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

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.

  • edogawa
    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.
    Reply
  • neieus
    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
    Reply
  • chimera201
    Why does Tom's always mention Xi3's piston when it hasn't been officially announced as a steam machine?
    Reply
  • everygamer
    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.
    Reply
  • heero yuy
    @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?
    Reply
  • razor512
    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.)
    Reply
  • rwinches
    @razor512
    Wow guess you didn't look at the main news list.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/valve-steam-box-prototype-kepler,24555.html
    Reply
  • Sangeet Khatri
    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.
    Reply
  • Krisk7
    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.
    Reply
  • JD88
    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.
    Reply