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Microsoft Keeping Close Eye on SteamOS, Steam Machines

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September 28, 2013 3:31:21 PM

"Death of the video game console wasn't prematurely announced, as sales of the Wii U have shown."

I stopped reading there. the wii u is currently a failure because of a lack of interesting features/games and more gimmicks from nintendo. not because there isn't an interest in it. the biggest mistake they made was probably calling it the wii u. many average cosnumers believed it was a peripheral add-on, so they have to advertise that it was indeed a completely new console. i wouldn't even go as far as calling the wii u a next gen console. it's simply stuck between last gen and next gen.

HOWEVER, nobody can make assumptions until a few years down the line. but with gta v shattering records, anyone who says consoles are on the decline are idiots. sales may have declined, but that could be due to all the new consoles being released too. i don't know, i think it is way too early to make assumptions like this. pc gaming is awesome and all, but i know its not for everyone. choice is a good thing.
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September 28, 2013 3:34:13 PM

I think what we are bound to see in the coming years isn't the death of one or the other, but an inclusion of a unified operating system that ties everything together seamlessly. Computers with multiple desktops, that have CPU's and GPU's powerful enough to stream those desktops to your tablets so you can work on the go around the house, or access your movies from anywhere there is a solid internet connection.

The SteamOS is brilliant.. but it's very limited because of the operating system's limited support for hardware drivers and video streaming (a quick OS transition feature would be nice as well.. like a "boot to windows" button).. the only thing microsoft can do to combat this is to have their software engineers design a "game mode", so to speak, of windows that basically puts it into a "light windows" mode in which games can draw even more power from the system.

The biggest difference between PC's and Consoles.. and the primary reason why mobile gaming is gaining such enormous ground against consoles.. is that PC's are not "family" or "social" gaming machines.. they are for one person to sit down and play a game, and yes I understand that playing online can be considered social, however in this context I am talking about real social contact not online.. and consoles, while they deliver the social and family gaming, cost hundreds if not over a thousand dollars to get started.. Valve has the right idea bringing PC's into the living room and that is the direction home computers should be headed anyway.. keep it in the living room and use a small cheap $50 device to stream the computer's desktop over wifi or something (and add some USB ports) to a monitor for work use since you won't need the full capabilities.

My entire point in this is what I said at the top.. in order to evolve.. someone, or Microsoft, needs to create an operating system from the ground up, that is built around the new technology we have today.. not a rehash of the old crap. It needs to work synonymous with tablets, it needs to be best friends with your phone and it needs to be able to utilize the best features that are available today such as streaming videos, games or otherwise to all the devices that most families that own a computer already have. This is the technology revolution and the foundation needs an overhaul or its going to crack, crumble and collapse.

Just my opinions.
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September 28, 2013 3:47:41 PM

I love Steam and I am very interested in what they are going to do but the Piston Steambox, with its $999 price tag is laughable. Why on earth would anyone buy this? The only way the Steambox will work is if it remains in the sub $200 range. Cheaper than consoles or gaming rigs. These are exiting times for gamers, who now have more choices than ever before but people have only so much money and it will be very easy to get lost in the myriad of offerings presented.
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September 28, 2013 3:48:11 PM

Maybe if AMD's Mantle becomes successful, Microsoft will stop screwing their customer.
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September 28, 2013 4:28:03 PM

Many things could happen, but exclusives and comfort zones are still the king. If the, basically identical to Win 7, Win 8 is getting a heavy resistance among your average consumer, imagine the up hill battle the totally different Steam OS will face. Anything is possible, and I welcome Steam OS with open arms, if for nothing else than improving driver support on linux, but I am not expecting much.
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September 28, 2013 5:25:08 PM

Just port all of the Halo games to PC, problem solved. Win for Windows 8 and Microsoft.
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September 28, 2013 5:57:28 PM

Have they completely side-stepped the need for Microsoft DirectX *and* Microsoft .NET?
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September 28, 2013 6:21:52 PM

"To some degree, Steam Machines will be Microsoft's primary enemy."

true, but steamOS is free and open. that means - crazy idea - MS could make their own steambox.

the steam announcement page also says "We’re working with many of the media services you know and love.". 'working with' means they don't have it yet. MS already has media services ready to go via xbox live. they could write an xbox live app that gives users instant access to media services.
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September 28, 2013 6:49:13 PM

Quote:
The Steam Machines initiative, as well as AMD's Mantle API, shows that the gaming industry outside the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo trio wants change.

