Valve preparing living room PCs to compete with next-gen - Report

Gabe Newell says he expects to see PC packages for the living room running Steam for TVs as early as next year; says this set-up will compete with next-gen hardware from Sony and Microsoft.

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Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell has revealed his expectations for custom PC packages that will allow users to run Steam from their living room TV sets as early as next year.

Speaking to Kotaku, Newell said these PC packages would compete with next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Newell told the site that Valve would be looking to develop these kinds of packages, but that other PC companies would jump in as well.

"Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," Newell said. "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."

Newell also hinted Valve is working on an updated engine which will reportedly work with next-generation consoles.

Valve launched its Steam Big Picture mode earlier this month. The TV interface for Windows and Mac allows users to access and play Steam games on their TV sets.

In March it was reported that Valve is working on a "Steam Box" TV set-top console, said to operate more like a platform along the lines of Google's Android operating system.

Discussion

0 comments
LettuceJoans
LettuceJoans

I'm perfectly happy with my gaming PC being plugged right into my HDTV with HDMI. Steam's "big picture" thing works great with a 360 controller. I would probably never buy a steambox but it's still a good idea if Valve wants to reach out to casual gamers.

DemonChorro
DemonChorro

If its just a PC with Steam, go for it. IF it doesn't play PC games, failure, 

yaba
yaba

It will be expensive too. Unlike with console games, PCs costs are not subsidized by the expectation that software will be purchased.

jark888
jark888

Be sure to include fully functional Google Chrome if you wanna be competitive, and your consumers will be grateful.

DevilD2005
DevilD2005

Im surprised, that Valve, with the money they have on steam, arent trying to create a console. They could become legit contenders for Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Although, having 4 console systems might be a bit much. But its goof that they are investing in the PC. The pc, hasnt gotten much love until Valve showed up with Steam IMO.

tgwolf
tgwolf

Lopping off coldly and kicking aside Apple, PCs have always had the capability for rivalry...So to put it tactfully, 'Good, glad you FINALLY made it...'

buccomatic
buccomatic

if steam continues the awesome sales which lets me buy AAA titles for $3-$15 dollars (including retro games and past gen titles), i'm straight skipping the next gen consoles in favor of this.

onixevil
onixevil

Just for HL3 fans and I'm a one of them .

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

In other words, Valve is making a console.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Options are nice, but Steam doesn't get enough games in enough genres to satiate my console purchases. Every platform has weakness when it comes to a diverse library.

 

I'm no slave to any hardware, I have four gaming PCs. I love couch co op gaming on consoles with friends and family as well.

 

Still, I have all the consoles too because I just love some of those exclusive games you find out there.

 

Diablo 3, Starcraft II, Uncharted 3, Gears of War 3 (GeoW), Halo 4, Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Wii U, Nintendoland, Demon's Souls, God Of War 3 (GOW), Metal Gear Solid 4, Infamous, Company of Heroes, Zelda, et cetera.

oflow
oflow

The major hurdle that going to be the issue with this device is most of the US is still in the dark ages as far as internet bandwidth.  These are the people that complain about not being able to own physical copies of stuff since they dont have good internet access and cant download gigs of data reliably.Outside of the cities a good chunk of the country is still using dial-up and DSL.  Maybe one day our fearless leaders in Congress will actually do something like build a nationwide fiber network and the US can stop lagging behind Europe and Asia.  They want to put people to work, thats one way to do it. Just like FDR built the national highway system, the government could build a nationwide wideband fiberoptics network.

 

Ya ya I know its socialism, 'Murica F*** ya!

top8cat
top8cat

Been using Big Picture mode for a few days now(my gamepad  finally came in the mail)

 

Brilliant little piece of software, I added a few non-steam games to the list (and added shortcuts that skip launchers for some steam games) and so far, I love it. It still has some bugs to work out, but BPM(Big Picture mode) has a lot of potential.

