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SteamOS: “if it were some other random company I would be pseudo-scornful,” says Carmack

Saturday, 19th October 2013 20:34 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

During Nvidia’s Montreal conference, id Software and Oculus Rift man John Carmak said during the Q&A portion of a panel that if it has been “some other random” company other than Valve to come out and announce SteamOS and Steam Box, he would have been “pseudo-scornful” of the move.


Answering a question posed by PCgamesN
, Carmack said since “it’s Valve,” he’s not so skeptical despite the struggle which might occur moving things over to Linux.

“Valve approached id at the very beginning of Steam asking about launch title status for Doom 3,” said Carmack. “And we basically said, ‘Are you crazy? It would be nuts to tie yourself to this little notional digital distribution platform’ but, clearly, Valve have played a good, strong long game.

“I’m afraid that I might be at that same point right now where I’m like ‘making your own console OS? Are you crazy?’ Maybe ten years from now they’re going to look like they’ve made billions of profits again with it.

“It still seems a little bit dicey to me, getting everything moved over to Linux, pushing from that side of things, but given their track record I’m a little hesitant to… if it were some other random company I would be pseudo-scornful but it’s Valve so I’m not.”

Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, added that at present, there’s “a lot of fear from the major publishers and developers,” in regards to being tied down to platforms controlled by Microsoft and Sony, or others.

“Absolute control over certification is scary and their control of econgress rules out possibilities where we would like to have direct relationships with our customers and they prevent it,” said Sweeney. “The possibility of Steam Box as a real, genuinely open platform based on Linux with multiple manufacturers that’s jump-started by Valve but isn’t absolutely controlled by Valve in the same way that Microsoft and Sony control their platform is very interesting.

“It’ll also go a long way to steering the console manufacturers into pursuing an enlightened path.”

Johan Andersson, technical Director of Frostbite at EA DICE, also agreed with Sweeney and Carmack that it’s too soon deduce whether Valve’s venture will be successful or not, but none of them would deny the tech’s potential to “completely change the game industry’s landscape.”

A video of the panel is below and the Valve discussion takes place around the 30 minute mark.

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8 Comments

  1. Erthazus

    Yeah. Steam Machines will kick some large ass with better cost, power and OS that is open for everyone and customizable by everyone with innovative controller.

    and it’s probably going to have Dota2/Moba on a console. The most popular genre in the world. Yeah.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. DSB

    I wonder how many devs feel the samme way as Sweeney. You could definitely see absolutely power corrupting absolutely in the case of Sony and Microsoft.

    Microsofts lack of support and certification is infamous on the PC, where GFWL would routinely delay patches, like those for Gotham City Impostors, even though the problems were directly linked to Microsofts own GFWL, and Signal Studios and Doublefine just gave up on making multiplayer work at all for Toy Soldiers and Iron Brigade.

    On Steam I will always remember when Bastion first launched, and within an hour or so I noticed that the game kept running in the background whenever you’d shut it down, so you wouldn’t be able to start it again without killing the process first. And I wrote about that to Gas Giant, who said they’d look into it, and in less than 24 hours there was a hotfix rolling out.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    I wish Valve the best of luck with this, honestly. I’d love to see the landscape changed so that everyone could enjoy the benefits of openness.

    I feel bad for those who miss out on mods, as there are many games I simply wouldn’t enjoy without them. Cross-platform play would be another boon, which would bring down the walls of segregation. And to compound the destruction of those walls, indies would be able to release stuff directly to the consumer on a console, without having to go through gatekeepers who’ll take most of their money and barely give them any advertising.

    All this could change. Why shouldn’t console owners be allowed to enjoy mods created for the enjoyment of all gamers? And why shouldn’t cross-platform play be more of a thing? Why shouldn’t indies be allowed to be seen and heard?

    Could you imagine how much this could change everything? Even something as simple as a console which could run all of the mods of the next Bethesda game without any restrictions, that would bring in the customers like nothing else, modding in and of itself would be a killer app. And yeah, whilst the next-gen may allow some semblance of modding, the best stuff comes from the use of utilities like SKSE, FOSE, and so on — and you’re unable to make utils like that for a closed system.

    But what if you had a completely open console where you could run modded games to their fullest?

    I think that’d be great.

    No more hate, no more elitism, no more brand-humping, just people playing games. I’ve long spoken of the wisdom of this. Mobile phones have already achieved it with the Android OS, so why not bring that wisdom to consoles?

    #3 12 months ago
  4. pcbros

    “Valve approached id at the very beginning of Steam asking about launch title status for Doom 3,” said Carmack. “And we basically said, ‘Are you crazy? It would be nuts to tie yourself to this little notional digital distribution platform’ but, clearly, Valve have played a good, strong long game.”

    This quote sums it up for me.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. archaven

    “Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, added that at present, there’s “a lot of fear from the major publishers and developers,” in regards to being tied down to platforms controlled by Microsoft and Sony, or others.”

    ^^
    Console master race. Just keep feeding and bound to be slaved to these 2 giants.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Telepathic.Geometry

    I’d love to see the “good guys” like Carmack and Gaben and co. band together to open up the gaming world. If you don’t have some serious competition to keep you honest, you end up like Nintendo, in a perceived stronger position than your customers.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. Lounds

    I love how the cross platform argument is PC gamers will have an advantage yet you get xyz console CoD Bf player who thinks they can beat PC gamers, well I say bring it on!

    Also if people were worried about this it wouldnt be hard for a developer to put in a cross platform filter in so you could choose to play cross plat or not. Basically “are you a noob?”

    #7 12 months ago
  8. Kreion

    @3

    God your over-exaggerating things, there will always be splits in groups of people with the same interests – so get this bullshit ‘no more segregation’ idea out of your head. Plus it doesn’t even matter if there is ‘segregation’ as you put it, that’s just how people function. THere will always be hate, there will always be elitism, there will definitely always be brand-humping.

    I mean I’m looking at it right now aren’t I? The Steam machines have the same inherent problems of consoles in terms of price, I can’t see any way Valve can make the type of hardware they are talking about affordable. Plus they are giving up very way which consoles stay relevant to have multiple sets of hardware – the singularity of only having one set of specs for developers to optomize for.

    Being open or not is a minor issue by comparison and in fact it’s nothing new. Why? Because these are not consoles, they are PC’s in the living room. There is nothing new here aside from the Steam OS, which personally I don’t care for either but I can see why people might download it for sure. Same with the controller, I can see why people might want one but quite frankly, it doesn’t look like an improvement on joystick pads from what I’ve seen – more of an alternate choice.

    #8 12 months ago

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