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Steam Machines Will Be as Open as Possible

By - Source: GamesIndustry International | B 15 comments

EA's Origin installed on a Steam Machine will be just fine for Gabe Newell.

If you assumed that Valve would prohibit and/or discourage EA from slapping its Origin client on Steam Machines, then think again. Valve Software head honcho Gabe Newell said on Thursday that he wants Steam Machines to be as open as possible, and if Electronic Arts wants to put Origin on the platform, he would be just peachy keen about it (my words, not his).

Of course, what would it cost Steam Machine makers to have any service running out of the box other than Steam? Valve charges a licensing fee whether it's SteamOS or the pre-installed Steam client for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. EA may do the same since its Origin client is also proprietary software.

"In very simple terms, you need a license to redistribute our proprietary Steam Client, whether on its own or whether as part of SteamOS, and you need a license to use any of our trademarks in a commercial context," Valve tells Steam Machine builders. "That includes, without limitation, using the Steam symbol and terms like Steam, SteamOS and Steam Machine in any of your commercial communication, whether from product design, advertising or PR. And unless you are a licensee, you should not publicly suggest any connection to Valve or Steam."

As GamesIndustry International points out, Valve and EA had a little "spat" several years ago when Steam's terms and conditions were changed, forcing a number of EA games to be removed from the service (which likely help grow EA's Origin platform anyway). EA COO Peter Moore said the big beef centered on Valve wanting a cut of revenue in turn for not allowing EA to send patches and content directly to customers. This wasn't exactly a "feud," but turned into a relationship that isn't quite so rosy.

What that means for Steam Machines and EA's Origin is unknown at this point. The whole point of these machines is to breathe new life into PC gaming, and as Newell said, remain as open as possible in the process. Competing for living room space with the heavyweight consoles is also the point, of course, of a fight that may be difficult for the builds that take the high road price-wise this fall.

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  • 0 Hide
    plasmastorm , January 17, 2014 7:56 AM
    So has Tom's got a license? ;) 
  • -3 Hide
    iamadev , January 17, 2014 8:10 AM
    So the "free" Steam OS is going to actually cost the system manufacturers. Isn't the whole point of Steam OS to be a free alternative to windows?

    I'm sorry but if the choice is even a few dollars for Steam OS I would rather pay the extra $30 or so that an OEM pays for a Windows license.Factor in this with the fact that they have recently removed the touch pad from their "unique" controller making it just like any other controller except with some weird analog D pad which is not likely to be compatible with most games that are simply made for the 360 controller in mind and you have a situation where this is just one big farce.

    Valve are trying to sound like they are offering something free which will be everything to gamers but realistically few games will be usable on it, systems will be as expensive or more so than regular gaming PCs and they are absolutely delusional if they think that EA will be supporting them.

    The funny thing is that it is likely that one of the main driving forces being Valve building this OS in the first place is that Win8 had its own app store as one of its areas of focus, especially for touch based platforms, yet Steam OS is a storefront first and foremost. It is everything Gabe complained about Win8 yet with so much missing, and he still expects companies to pay to distribute their storefront for them.
  • -6 Hide
    rnkchhabra , January 17, 2014 8:15 AM
    Steam OS – Make your own Steam Machinehttp://raunakc.com/steam-os-make-your-own-steam-machine/
  • 0 Hide
    iamadev , January 17, 2014 8:18 AM
    Quote:
    Steam OS – Make your own Steam Machinehttp://raunakc.com/steam-os-make-your-own-steam-machine/


    Nice promo of your website.

    You too can build a PC and install a gimped OS that can play some of your PC games and nothing else.

    If Steam can run on Linux and certain games (the same games that work on Steam OS) work on it then why in the hell would you not just install Linux and at least have a fully fledged OS to use.
  • 1 Hide
    Jgriff , January 17, 2014 8:30 AM
    Ahhh if only they limited hardware configuration to i5+i7 and gtx 6+7 series. Devs could have gotten some really optimized/ powerful games out of that.

    And pushed the devs of aaa games to make all their current games compatible with Linux. How hard could that be? This thing would really take off.
  • 4 Hide
    jhansonxi , January 17, 2014 9:10 AM
    Quote:
    So the "free" Steam OS is going to actually cost the system manufacturers. Isn't the whole point of Steam OS to be a free alternative to windows?

