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Apple Entertainment Games Hardware

Gabe Newell: Steam Box's Biggest Threat Isn't Consoles, It's Apple 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-have-a-console-with-just-one-button dept.
silentbrad sends word of a recent lecture given by Valve's Gabe Newell to a college class. He had some interesting remarks about the future of games in the living room: "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," Newell said. "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. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, 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. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together." There's another hour-long lecture from Newell posted on YouTube talking about productivity, economics, and the future of corporations. Speaking of Steam, reader skade88 points out an article at Linux.com about the current state of the Steam for Linux beta.
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Gabe Newell: Steam Box's Biggest Threat Isn't Consoles, It's Apple

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  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:46PM (#42763547) Homepage

    The TV is already there!

    • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

      Yeah, but the shows on it beats it hands down.

    • by Bogtha (906264)

      Have you seen how many buttons a TV remote control has?

  • Actually, its not a horrible idea. Just make it based on iOS and it instantly has a good selection of games.
    • At minimum, Apple needs to push out newer firmware for the Apple TV v3. If you're lookinging for console like hardware form Apple (say Wii performance level), Apple TV v4 could be around the corner. Speaking of, Apple would have Nintendo directly in their crosshairs in the famility console gaming market.

  • by almitydave (2452422) on Friday February 01, 2013 @02:48PM (#42763595)

    An Apple gaming device would be an elegant, pure white box with only a light, it would never crash, but only Apple-approved games would run on it, and they'd all be about a brilliant designer surrounded by evil thieving copycats out to make a buck on the back of his genius, causing his kids to starve. Gameplay would consist entirely of quicktime events, "Press X to Sue" which would work fine for their controller which only has one button anyway.

    • Re:Apple console? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:00PM (#42763751)

      An Apple gaming device would be an elegant, pure white box with only a light, it would never crash, but only Apple-approved games would run on it

      So basically like every other game console.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      and it would cost 50-100% more than the xbox and will probably end up as a B&O of devices elegantly designed but expensive and not good at playing with other gear just like B&O realy.
      • by Mabhatter (126906)

        Not really. The current Apple TV has as much horsepower as an iPhone 4. When they bump that to A5 processor, it will easily be as powerful as xbox360 right now for $99 instead of $199+. 720p isn't much of a stretch versus iPhone 5 resolution right now.

        The trick is working in some controller model that doesn't bounce the price too high. Ideally most people will use iPhones or iPod Touch over Bluetooth. They need some basic multi-axis controller that mimics an iPhone for about $20. (Even wii isn't that cheap)

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          the 360 is how old? 7 years so next year apple with be at the same place MS was 8 years ago :-) I doubt that an mobile phone arm chip and OS like ISO is going to cut it as a next gen console (aka the 720) though
    • by spacepimp (664856)
      Apple failed so hard with the Pippin that you're suggestion couldn't do worse.
      • by spacepimp (664856)

        Apple failed so hard with the Pippin that you're suggestion couldn't do worse.

        your suggestion.... gah

  • by js3 (319268) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:17PM (#42763963)

    Why is everyone so hyped about about apple tv? Even gabe is scared of it but apple has done nothing new with its set top box. It's about as useful as my crappy dvd player (which can play netflix and has its own apps).

    • They're not worried about the current iteration of the Apple TV. They're worried about what it foreshadows. The rumors indicate that Apple has been working backroom deals in order to get content providers lined up for something new that's coming later.

      For my part, I like Apple, but I don't want them anywhere near my gaming. iOS games work for a quick fix, but Apple has shown over and over again that they do not "get" gaming at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pieroxy (222434)

        They're not worried about the current iteration of the Apple TV. They're worried about what it foreshadows. The rumors indicate that Apple has been working backroom deals in order to get content providers lined up for something new that's coming later.

        For my part, I like Apple, but I don't want them anywhere near my gaming. iOS games work for a quick fix, but Apple has shown over and over again that they do not "get" gaming at all.

        Do you mean to say Apple only got gaming for 97% of the population? I think that's pretty much all they want, they couldn't care less about the rest.

