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Newell: Steambox racing against Apple, not consoles

Thursday, 31st January 2013 05:09 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has said Steambox and its brethren will race to beat Apple to the living room, while traditional consoles will be left eating dust.

Newell made the comments in a lecture given to the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, as reported by Polygon.

“The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles. I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together,” he said.

“The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform. I think that there’s a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging – I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily.”

To avoid this grimly-painted future of unintelligent AppleBoxes, Newell says Valve has to “make enough progress in the PC space to establish” itself, and “figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room”.

Newell expects a larger number of hardware companies to make their own own bids to establish living room boxes within a year.

“There are going to be a huge set of products that say, ‘If you want something that’s incredibly cheap, at a price point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you’re going to take advantage of the PC that’s running somewhere in your house,” he said.

“It’s like one of those things where afterwards it will seem like it was very simple, when beforehand, everyone sort of denied that it was possible.”

The Valve co-founder said his company is “happy” to be the one to lead this charge because competitors will be quick to follow, offering consumers plenty of options.

“But they’ll have those characteristics. They’ll say, ‘Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I’ll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently,’” he said.

“‘Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.’”

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40 Comments

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  1. Dragon246

    lolwut?
    I don’t know what he is smoking, but valve isnt even near the value of big 3, apple is just on another level. Apple can buy valve lock, stock and barrel just based on its one month profits.
    It seems they have lost focus. I cant understand whether they want steambox or pc to be the future. I am glad that valve is not a one man show, as I dont think Gabe is that much of a visionary and leader.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Christopher Jack

    I think Apple has just about reached their peak. Sure as of right now they could just about take a crap, shove an Apple logo on it & it’d sell by the millions but I know Google’s Android is posing a real challenge for iOS & I don’t think it’ll be too long before the more mainstream Android devices become as relevant as the iPhone.

    The lounge room is the next logical space to tackle but I know Apple will not work with manufacturers like Sony, Samsung & Panasonic to push either OS X or iOS on there & I doubt that even they could get away with selling a premium priced television just for their OS, not with the rise affordable HTPCs that WILL offer much more value for performance.

    I believe Google MAY eventually have Android on most smart TVs in the near future & if they ever intend on taking on gaming consoles, they REALLY need to get gaming publishers like EA & ActiVision behind them.

    Google also needs to improve the GUI making it simple enough for my grandmother to use while functional enough for a tech savvy guy to enjoy mucking around with- something that in my opinion has made Android phones popular although I still think they really need to improve the simplicity side of the coin. Perhaps make give users a choice when they first boot their device for how simple they want their device.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. polygem

    biz competition is not about winning dragon. that’s just some fan superpower fantasies. it’s about a well placed product that sells well and makes profit. steambox could do that. must not kill, own apple, sony, ms to do that. just look at nintendo;) it’s a competition but it’s not about winning at all. it’s about going there, selling there, staying there, selling more.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Samoan Spider

    @2/3 agreed. They shouldn’t rush this though. IOS or android games have struggled to make use of bigger screens for tablets let alone hands off using controllers. With exceptions like dead trigger so they would need to think hard about content. Steam has the content baked in already so just take your time Gabe and the market will find a space for you.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. loki

    total fail incoming

    #5 2 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    And people are expecting Half-Life 3 from this guy? His mind seems to be somewhere else completely.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Telepathic.Geometry

    @2: I don’t think Apple have peaked yet. They are POTENTIALLY poised to take on the living room and the gaming space, as well as essentially replacing the mobile computing market with tablets…

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    Dunno why people are so down on Gabe. He’s obviously very intelligent, and has an awful lot of success. Isn’t it possible that he knows what he’s talking about…

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Old MacDonald

    ” I think that there’s a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging – I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily.””

    Yeah, that’s what I’ve been saying again and again. The only way the next console gen can be a success is if they really step up and offers a huge step forward in computing & graphics power. Because if they are all about the mass market and not the gamers, Apple will move into the exact same niche, and take them down. We all know they’re headed that way.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Da Man

    Racing against Apple with a poor Mac Mini and PC videogames you could play on any other computer.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Old MacDonald

    Lots of people who don’t understand what he’s saying here.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. roadkill

    @11 Lots of people from this community are not too smart. :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Telepathic.Geometry

    Welcome to the internet, where “I’m not sure if he’ll be able to manage that” becomes “He’s a fucking idiot if he thinks he can pull that off”, despite the fact that [he] = highly intelligent, experienced influential successful businessman, and [I] = some guy on the internet who is none of those things…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Da Man

    Nope, internet is the place where insecure fans automatically assume anyone who think their idol is an idiot must be some guy on the internet who’s none of those things..