 

I know it sounds silly, being that its a PC and the software has a built in browser, but it would be great if they added apps to BPM. I could really see using it as my go to living room media device and getting more non-PC gamers to do so as well

Dasim64
Dasim64

The major issue with PC's is their inconsistency. There are literally millions of computer hardware/software combinations out there. It's impossible for PC gaming to have the consistency of console gaming. This is why a lot of people prefer consoles to PCs. No drivers to fool with, no upgrades, no viruses, and all you do is put the disc in and play. I love to game on PC so don't take me as a console fanboy. I'm just telling it like it is. PC gaming can be a pita. Consoles are so much more convenient and easy to use that people are willing to put up with stuff like inferior graphics just to avoid the hassles of PC gaming. Until they find a way to solve this issue, PC gaming will continue to have the smallest gaming audience. In many ways PC gaming is superior to consoles especially if you are good with computers. But the consoles are just simple and easy and in the long run that's what the people want. Something to consider.

moccho
moccho

Isn't the point of PC gaming keyboard and mouse, sitting in the chair in front of your screen...? I am bit confused and feel like this is unnecessary... 

MarchingOrd3rZ
MarchingOrd3rZ

As long as Half Life 2: Episode 3 (or Half-Life 3 if you feel so inclined) isn't a "Steam Box" exclusive, I'm fine...

trdrstv
trdrstv

Really, Really Like Valve and Steam but I can't see why I would get one. Hey, it's Steam in the living room and Running Linux so most of you game's won't run on it (unless you buy mostly Humble Bundles and Valve games).

 

The only way this would be an attractive proposition is if they allow concurrent logins on your account so 1 person can play on a PC and someone else can play on their "GabeCube" and do an in-house lan.

stailcookie
stailcookie

The headaches of PC gaming (hardware costs, upgrade expenses and resolution issues if you do/don't upgrade hardware and/or drivers depending on the software) for the benefits of console gaming (controllers?  limited library of games? sitting on a couch!).

 

If they can make a box with great graphics for the price of a console, more power to them.  But, I doubt they can.

Lynn_Kyle
Lynn_Kyle

I couldn't care less about PC gaming. It's all about consoles for me.

nathanmaxtro
nathanmaxtro

What is the OS going to be?

 

If it runs Windows, why not just use a PC?

 

If it doesn't run Windows, how is it going to play any games?

elfmode
elfmode

 @DemonChorro "Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment." Guess what that means?

jark888
jark888

 @DevilD2005 Maybe if company like Google come in to unite these companies then organize to launch next gen console that can fully integrate with official hardware and software from these companies, we might finally have only one ultimate gaming console each generation. That will be great for consumers, environment, and fair competition on quality that is independent from exclusivity.  

yaba
yaba

 @GamerMani PC gaming isn't dead, so long as you are indie, or named Blizzard.

96augment
96augment

 @GamerMani  Diablo 3 made millions in a day. So, PC Gaming isn't going anywhere.

GymFox
GymFox

 @SolidTy Its nice to have everything (which I do), but I still think PC is the best. And that's after only console gaming for 20+ years. Steam basically has everything now except a very few amount of exclusives and obviously Nintendo stuffs. Now that games are coming out of every platform it is only a matter of time before most exclusive titles disappear (e.g. remember MGS and FF??) 

Vodoo
Vodoo

 @oflow That bullshit. The large cable companies (Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, CableVision, Verizon FioS, AT&T Uverse) have most of the country covered and they all offer very high-speed internet. The only places that can't get broadband are the super rural areas. 

I don't live in a city. I live on Long Island and I have 50Mb's down, 8Mb's up.

Poodger
Poodger

 @Dasim64 Like all things in life, the masses will flock to the thing that requires the least amount of effort, even if the result is an inferior experience. The same can be said of console vs PC gaming.

oflow
oflow

 @Dasim64 All a console is an an idiot proof pc made for gaming.  They could design a prefab gaming rig that does the same thing.  The difference currently is that current pcs are designed around doing more than just gaming. If a pc was specifically built only to use for gaming and say using a web browser it wouldnt have nearly as many probably as a normal pc does. Which is basically what they are trying to do.