    To call them a "Steam Machine" requires a license since Valve's trademark is involved.

    Steam machines are much more open than game consoles. How many game consoles use Windows besides Xbox?
  • 2 Hide
    Sir_Stig , January 17, 2014 9:30 AM
    Quote:
    So the "free" Steam OS is going to actually cost the system manufacturers. Isn't the whole point of Steam OS to be a free alternative to windows?I'm sorry but if the choice is even a few dollars for Steam OS I would rather pay the extra $30 or so that an OEM pays for a Windows license.Factor in this with the fact that they have recently removed the touch pad from their "unique" controller making it just like any other controller except with some weird analog D pad which is not likely to be compatible with most games that are simply made for the 360 controller in mind and you have a situation where this is just one big farce.Valve are trying to sound like they are offering something free which will be everything to gamers but realistically few games will be usable on it, systems will be as expensive or more so than regular gaming PCs and they are absolutely delusional if they think that EA will be supporting them.The funny thing is that it is likely that one of the main driving forces being Valve building this OS in the first place is that Win8 had its own app store as one of its areas of focus, especially for touch based platforms, yet Steam OS is a storefront first and foremost. It is everything Gabe complained about Win8 yet with so much missing, and he still expects companies to pay to distribute their storefront for them.
    The steam controller still has the thumb touchPAD, it merely has lost the middle touchSCREEN.I also think you are missing the point of why steam machines exist: to make powering up the system and jumping into a game as easy as any other console. Judging by their other comments, they seem to want to make SteamOS a total media solution easily navigatable with a controller, much in the way that many console users use theirs as such (I personally use my PS3 for movies and streaming 99% of the time). The fact you can dual boot into another OS is simply icing on the cake.
  • -3 Hide
    iamadev , January 17, 2014 9:31 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    So the "free" Steam OS is going to actually cost the system manufacturers. Isn't the whole point of Steam OS to be a free alternative to windows?

    To call them a "Steam Machine" requires a license since Valve's trademark is involved.

    Steam machines are much more open than game consoles. How many game consoles use Windows besides Xbox?


    Whether you are paying for the name or the software license is entirely inconsequential to the end user that is ultimately paying the price. I compared the Steam machines to windows PCs as they will be playing PC games and not console games, the pricing is also comparable to windows PCs and not consoles. Consoles are far cheaper and far more capable as gaming machines, they also come fully capable of playing media out of the box.

    The fact remains that Steam machines are price comparable with Windows machines (they are certainly not noticeably cheaper) and as such will always be compared to them. I do think that if anyone really wants a free open source OS they should just get Linux, it will have the same game library support as Steam OS anyway yet it will be fully capable as an OS where Steam OS really is not. For everyone else there are Windows machines that are the same price yet have a much more vast games library as well as a library of software that will never be available on Steam OS.
  • 2 Hide
    newbie_mcnoob , January 17, 2014 10:45 AM
    So we can get Origin DRM on top of Steam DRM? Now all we need is some Ubisoft DRM in there.
  • 2 Hide
    Sir_Stig , January 17, 2014 10:54 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    So the "free" Steam OS is going to actually cost the system manufacturers. Isn't the whole point of Steam OS to be a free alternative to windows?

    To call them a "Steam Machine" requires a license since Valve's trademark is involved.

    Steam machines are much more open than game consoles. How many game consoles use Windows besides Xbox?


    Whether you are paying for the name or the software license is entirely inconsequential to the end user that is ultimately paying the price. I compared the Steam machines to windows PCs as they will be playing PC games and not console games, the pricing is also comparable to windows PCs and not consoles. Consoles are far cheaper and far more capable as gaming machines, they also come fully capable of playing media out of the box.

    The fact remains that Steam machines are price comparable with Windows machines (they are certainly not noticeably cheaper) and as such will always be compared to them. I do think that if anyone really wants a free open source OS they should just get Linux, it will have the same game library support as Steam OS anyway yet it will be fully capable as an OS where Steam OS really is not. For everyone else there are Windows machines that are the same price yet have a much more vast games library as well as a library of software that will never be available on Steam OS.