    #14 2 years ago
  15. BraveArse

    @13 Nail/Hammer/Onthehead =)

    #15 2 years ago
  16. silkvg247

    I don’t get the negativity at all here.

    Unlike other console launches, a steam box would:

    1, Support thousands of titles at launch, with a huge variety ranging from AAA new titles, to retro, to indie.
    1a, And all of these would already be owned if you have a steam account.

    2, Be higher spec than the next gen console (assumption)

    3, Be up gradable (semi assumption)

    4, Have the support of a decent portion of PC gamers who want a living room system without having to hook up their desktop to the TV, or people who need their PC to serve other functions so can’t just give up their office machine.

    5, Be a viable option for console gamers due to the fact that PC titles typically cost less but look better.

    .. That said, I’d personally prefer an option to stream my PC steam games via LAN to my TV through some cut down “streamsteam box”. Hah, see what I did there? But yeah that would be cool, so the box would just be a streamer with controller ports and USB ports and stuff.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. PC_PlayBoy

    One of the advantages of Steam is that its userbase will continue to grow. Next gen console userbase will start at zero and will need to work up a following, thus taking years to get anywhere near Steams 50+ million users.

    MS/Sony/Nintendo should be shitting themselves and if they’re not, then they should be as the next console cycle won’t be like this gen with regards to the number of consoles sold.

    When Steambox gets released it’ll have 50+ million users ready to play, the PS4/720 will start with zero users and with Android/iOS eating into the console and handheld market its a worrying time for the 3 console firms.

    Consoles are on their last legs. MS/Sony and Nintendo’s business models are ancient, relying on closed hardware, expensive software, the hardware being dictated by the platform holder and only one marketplace to buy games digitally I.e. PSN/Xbox Live/eShop. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

    The market has changed since the beginning of last gen, competition is far, far greater and no doubt MS/Sony/Nintendo will feel it over these coming years.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. ManuOtaku

    I think an important rate of console gamers will not be interensted in the steambox or apple devices because this gen there has been a lot of precedents that made an strong picture on the gamers mind, and i mean with the not having the control of the access for your games, PSN outage , the other OS issue, the FIFA issue on the 360, are situations that indicates gamers dont want to loose they control over the access with an always connected online with a subscription model or an account system.

    I think the key thing will be if they will be able to bring gamers offereing multiple choices to gamers, i mean like sony with the PS plus or free PSN, thats a great thing because the consumer can decide which one they like or want to use, maybe if they will offer something like XBLA or PSN, in which you dont have to be always connected in order to play your dowloaded games, then they might cater to a wide portion of console gamers.

    Of course i know that they are aiming at multiple targets here, but console gamers i think are a primary one too, or at least an important one.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. PC_PlayBoy

    @ManuOtaku

    I think an important rate of console gamers will not be interensted in the steambox or apple devices.

    You’re missing the point, it’s not about getting console users, its about pushing Steam into the mass market and expanding the PC userbase.

    Valve already has 50+ million users, they obviously want to expand on that.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. _LarZen_

    Funny how Gabe Newell can go from a God to a idiot in the eyes of the master race. People are so pathetic..

    Personally I think Newell is right, if Apple decided to make a console they have the user base to become a real threat to all the console manufactures and the upcoming Steambox.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ManuOtaku

    #19 pc_ Playboy console gamers ar part of the mass market too, it is now standing for 200+ million home console users, thats an important number.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. PC_PlayBoy

    Personally, i’m done with consoles. Have been since the start of this gen.

    I have 200 odd games on my Steam account and over 20+ games on GOG. I can carry these games to any system, i don’t need to buy another box to play them on and i don’t need to re-buy them. The games are cheaper, online gaming is free, all my mates use the platform too. And i’ve got access to mods as well as create them.

    And when those 4K TV’s become affordable, i won’t need to re-buy HD remakes. My games will already be 4K with a press of a button to change my resolution (or i could go into the config file and change it there).

    Seriously, why should i buy a PS4/720/Wii U? For a few overrated exclusives? Another Halo, another Uncharted?,, another God of War, another Forza, another Gears, another Zelda, another Mario? For closed hardware, expensive software, the hardware being dictated by the platform holder and only one marketplace to buy games digitally I.e. PSN/Xbox Live/eShop. For a system that only offers a baseline experience, whereas on the PC the games are the best they can be.