Mantle API = Xbox One graphics API = Microsoft. Mantle came from AMD working WITH Microsoft. They're just bringing it over to PC gaming to improve performance and help ease porting concerns.

Kevin, this and the "death of consoles because of Wii U" comment make this whole article seem silly. I mean, I'm sure SteamOS and Gabe makes you stiff and all, but consoles and Windows gaming aren't dead yet. Mantle is a Windows API, that uses DirectX 11.x HLSL, for example. Gabe's just pissed because he fears losing Steam's near-monopoly on PC digital distribution, and he wants a cut of the console market too.
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September 28, 2013 7:57:00 PM

If Valve gets this right, it will be an one-side slaughter, and I certainly hope they do get it right. However, I know it's going to go wrong, like any other company, user testing isn't their strong suit.
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September 28, 2013 10:06:58 PM

cobra5000 - $999 for a full blown computer that can still run windows but just doesn't have it installed isn't that expensive especially considering you will have games that cost $10-40 less than the console competitor.. assume the middle road of $30, over 14 games.. $420 in savings.. it now cost roughly the same as a console.

spectrewind - The need for Direct X has been gone for quite some time now. OpenCL / GL or whatever version they are on now has relieved the need to be reliant on Direct X.. especially since microsoft has said their focus is no longer on Direct X and its sort of a side project for them now.

Tolham - The steambox won't be Microsoft's "enemy" so to speak, as windows isn't simply a gaming platform its a full blown OS for every category of user while SteamOS is strictly for gamer's who know what they are doing... Steambox is for the gamer laymen. Good point about the media services though, it wouldn't surprise me if some shady deals blocked SteamOS's access to that stuff altogether.

Alextheblue - Mantle API does not = xbox one graphics api. It is an API that is for all consoles that are in the current generation. All of the consoles use x86 architecture and AMD CPU/GPU's meaning AMD is in a prime seat to bridge the gap from consoles to PC with an easy transition API. This was their ingenuity, not Microsoft's.

KelvinTy - As much as we would all like that to happen.. just from this perspective they are starting with a handicap.. their OS is limited with the number of games they can play, they have no media streaming as of this moment, their hardware support is limited.. SteamOS isn't the major leap PC gaming needs, but it is a step in the right direction.

A secondary thought about what could make SteamOS a much better service aside from the obvious media services and Social networking functions they need to implement.. working with the hardware companies to develop "light" drivers that are stored on a database like Microsoft's where the only drivers it installs are the essentials.
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September 28, 2013 10:29:03 PM

The true win for Steam is if people install SteamOS on their home computers and duel boot windows/Steam. People who install Steam buy games from steam. Regardless of hardware, the software is where the profit is.
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September 29, 2013 12:54:54 AM

Quote:
Have they completely side-stepped the need for Microsoft DirectX *and* Microsoft .NET?
I don't see that many games using .NET, due to the unpredictable nature of the garbage collector. Some indies do use though. Of course, there is a Linux implementation (http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page), but I don't know how good it is.
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September 29, 2013 1:07:06 AM

I love how everyone keeps shouting "streaming" at the top of their lungs but few countries/cities actually have the infrastructure in place to provide that.

An even lesser percentage of people can afford a connection that'll let them stream games.

I'm even willing to argue that it'll be cheaper to buy a console/gaming PC/ Steam Machine than to stream games.

Local streaming has a far greater chance of winning out in the short run, and perhaps in the long run too.
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September 29, 2013 2:15:02 AM

Xaephod, why would you dual boot? If you already have Windows then run Steam on that and have *all* your games and all your other software
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September 29, 2013 3:05:16 AM

How many people dual-boot? How many people dual-boot Linux? Seeing as it occupies only 0.9% of the desktop market how many of those have got Windows running on the same machine? Of those that already do, how many play games on steam and how many of those will want to play their whole collection not just the ones ported to SteamOS?

This is a simple numbers game, you the individual can have whatever setup you want, but the companies out there cannot look at you as an individual despite all the claims from the marketing team and then need to appeal to a market comprised in the multiples of tens of millions of people.