    The whole point of steamOS is that it will make the user experience closer to consoles while enabling all the extra graphics available to pc users. It isn't supposed to look and feel like a desktop OS, but like a console OS. I'm not saying I would have made the exact same choices, but you can't fault them with trying to steal some console sales and consequently game sales.
  • 1 Hide
    JD88 , January 17, 2014 11:03 AM
    The fact that Steam Machines use PC parts and it's called Steam OS confuses a lot of people. They think these things compete with Windows. They don't. These are designed to go in the living room and compete with Xbox and Playstation. They use a lightweight OS which has a sole purpose of playing games. They don't have a huge library of games yet, but no console does at launch. Comparing it to Windows is irrelevant. If you are looking for a Windows alternative, just install your Debian based Linux distribution of choice and install Steam.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , January 17, 2014 11:40 AM
    hang on, of course Gabe doesn't mind Origin being installed because you CAN'T. SteamOS is a streamlined OS designed purely for playing games and streaming media through Steam. It is NOT a desktop OS, so how would you go about installing Origin on it?If you work Origin in to the Steam client then that's detracting from the entire point. And surely the minute you put Windows on a Steam Machine it stops being a Steam Machine.
  • 2 Hide
    JD88 , January 17, 2014 12:44 PM
    Quote:
    hang on, of course Gabe doesn't mind Origin being installed because you CAN'T. SteamOS is a streamlined OS designed purely for playing games and streaming media through Steam. It is NOT a desktop OS, so how would you go about installing Origin on it?If you work Origin in to the Steam client then that's detracting from the entire point. And surely the minute you put Windows on a Steam Machine it stops being a Steam Machine.


    Actually, you could easily install whatever you want. The Steam part of Steam OS is just an application running on top of a very lightweight version of Linux. There is even a Gnome based desktop you can access if you really wanted to. You can install any Debian compatible application on it. Origin would be relatively simple to install. It would probably just be launched through the steam front end like any app would.

    Check out the desktop here:

    http://www.howtogeek.com/179883/how-to-use-the-steamos-desktop/
  • 0 Hide
    childofthekorn , January 17, 2014 4:23 PM
    Quote:
    So we can get Origin DRM on top of Steam DRM? Now all we need is some Ubisoft DRM in there.
    Hope you realize that its just as easy as installing it on the desktop. The point of the question was to ask how much Gabe wants to lock down SteamOS from competition.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , January 18, 2014 11:51 AM
    Quote:
    Actually, you could easily install whatever you want. The Steam part of Steam OS is just an application running on top of a very lightweight version of Linux. There is even a Gnome based desktop you can access if you really wanted to. You can install any Debian compatible application on it. Origin would be relatively simple to install. It would probably just be launched through the steam front end like any app would.

    Check out the desktop here:

    http://www.howtogeek.com/179883/how-to-use-the-steamos-desktop/


    I know what SteamOS is, and I know you can install it on whatever you want, because at the end of the day the "steam box" is just a PC, but I think you've missed my point, and if my understanding of SteamOS isn't correct then please somebody enlighten me.

    Isn't SteamOS supposed to be, in effect, a console operating system and interface like you'd get on a PS3 or XBox? i.e. you get (essentially) the Steam client in Big Picture mode to access your games, stream media and set up game streaming? Isn't the Debian desktop just a convenience at this point because of beta testing? I'm sure the desktop will not be in the final product.

    So in this case, with just Steam client in Big Picture mode, how are you going to install Origin? Why would you even want to install Origin? And if at the end of the day the Debian desktop stays in the final version of SteamOS, so you can escape out to a computer and do what you want, what is the entire point of this concept? What is a Steam Machine then? Why not just stick with Windows/OS X/Ubuntu (for example) and whack the Steam client on?

    I don't believe for one minute that Gabe wants, or even intended, Steam Machines to be "open" because only geeks and tech heads even know what an open system is, and frankly we're not the target market for a Steam machine. If this entire thing isn't supposed to be a highly specialised Debian core with Steam Big Picture hard-coded as the sole interface to your Steam-based gaming catalog and services, then I really don't see the point.