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Sony Says It Will Keep an Eye on Valve's SteamOS

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 33 comments

Sony is eying SteamOS too.

Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison admitted that the company plans to keep a close eye on Valve Software's invasion into the Xbox space with SteamOS and the Steam Machines initiative. Now Sony UK boss Fergal Gara is saying the same thing, admitting that Steam Machines could pose a potential threat to consoles.

"In this market you've always got to expect some broadside disruptive technologies to come along, and it seems like a potentially good example of that. I haven't had a chance to study it in much detail," he told Eurogamer in an interview. "What I would say is, I don't think anything about it is significantly rattling our confidence at this point in time and what we're doing as PlayStation. We have to keep an eye on Valve and many other competitors."

But Gara also admitted that the company can't simply ignore the SteamOS initiative either. "Steam is arguably the pre-eminent digital download service for gaming. So we'll watch it," he added.

If the upcoming Xi3 Piston is a sign of things to come regarding the Steam Machines invasion, Microsoft and Sony may not have much to worry about. The "console" will be 4 inches square in size and pack a powerful AMD punch, but will sport an equally powerful price tag of $999 USD. The device will likely ship with SteamOS installed along with an unknown list of Linux-based games. However, unlike consoles, the Piston is easily upgradable so that owners aren't locked in to a specific hardware set for nearly a decade.

"Clearly there is a lot of excitement around gaming in the living room on the biggest screen in the house, often times connected to a great sound system and creating that real intensely high quality game experience with a very powerful CPU and a very powerful GPU," Microsoft's Harrison said last week.

"Valve is a very impressive company, and obviously we're going to be watching what they do with great interest," he added.

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  • 17 Hide
    chimera201 , October 6, 2013 2:04 AM
    Why does Tom's always mention Xi3's piston when it hasn't been officially announced as a steam machine?
  • 13 Hide
    neieus , October 6, 2013 1:36 AM
    After reading this I have to wonder.. Did the Sony UK boss channel his inner Palpatine with that last line? lol

    Valve is a very impressive company, and obviously we're going to be watching what they do with great interest
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    edogawa , October 6, 2013 1:29 AM
    Sony has nothing to worry about, PS4 will be a huge hit, and last just as long as the PS3. Consumers love simplicity, and that will be what the PS4 provides besides a ton of gaming and media features all in a nice package for only 400 dollars.
  • 13 Hide
    neieus , October 6, 2013 1:36 AM
    After reading this I have to wonder.. Did the Sony UK boss channel his inner Palpatine with that last line? lol

    Valve is a very impressive company, and obviously we're going to be watching what they do with great interest
  • 17 Hide
    chimera201 , October 6, 2013 2:04 AM
    Why does Tom's always mention Xi3's piston when it hasn't been officially announced as a steam machine?
  • 3 Hide
    everygamer , October 6, 2013 6:45 AM
    SteamOS sounds to be linux based, this is likely going to be limited tonjust games built with openGL and/or ported to linux. This would be a much larger threat if it supported any windows based game (opengl/directx) without any need for conversion/porting. This platform choice will likely limit SteamOS game library. Regular steam running in big box mode sitting in your entertainment center would be a much bigger threat to Microsoft and Sony.
  • -1 Hide
    heero yuy , October 6, 2013 7:26 AM
    @everygamer
    wasn't there a thing a bit ago where valve was looking to find a way to quickly port direct x to openGL or something?
  • -1 Hide
    razor512 , October 6, 2013 7:31 AM
    I wonder how upgradeable the steam box will be, the size seems to point so design changes such as custom cooling solutions and overall the thermal limits, (eg upgradeable GPU's on the old alienware laptops failed because it was difficult to get new and faster GPU's that match the thermal limits of the old GPU, and thus, upgrades were minute and expensive.

    For the steam box to be successful, I should be able to buy any component that is upgradeable from a normal computer parts store, eg I should be able to go to newegg and buy a GTX 770 and install it into the steam box and have it work.

    Other than that, I can see the steam box being used for convenient PC gaming for novice users. for example, if there are different tiers of steam box (allowing for different price points but same or similar hardware at each price point, then steam can have special profiles (kinda like how the crappy nvidia geforce experience works, but actually work correctly) . Steam can test each game and go through all of the settings and from a humans perspective, create custom settings that balances the best looks with acceptable frame rates. (most game presets now will not balance the settings properly (eg on limited hardware, on some games, the medium preset may offer 50FPS but look like crap, but a user using a mixture of low, medium, and high settings will maintain the same frame rate, but have the game look much better where it counts.)
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , October 6, 2013 7:41 AM
    @razor512
    Wow guess you didn't look at the main news list.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/valve-steam-box-prototype-kepler,24555.html
  • -5 Hide
    Sangeet Khatri , October 6, 2013 7:42 AM
    Seriously, Sony you need not worry. You guys just spoiled the party for xBox.

    While for gaming PC would always be better, but the PS4 provides awesome features and performance for $400 and at a budget the PS4 would always be better just because it is Awesome for the price and way ahead of what it is competing with (yes, Microsoft, it is you.)