In time the SteamOS initiative may well take off, but only if people are not inconvenienced in the usage of their existing software. That includes existing Linux users, despite SteamOS being Linux based there has been no information as to it's accessibility for running other types of software. Will I be able to install Open Office? Will I be able to have XBMC on it? Can I have my printer running from it? Or will it be an inaccessible front-end that I cannot get out of and the only thing on offer is the gaming platform and a few selected add-ons like Netflix or Hulu?

It is very early days, this shows a lot of promise, if they can give you a consumer and gamer friendly front-end, but also the ability to jump out of the front-end and get into the guts and use it like any other Linux distro, then it will be a competitor OS to Windows. If not then Gabe's rant at Windows is all hyperbole as SteamOS will not be competing against Windows at all. It would be nothing more than a Linux based console, boxed off and have a game selection similar to consoles but without all your favourite AAA titles, which would rank it lower than a Wii in the market.

So c'mon Gabe, what's it gonna be? Free SteamOS!!!
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September 29, 2013 5:25:48 AM

I'm amazed at some of the posts that I simply gave up reading. As it stands there is next to ZERO reasons to have this new OS... I'll try it and in all honesty I'm DAMN glad that it'll be free as it HAS to be free.

" that have CPU's and GPU's powerful enough to stream those desktops to your tablets" - That would be called Remote Desktop and it's nearly there.

"The SteamOS is brilliant.. " - Really? Are you a beta tester?

"I don't see that many games using .NET" - Last night I started playing Transformers, Fall of Cybertron and... that required .net 3.5.
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September 29, 2013 5:26:17 AM

I'm amazed at some of the posts that I simply gave up reading. As it stands there is next to zero reasons to have this new OS... I'll try it and in all honesty I'm glad that it'll be free as it has to be free.

" that have CPU's and GPU's powerful enough to stream those desktops to your tablets" - That would be called Remote Desktop and it's nearly there.

"The SteamOS is brilliant.. " - Really? Are you a beta tester?

"I don't see that many games using .NET" - Last night I started playing Transformers, Fall of Cybertron and... that required .net 3.5.
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September 29, 2013 6:08:25 AM

Sadly, most of MMORPG are still DirectX dependent but can run on Linux via Wine, the hard part is Korean/Chinese made MMORPG includes anti hacking tools (which are mostly useless though) cannot run on Linux.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 29, 2013 8:14:07 AM

I have a feeling another big obstacle will be the end user understanding that a game does not have to be maxed out to be fun. I can see all the whining now about how their prebuilt Steam Machine can't play games at very high settings, so they can't play the game.
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September 30, 2013 2:50:29 AM

Half Life 3 exclusive to SteamOS. Now that will really hit Microsoft hard.
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September 30, 2013 5:51:53 AM

Who needs media streaming today? I have a roku, bluray (2 each), ps2, xbox360 etc, tablet and PC. There is nothing I can't already get to my tv via 3-6 other ways...LOL. I also have plex and playon (not to mention vlc which is another way) which cover anything from the PC's in the house. Streaming isn't a feature I need these days.

A steambox (or any console type device) can get streaming when they get around to it. I don't know anyone that doesn't have multiple ways to get media to their tv already. Just make some great gaming boxes cheaply and powerful with great games in the pipe. I'm all for anything NOT MS/Sony that comes with $20 games that are just as good as $60-70 console games. Just make sure I get FUN factor and I'll even let graphics slide some. Torchlights were better than Diablo3 to me. $20 vs. $60. I would have paid $20 for Legends of Grimrock, but got it for $13...LOL. You can make great games for $20 and FAR more people can afford them and piracy goes away. There is no point in my pirating something when it's GREAT fun for $20 with little to no DRM.
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September 30, 2013 6:02:37 AM

somebodyspecial said:
You can make great games for $20 and FAR more people can afford them and piracy goes away. There is no point in my pirating something when it's GREAT fun for $20 with little to no DRM.


Idealistic tripe.

http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Saving-a-penny----pirat...

I know people who STILL pirate plenty of Steam games that go on sale for under $10 with some frequency.
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September 30, 2013 6:27:26 AM

damianrobertjones: I'm amazed at some of the posts that I simply gave up reading. As it stands there is next to ZERO reasons to have this new OS... I'll try it and in all honesty I'm DAMN glad that it'll be free as it HAS to be free.'