Poodger
Poodger

 @moccho PC gaming is literally quite better in every way, with the exception that in order to utilize it to its full potential, it requires a little more money than consoles, and assembly is required. After that, you get better controls, mod support, better looking versions of games, some of the best exclusives on the market and much cheaper prices for the games. It is not JUST for the mouse and keyboard setup, since many people enjoy playing games on the couch on their huge hdtvs, which is fully compatible with PC gaming.

Dasim64
Dasim64

 @moccho

 Who says you can't use a keyboard and mouse in front of the TV? I mean what limits that in your mind? Just because it's a PC doesn't mean you have to be at a desk with a small monitor and an office chair. Open your mind to the possibilities.

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

 @moccho No the point is it can do anything you want it to do , the only limit is the users imagination :)

Poodger
Poodger

 @GamerMani Oh hey look! It is that one idiot that posts about his irrational hatred for Steam in EVERY news article about Steam. What a tool.

Poodger
Poodger

 @stailcookie Most of those complaints are moot about PC gaming, and the controller thing is largely opinionated. I prefer a mouse + keyboard for any game over a controller.

oflow
oflow

 @stailcookie considering the nextgen consoles are probably going to be in the $500-600 range I'd say its possible.  The PS3 was $599 when it first launched, I know because I bought one the day it came out. You can build a barebones gaming rig with a decent graphics card for the same price. It wont be top of the line watercooled with SSDs but it'll run 80-percent of your Steam library easily which is what they are trying to do. As far as drivers/upgrades go they can make Steam idiot proof for the most part and let it update itself just like the consoles do, and this rig's components would probably have about the same life cycle graphically as a current gen consoles do.

 

I currently run Steam Big Picture from my laptop on my living room tv, works great. Also, a  lot of the current pc games on Steam are controller ready I use an Xbox controller on mine.

 

 I think the main difference is Steam is actually pushing indie games and non huge titles as their main sales point, while the consoles are pushing the AAA titles. Consoles are selling the $59.99 games while Steam is making a killing selling mostly games for under $10, even though they do have some of the AAA titles too.  

 

All in all I see this as good for gaming.  I play both console and pc games and blurring the lines is not a bad idea.

 

 

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

 @stailcookie To be brutally honest I have had more issues with my consoles recently , constant software updates to the hardware & software , severe FPS drops ,  sound bugs and freezes in games such as Halo Anniversary , Dragons Dogma , Tombraider trilogy.

 

Then to top it all off consoles owners are forced to upgrade constantly to play the latest games , another update soon in the form of PS4 & 720 which will probably have hardware issues at launch , guess ill just buy a graphics card for half the price and not have to deal with this headache. 

 

Not to mention Sony are scam artists , taking away BC for PS2 titles then trying to sell them back to us on the PSN store ,brb getting an emulator for free & yes it is legal not that I care if I break a ToS tbh.

 

If anyone thinks PC gaming is hard today , they probably never had to deal with Windows 98 & pre Windows 7 , now then I can understand people not liking PC gaming was a pain in the arse back then.

 

 

RhythmAndBlues
RhythmAndBlues

 @stailcookie Yeah, we'll have to see how this progresses. I can only imagine that Valve must have reached some level of satisfaction and security - with the concept, at least - to be publicly discussing their plans, though.

 

This could be great. Let's wait and see.

 

Luieburger
Luieburger

 @nathanmaxtro It will likely be Windows or Linux, and you're right. Why not just use a PC? Well... some people are a little challenged and don't understand that you can just plug your PC into a TV. This "Steam Box" as they are calling it, will help the slow folks to get over the hump into PC gaming. ;)

aniforprez
aniforprez

 @GamerMani  @DevilD2005 plenty you trolling moron. there are massive numbers of indie devs ready to make pc-only exclusives. the top kickstarter funded games are all pc exclusives. so shut your trap and gtfo

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

 @Vodoo  @oflow Well, and even what parts of the country do have "broadband" its crazy expensive and stupid slow compared to more than a dozen other countries.  A truly decent experience for the modern size of games at a price the masses can embrace is still a pipe dream for huge swaths of the country. 