    Don’t kid yourself people, consoles don’t hold the clout they once did and i’ll be skipping the next iterations of these systems, just like i did this gen.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Erthazus

    A lot of Sony bots does not understand what he said. It’s a shame. But whatever really, Sony fanboys are ignorant cocks anyway.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Christopher Jack

    @23, ALL fanboys are, you included.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. ManuOtaku

    #22 thats your personal preference and i respect that, i think theres a lot of people that think that way, and rightly so, but then again theres also the other side of the coin, people that dont like that, especially if you consider that you might loose your access of the games due external factors you cannot control or have any word in that, that doesnt bode to well for some people, and maybe consoles doesnt hold the clout, but console gamers are an important target, business wise they are interested in us, we represent money like everyone else.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Erthazus

    @24, Jack, your Sony Defence Force butt hurts again? I’m not a fanboy of anything. Good luck talking about something that has nothing to do with Gabe Newell thoughts.

    Fight the system Jackie.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Fin

    @26

    Apart from Call of Duty bro, you fuckin’ love that.
    Also, you’re a graphics fanboy.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Erthazus

    @27, I’m not a CoD Bro. For CoD Bro I need at least to buy BO2 and play the shit out of it and okay, I like beautiful stuff, so I’m a fanboy of beautiful visuals with great frame rate and that is bad? How?

    Hey. Fin, what are you doing here? Linear-Corridor shooter awaits you with crappy frame rate and horrible visuals.

    also, you are out of topic, Bro. This is about Gabe Newell and his thoughts, not CoD fanboy wars or graphical tech demos.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Christopher Jack

    I haven’t even mentioned Sony.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Fin

    @28

    I think playing any Call of Duty game for 500 hours makes you a fanboy!
    I know right, linear-corridor shooter with crappy framerate and shitty shit sub-HD visuals that make my eyes bleed so badly I can only play for 15s before I turn blind.

    Fuck off.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Erthazus

    @30, You are staying out of the topic Brah.

    “I think playing any Call of Duty game for 500 hours makes you a fanboy!”

    correct. You are one of them!

    “linear-corridor shooter with crappy framerate and shitty shit sub-HD visuals that make my eyes bleed so badly I can only play for 15s before I turn blind.”

    Yeap. I’m not that retard to return to something horrible as that. I have much better games in my catalog. So good luck pal and Fuck you too.

    @29, So what? You are still a Sony fanboy. Fight the system, don’t forget net time to defend Sony products and Shitzone. We all know you love it.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. The Auracle

    *sighs* You’d think our Gabe would be somewhat tactful with his comments… but no. The same guy that panned Microsoft’s Windows 8 because he felt they were taking cues from Apple… takes cues from Apple and announces that he will beat them at their own game before the game even gets started.

    Gabe, can you autograph my copy of The Orange Box please? Make it out to ‘double standard.’

    #32 2 years ago
  33. freedoms_stain

    @32, you don’t see a significant difference between software strategy and hardware strategy?

    #33 2 years ago
  34. The Auracle

    @33 Apple has software and hardware to shift. MS has software and hardware to shift. Valve has software and now hardware to shift.

    I’m sorry, what was your point? :D

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Fin

    @31

    Nah man, I’ve not played any Call of Duty for that amount of time. I’ve not even played all of them combined for that amount of time!
    How many hours did you spend on Black Ops, and do you think that makes you a Call of Duty fanboy?

    #35 2 years ago
  36. DSB

    @6 I don’t know about that, they hired Doug Church (Thief, System Shock) back in 2011.

    I wonder what he’s doing.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. freedoms_stain

    @34, Newell criticised Microsoft for pushing towards a closed ecosystem in the PC space a la Apple. He believes closed ecosystems are bad on PC.

    Never did he say livingroom gaming devices or PC’s were bad.

    So where’s the double standard? He didn’t criticise them purely for doing something that Apple is (or might be) doing, it was a specific thing, not a blanket.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. stretch215

    I personally have zero interest in a steam or apple “box”. At least not yet. I have no desire to game on pc.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Telepathic.Geometry

    I imagine that that is one of the goals of the steam-box, to remove the artifical distinction between a gaming rig and a console.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Christopher Jack

    @31, How so? I sold both my PSV & PS3. Other than Halo 4 & some emulators I have on my Galaxy Note, I game exclusively on my PC. I may consider going back if Sony can wow me with the PS4 but I remain doubtful. Intrigued, but doubtful.

    #40 2 years ago