And yet you are the one who tries to justify existence of win 8 till the last breath dispite win 7 is out there. Unless you think win 7 is garbage which I don't think was your opinion in times when Microsoft marketed that beloved child.:]
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September 30, 2013 6:31:42 AM

softplacetoland said:
damianrobertjones: I'm amazed at some of the posts that I simply gave up reading. As it stands there is next to ZERO reasons to have this new OS... I'll try it and in all honesty I'm DAMN glad that it'll be free as it HAS to be free.'

And yet you are the one who tries to justify existence of win 8 till the last breath dispite win 7 is out there. Unless you think win 7 is garbage which I don't think was your opinion in times when Microsoft marketed that beloved child.:]


Why does one have to justify the existence of WIndows 8? The reason for its existence is obvious. Ever try using Windows 7 on some sort of a mobile platform? It ain't pretty. An OS which works well on mobile and equally well on a desktop makes a great deal of sense.

That being said, obviously, a lot of people who have no need for using Windows on a mobile platform won't want to move on. That's fine, and many of us people who have found Windows 8 to suit our needs better than 7 are just fine with that. What personally bugs me is why deny the painfully obvious reasons for the development of Windows 8?
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September 30, 2013 6:58:28 AM

LOL I can't believe the author of this articly cites the struggling Wii-u as if it validates any remarks of the death of the console industry.
The console industry is making BILLIONS and will continue to do so, Nintendo's mistakes with the Wii-u are irrelevant.
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September 30, 2013 7:11:05 AM

Honestly I'd rather see Steam OS set it sights for a new PC gaming platform, not a new console platform. MS has steadily pushed developers away from Windows and towards Xbox. Developers need another PC OS to focus on. Hopefully with an API that allows low-level close to metal programming.
Steambox will never compete with the likes of Xbox and PS4. but it could easily replace a windows gaming PC, I'm sure developers are jumping at a chance to make good PC games on linux, they just need a good API.

I for one, only use Windows OS because of games. If I could get a good selection of quality PC games on linux, I'd never use Windows again, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 30, 2013 7:47:41 AM

softplacetoland said:
damianrobertjones: I'm amazed at some of the posts that I simply gave up reading. As it stands there is next to ZERO reasons to have this new OS... I'll try it and in all honesty I'm DAMN glad that it'll be free as it HAS to be free.'

And yet you are the one who tries to justify existence of win 8 till the last breath dispite win 7 is out there. Unless you think win 7 is garbage which I don't think was your opinion in times when Microsoft marketed that beloved child.:]

Windows is not really a great gaming OS. It has a lot of extra overhead and is not a real time OS. Because of the lack of real time, you occasionally see stutters here and there.

I don't know how well SteamOS will improve on Windows weaknesses, but there is a potential to have a better OS for gaming than Windows. I have my doubts at it improving things, given that it is built on Linux, and not built from the ground up, but there is definitely room to improve Windows for gaming.
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October 1, 2013 1:47:35 AM

I don't know why journalists are wishing consoles dead all the time. Perhaps they can't stand people having fun. Probably the same phenomena as them dissing arena bands that still actually delivers some entertainment.
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October 26, 2013 1:38:27 PM

Saying that the death of the gaming console wasn't prematurely announced and using wii u as an example only reflects how little you actually understanding console gaming versus the early preferences of children. Nintendo used a very successful formula in targeting children but failed to translate that into gaming that evolved as their audience did clearing the way for Sony and Microsoft. We see again the attraction of the handheld and simplicity of games and a disconnect. Instead of a continuum we have adoption in a wave form. May the smartest win by an appropriate connecting of these dots.
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October 26, 2013 9:00:05 PM

stevejnb said:
somebodyspecial said:
You can make great games for $20 and FAR more people can afford them and piracy goes away. There is no point in my pirating something when it's GREAT fun for $20 with little to no DRM.


Idealistic tripe.

http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Saving-a-penny----pirat...

I know people who STILL pirate plenty of Steam games that go on sale for under $10 with some frequency.