 

The fastest thing in my town (which is a good sized city with a major university and tons of fiber infrastructure associated) is comcast cable service.  Their fastest offering is still only 10 Mbps and it costs $65 a month.  Nobody else in town even comes CLOSE in terms of speed and 10 MBps is still crap by comparison to many other countries' infrastructure.

oflow
oflow

 @Vodoo its not BS I work for Time Warner and most of the country ISNT covered.  I install main line fiber cable for a living and I know for a fact it isnt.  And I'm talking about fiber directly to the house not coax-fiber conversion. I live in Los Angeles and 80-percent of the city  doesnt have fiber its still running of the old 500 feed system only the beach cities have fiber to the house where the rich people live.Long Island is part of the NYC metroplex. I'm talking about middle America, the south and west.  Go out in the middle of Montana, New Mexico or Idaho and see what speeds you get.

Dasim64
Dasim64

 @Poodger

 Besides the PC, I also play a lot of games on consoles. The only thing I really find inferior to the PC is the graphics and possibly mods on games like Skyrim but some people don't even like those so that's subjective. The games are identical in how they play and that's what really matters. Consoles work and they work well for what they are intended for. I wouldn't confuse that with being inferior unless having the best graphics possible is so important you can't live without it. To many the dependability and simplicity of console use overrides the need for top of the line graphics.

Dasim64
Dasim64

 @oflow

 Yes but what you are describing is a console. From the description above it sounds like that's pretty much what they're working towards except that it will involve steam and will probably allow the use of a keyboard and mouse. If it ends up being a user upgradable system then it won't do them any good since that will totally defeat the purpose of a standardized gaming platform and things will be right back where they are now very quickly which certainly isn't ideal from a developer's perspective.

u1tradt
u1tradt

@oflow @stailcookie For $600 I can put together a fantastic rig that will handle whatever you throw at it, no problem. The only drawback would be that it wouldn't be very quiet and there will be some compromise in efficiency. But you could easily put together a rig with a quad core AMD processor and a HD 7850 for under $600.

oflow
oflow

 @SteamyPotatoes  I'm the same way.  Recently my console has had far my issues than my pc and consoles take WAY longer to fix/patch issues than PCs do.

Needles-Kane
Needles-Kane

 @SteamyPotatoes  @stailcookie 

Forced to upgrade constantly?  360 and PS3 launched 2005/2006 and 8 years later is constantly?

 

I'm still bitter about that PS2 BC thing though too.

nathanmaxtro
nathanmaxtro

 @Luieburger I'm starting to think that it may run a Linux variation designed for Steam but I wonder how compatible it would be with existing games.

oflow
oflow

 @Luieburger  Exactly. The Steambox is basically going to be a simple pc built for gaming thats got a semi idiot proof interface. Thats basically all a console is.  

GymFox
GymFox

 @Dasim64  @Poodger Being a console gamer for 20+ years and just now switching to PC, I fully agree with the statement that PC gaming is far superior. Everything thing from advanced physics engines to draw distance and HDR blooming make it a more immersive and dynamic expereince. e.g., compare the physics engine in Skyrim across all 3 platforms (which I have and have beat). The gameplay is actually different, so the statement that the only quantifiable difference is that PC simply has better graphics (versus gameplay) is simply not true. Secondly, I have a desktop rig solely for gaming (laptop for work), so I never have to deal with viruses, updates, etc... b/c it is all automated. The initial investment sucks with a nice rig, but in the end it is just better. Plus, PC now has native support for controllers, so the K+M vs. gamepad argument is virtually moot now. Finally, Steam has basically everything except a very few exclusives like GOW or Uncharted (which I love), so I believe it provides a much more rounded experience compared to Xbox or PS.  

SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

 @Needles-Kane  @SteamyPotatoes  @stailcookie Guess my point is you can build a PC Box / Steam Box in this case  to last just as long as a console generation if you build it correctly , the option to upgrade is optional if you want better performance but not required .

 

In most cases anyways , Crysis 3 will probably make most PCs cry at launch but I'm totally okay with that because it looks next gen , looks almost CGI at the high end imo , at least from the tech video on their website which has much less compression than web videos so you get a better idea of what it will look like :)