    Anyways, continue the awesomeness, you guys are pretty good at yhe stuff.
  • -4 Hide
    Krisk7 , October 6, 2013 8:13 AM
    Kevin, Piston is crap, why are you even mentioning it in the article? You are making a laughing stock of yourself. Just compare it to the specs of the test machines to be distributed by Valve - none of them have integrated graphics as Piston.
  • 2 Hide
    JD88 , October 6, 2013 12:17 PM
    I'm not sure why everyone is making such a big deal about the fact that the Steambox doesn't play Windows games. Do the other consoles play Windows games? No. In fact, the Steamboxes will come with a larger library of games on day 1 than any console. Since all of the systems are x86, porting games really shouldn't be that difficult. In fact, the PS4 OS is very similar to Linux already.

    I'm not sure if it's the fault of Valve or the press, but this thing is getting marketed as an alternative to the Windows PC, and not the consoles which it competes more closely with. Think of this as a console that you can customize and build to your own tastes, not a PC. It's targeted at your couch and the living room.
  • 1 Hide
    chaospower , October 6, 2013 12:31 PM
    Quote:
    Why does Tom's always mention Xi3's piston when it hasn't been officially announced as a steam machine?


    Well, with a price tag of a 1000$ for a PC that's equipped with an AMD APU, it ain't gonna sell itself you know!
  • -1 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 6, 2013 2:07 PM
    For double the cost of a console, I would hope I am stuck with the same hardware for all that time, because if I needed to upgrade at an extra expense I might as well build my own gaming PC for half the cost and upgrade along the way
  • -1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , October 6, 2013 3:14 PM
    couldn't you potentially run steam OS on the x86 consoles......?
  • -1 Hide
    spectre25 , October 6, 2013 5:06 PM
    Seriously is Xi3 paying Kevin Parrish to mention the piston in every vaguely connected story as part of their deceptive marketing? It doesn't "pack a punch" and isn't suitable for gaming, particularly at that price. Please stop exaggerating it's performance and linking it to Valve's steam machines when we don't even know if it is one.
  • -4 Hide
    Duckhunt , October 6, 2013 6:37 PM
    Seriously, SteamOS? how about steamy plopping OS? Be bold Sony. The media will notice it much more and so will the public.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , October 6, 2013 6:43 PM
    Quote:
    I'm not sure why everyone is making such a big deal about the fact that the Steambox doesn't play Windows games. Do the other consoles play Windows games? No. In fact, the Steamboxes will come with a larger library of games on day 1 than any console. Since all of the systems are x86, porting games really shouldn't be that difficult. In fact, the PS4 OS is very similar to Linux already.

    I'm not sure if it's the fault of Valve or the press, but this thing is getting marketed as an alternative to the Windows PC, and not the consoles which it competes more closely with. Think of this as a console that you can customize and build to your own tastes, not a PC. It's targeted at your couch and the living room.


    JD, my personal issue is this... When you buy a console, you more or less get at least the promise of exclusive games distinct from what you can get on a PC. Currently, does the Steambox do *anything* that a PC running Steam can't already do, other than skip the licensing fee for Windows an play a small fraction of Steam's actual games? It has no exclusive titles to differentiate it unless Valve does something crazy like making HL3 SteamOS exclusive.

  • -5 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 6, 2013 7:23 PM
    can you imagine if sony and Microsoft teamed up to take on steam and allowed interconsole online gameplay across both platforms? that would be huge!
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , October 6, 2013 7:58 PM
    The steam systems discussed so far seem either less powerful than a PS4 (piston) or like nothing except a full sized PC with same cost and energy use. In the USA running two PCs might be viable (but still wasteful) but in much of the world energy costs more and you would be looking at 4-500 dollars a year to run it..... On top of that you are only saving 125 dollars or so by using Linux instead of Windows 8....

    In either case the cost is hundreds more than a console.... But possibly without many of the controllers which make consoles a success to start with....

    While I wouldn't write this off entirely, I do not see it being widely adopted. Maybe if some other big players get on board, then it would be more interesting (such as Google bringing full Android support to the x86)
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , October 6, 2013 8:19 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I'm not sure why everyone is making such a big deal about the fact that the Steambox doesn't play Windows games. Do the other consoles play Windows games? No. In fact, the Steamboxes will come with a larger library of games on day 1 than any console. Since all of the systems are x86, porting games really shouldn't be that difficult. In fact, the PS4 OS is very similar to Linux already.

    I'm not sure if it's the fault of Valve or the press, but this thing is getting marketed as an alternative to the Windows PC, and not the consoles which it competes more closely with. Think of this as a console that you can customize and build to your own tastes, not a PC. It's targeted at your couch and the living room.


    JD, my personal issue is this... When you buy a console, you more or less get at least the promise of exclusive games distinct from what you can get on a PC. Currently, does the Steambox do *anything* that a PC running Steam can't already do, other than skip the licensing fee for Windows an play a small fraction of Steam's actual games? It has no exclusive titles to differentiate it unless Valve does something crazy like making HL3 SteamOS exclusive.



    I think that remains to be seen. We don't know if it will carry exclusives or not. I think this argument falls back into the idea of console vs PC. The only thing that makes this any different from the PS4 or Xbone is the fact that it is user customizable, which now doesn't seem like that big of an advantage but wait a couple years when the consoles are showing their age.

    What this offers is console stability and to some degree optimization without the drawbacks that normally come with owning a console such as being a lot less powerful than the gaming PC after a few years. )

    If Valve can offer a Steambox that offers compatible performance to the new consoles for $500-600, this thing will win. If not, it might bust. I think it can be done though.
  • -1 Hide
    cobra5000 , October 6, 2013 8:25 PM
    SteelCity1981, Sony and Microsoft are in competition with each other. Steam is the small player here. Why would they "team up"?
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