Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Steam Box: Time to Calm Down and Think

Rumors about Valve developing its own game console have circulated around the web for a few years now. Last week we were flooded with rumors about its eminent announcement. We have even possible configuration and how it will work. Many gamers are treating this as some kind of holy event that will make games better for everyone. They just are forgetting few, but important points.

First, all we have are rumors. there is no official statement or reliable information on any of them. For now, all we have are wishful thinking. No word from Valve or any kind of solid evidence of the existence of the Steam Box we have. Even the only picture of what can be a prototype can be a forgery.

There is not a single evidence here that this is made by Valve.
Second, even if all those rumors are true, it does not mean the console will be great or good. Valve never done hardware before, so we are talking about a great service provider and game developer making something they never did before. It can turn out amazing as can turn out a crap. We have no way to state for sure.

Let's see the rumor about its specs. According to Joystiq, it is an 'Intel Core i7 with eight gigs of RAM and an Nvidia GPU'. It is a very good prospect, but also show that the Steam Box is not a game console, but a customized PC, as the same rumors state it will run any PC game and services like EA's Origin, meaning that it will run with Windows. It means it is a custom PC that you can plug at your TV.

So, it already shows that the Steam Console is more of a standard for PC gaming than a real hardware. Which is good, in a way. It means that games will need to run at the Steam Console to be sold at steam, which will avoid all the config conflicts and give the consumer a idea of what they need to tun most, if not all games, in the PC.

The third thing people are forgetting is to ask how much this Steam Box will cost them. Based on its specs, and considering that the rumors talks about Valve not charging the licensing fees, it means that it will be way more expensive than the PS3 and 360. And that is important. For more that gamers says they would buy the Steam console, the reality is many don't have the money to afford it, specially if turns out to be way up the price of current consoles.

When the PS3 was about to launch, everyone wanted one. When it was priced, all of sudden it become a joke. That will happen to Valve, if their machine turns out to be as expensive as most gaming PCs. People will not buy the machine, even if it is awesome, if they don't have the money to buy it.

I still need my kidneys.

In the end, I have serious doubt if any of those rumors have any kind of truth in them. it smells too much like wild speculation based on pure hope than something based on any solid evidence. If all the rumors are true, I have serious doubts about the success of this hardware. If it creates some kind of standard to PC gaming, it can create something good out of it.

But as it is now, if rumors are true, I can't see it becoming the next big thing or even a worth player in this competition.

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