be created by innovation. So its a virtuous cycle IF someone manages to take the leap.

Of course this is all just speculation like everything i post on Neo, for all we know the steam box might be so remarkable it blows everything out of the water
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