Published on January 8th, 2013 | by Ben Hedworth0
Steam Box: Will it be successful?
Gabe Newell has come out and revealed a LOT in an exclusive interview with The Verge, rendering this article a bit outdated, but the points still apply. Visit the interview here for updated news!
Would you live in a Steam Box? Ha..urm
2013 will see the arrival of the belated “next-gen” consoles for both Sony and Microsoft. While I’m not particularly excited myself, it will be interesting to see what these two companies will try and pass off as “innovation”.
As you can imagine Xbox players will be looking to purchase the NextBox (Not quite the official name) and the Playstation fans will be buying up the next iteration of their console. Maybe some real edgy types might swap brands oooooooo hardcore.
But before gamers part with there hard earned money, or in most cases there parents cash, they will have another option to consider; the Steam Box. The Steam Box is Valve’s very own Linux based living room hardware that’s looking to shake up the console market, incorporating the highly successful Steam and it’s new ‘big picture’ mode for HD TVs, we could see some genuine competition to unstoppable tyranny of Microsoft and Sony, emphasis on ‘could’.
As announced at CES today the Steam Box will be using Xi3′s Piston, a SFF (small form factor) PC with upgradeable parts that can run any x86 based operating system. It’s pretty damn small, I’d say about the size of a chihuahua’s head, sort of like a hedgehog or a swollen tennis ball thing, oh that isn’t helpful? Deal with it punk.
Whose going to buy the Steam Box? Good question Ben, yeah thanks mate. Though we don’t know the exact ins and outs of the Steam Box I’m going to go ahead and say it doesn’t even matter. Size, specs, operating system and controllers don’t make a huge impact on the mass market…but what about the upgradable parts Ben? Very inquisitive aren’t you Ben…well as logical of an idea as it is, I can’t see it being “the next best thing”.
The only 2 factors that will strongly influence the sales of Valve’s new console is pricing and marketing. Here’s why…
The list of countries with a booming economy is rather short, here in the UK were experiencing a double dip recession which isn’t as delicious as it sounds. Let’s say both the new Xbox and Playstation come in at around £500 / $800 (speculative figures) and the Steam Box comes in a £250 / $400 (again made up figures), with similar AAA titles less fortunate families or broke gamers will take up the Steam Box offer any day.
If they have a little bit more money or save a ton in some blatantly ridiculous Steam sale they can upgrade a few parts for better frame rates or higher graphics. Unfortunately a low price console from Valve is unlikely, high specs aren’t cheap and I’ve seen the £600 / $1000 price tag thrown about a lot so far.
To this day you see gamers of all ages, core or casual defend there beloved gaming brands to the death. A lot like Apple users these crazed fan boys and girls will foam at the mouth over technology that’s, well, pretty mediocre if you think about it. Without sounding like some cynical boring old man the Steam Box isn’t really bringing any game changing features.
Valve need to brand this Steam Box like mad, they need to pour resources into advertising to cause such a stir that children will be throwing up through excitement. Both Microsoft and Sony spend millions on branding each year to ensure the consumers get hyped over the same old tat they did last year, Valve need to throw some of that Steam money at this project if they want to see it really kick off.
As an avid user of Steam and owner of a rather powerful gaming rig I’m trying to find a reason why I would want to own Valve’s up and coming ‘box’. I guess the product isn’t really aimed at a consumer like myself, oh…wait a sec it would be cool to play a bit on my PC, then a friend turns up and I go downstairs flick on my Steam Box and continue from the same save, yeah that would be cool. Ben you don’t have any friends? Well fuck you Ben, fuck you…
I will be following Valve’s venture into the console market with a keen eye, competition is always refreshing and benefits us consumers greatly, well most of the time. Are you excited about the Steam Box, or maybe it isn’t your cup of tea? Tell us why in the comments!