Not talking about EVERY pirate. There are clearly some people who will never buy anything, but then we're not talking about them anyway. I'm talking about the people who refuse to pay $60 or just plain can't afford it, but would gladly pay $10-20. Steam is pulling down $1.5B a year on that tripe. You're talking about the people who could never be convinced to pay a dime. I'm not. Gog isn't going broke either. NO DRM at all on ANY of their games. But they still sell right? The Witcher, Witcher 2, part 3 coming. No DRM if bought on gog. Do you think it's easier to sell a $60 game with DRM or a $20 game without it? I only buy gog games just due to the DRM elsewhere.
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October 26, 2013 9:31:02 PM

Somebodyspecial, did you read that link? Those people you say who will "never buy anything"... There are a *lot* of them. Make games as cheap as you want and the problem will persist. The whole spiel you initially gave of "well if they just make games cheaper, piracy goes away!" is, again, idealistic tripe, and just a way to shuffle blame off of greedy thieving gamers and all onto the companies for overcharging.

There are lots of those greedy, thieving gamers. Lots of good ones too, but if you actually try and push the idea that all of those greedy gamers are just good gamers unwilling to pay... BS. Given the chance, gamers have shown that *lots* of them will rip off real up and coming indie devs right along side the big evil megacorporations.

What I'm talking about is what you were originally talking about, and that was about price dropping magically making it so that "piracy goes away." It won't, because many, many gamers don't give a rat's arse about supporting the people who make their games in the slightest. And, I never so much as suggested that there weren't legitimate game buyers who paid up-front, so, why are you talking about how legitimate companies are doing well? They always have been despite piracy - but piracy ain't going anywhere, no matter how cheap you make games.
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October 28, 2013 12:54:50 AM

stevejnb said:
Somebodyspecial, did you read that link? Those people you say who will "never buy anything"... There are a *lot* of them. Make games as cheap as you want and the problem will persist. The whole spiel you initially gave of "well if they just make games cheaper, piracy goes away!" is, again, idealistic tripe, and just a way to shuffle blame off of greedy thieving gamers and all onto the companies for overcharging.

There are lots of those greedy, thieving gamers. Lots of good ones too, but if you actually try and push the idea that all of those greedy gamers are just good gamers unwilling to pay... BS. Given the chance, gamers have shown that *lots* of them will rip off real up and coming indie devs right along side the big evil megacorporations.

What I'm talking about is what you were originally talking about, and that was about price dropping magically making it so that "piracy goes away." It won't, because many, many gamers don't give a rat's arse about supporting the people who make their games in the slightest. And, I never so much as suggested that there weren't legitimate game buyers who paid up-front, so, why are you talking about how legitimate companies are doing well? They always have been despite piracy - but piracy ain't going anywhere, no matter how cheap you make games.


"if you actually try and push the idea that all of those greedy gamers are just good gamers unwilling to pay... BS"

You keep saying all and aren't getting the point. I already said some would never give a dime. Steam has converted a LOT of pirates. Gog not so much as it's a bit of a different audience (though they are getting into new games also, hence dropping the old name). I'm not dismissing any thieves guilt, just saying you can stop a lot of it by not charging $60 for 15hrs of fun. At those prices you are ASKING for it and even honest people start thinking about stealing it especially when as an honest person you get treated like a thief to begin with (DRM). You sound like RIAA/MPAA/BSA...LOL. There's so many people pirating we're going out of business...ROFL. Whatever. You keep talking about the people I'm excluding for the conversation anyway. There are those who will NEVER buy. So that isn't really lost money right? The game here, is to get the ones that WOULD buy if they could or it was worth it. Get it? Clearly I'm not talking about the people you're discussing. So quit wasting my time with your BS. There is no DRM you can't crack, so you'll never stop THOSE people in your link. Again, I'm not talking about the ones who would rather jump off a bridge than part with a dollar.

Netflix has stopped a lot of pirates. Understand? Same point. At $8 a month I have no reason to pilfer anything as they have so much crap to watch why waste my time (not that I did pirate before, just making the point)? That's a common thought for a lot of people. I'm sure it stops a lot of burning too...LOL. What's the point? Between Amazon/Netflix for under $20 you pretty much have everything you could ever want and they keep adding more weekly/monthly. As a person in IT I can tell you, I know dozens who no longer bother pirating movies/shows. But the entire IT dept has no cable tv except 2 people that have kids (I don't think they understand how much kids crap is on netflix or they'd dump cable too). Everyone has TV ears (OTA), netflix and maybe AOD (nobody has amazon alone, too small of a catalog). Movie swapping went to zero. As a bonus the ones on AOD also get free 2day shipping yearly. A few have bluray or dvd subscriptions at netflix on top (maybe they pirate stuff...I don't know).
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