        • No, this has nothing to do with hardcore vs. casual gaming (that's a tangential topic). What I'm saying is that Apple simply doesn't get gaming, period, nor do I even think that the picture you've painted is factual (e.g. the majority of households in the U.S. have a current-gen console [nielsen.com], suggesting that tablets and smartphones haven't proven to be enough to fulfill their gaming needs). Moreover, your statement is predicated on the assumption that because a company has made a platform on which successful gam

          • For all its worth, lets talk about the Pippin. The Pippin was a deal between Bandai and Apple for a home console. Bandai is a quite large toy and licensed toys manufacturer, who usually had a hand with most of the formulaic merchandise aimed at children. To quote wikipedia:

            Since the 1980s, Bandai has become the leading toy company of Japan, and to this day, has the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties including Daikaiju, Ultraman, Super Robot, Kamen Rider, the Super Sentai and Power Rangers seri

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They're not worried about the current iteration of the Apple TV. They're worried about what it foreshadows.

        This ain't the first ATV. None of them have been game-changers. I'm not feeling threatened.

    • my crappy dvd player (which can play netflix and has its own apps)

      That doesn't sound very crappy to me..

    • by Clsid (564627)

      The AppleTV has become like a social device for me. When I have people around, that's the way we see photo albums, youtube videos and the ocassional TV show/movie. Aside from that, it's pretty neat to use airplay for music plus an iphone to control the whole setup.

  • Gabe, are you reading? I consider your experiments when you let my family and friends play the games I hypothetical could buy from your platform with their own users on my PC/Steam Box/whatever you will try to sell. Until my games aren't tied to only my account for play, you are out of my living room.

    • Gabe, are you reading? I consider your experiments when you let my family and friends play the games I hypothetical could buy from your platform with their own users on my PC/Steam Box/whatever you will try to sell. Until my games aren't tied to only my account for play, you are out of my living room.

      This is quite possibly the dumbest argument against Steam I've ever heard.

      Referring to the part I bolded, what would be a suitable alternative then?
      • by robmv (855035)

        Simple, any platform that allow other people to play on my console with their own users, with their own friend list, scores, etc. It is not something amazing, it is already done that way on the PS3 and XBox (barring those stupid online passes needed by some games). With Steam if your brother, husband or wife, child want o play the games you bought that you have with you user on your PC/Mac, they need to access steam with your user id, or uy the game again

      • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:29PM (#42766235) Homepage

        Until my games aren't tied to only my account for play, you are out of my living room.
        This is quite possibly the dumbest argument against Steam I've ever heard.
        Referring to the part I bolded, what would be a suitable alternative then?

        Well, I'm a part-time game developer, with a small team. Here's our alternative approach: A product serial is good for 3 different users online at once -- let your friends or guests play with you while you're online, and maybe they'll buy their own full account too. Offline single play isn't tied to the online account, (Piracy isn't a problem, it's free advertizing for the multi-player mode, essentially). The product is tied to the serial number and purchaser's email address, and there's a simple form to re-assign the product code to a new email address (for giving it away / selling it), upon which I re-generate the product code for the new user, and the old ones stop working. I got that feature for free when I implemented "change your account email address", which is a feature every service should have.

        Protip: create a new Steam account each single time you buy a game. Then you can simply buy/sell/trade the account that the game is tied to. Sucks if you have a ton of games, but that's also an alternative too: Have lots of accounts.

        Digital stuff does sort of need to be tied to an account so long as we're leveraging artificial scarcity of bits to make our money -- bits are in infiinite supply, their cost should be zero (so says Economics 101), hence "piracy" exists. Thus, IMO, the current publishing model of the industry is untennable... However, There is an alternative to this model too, even has a car analogy: When you want your car fixed you get an estimate from a mechanic, agree on the price, the work is done, and there's no re-occurring fee if multiple people benefit from the work that the mechanic did once... When you want a car designed, you could do the same process.

        Imagine using a crowd funding service like KickStarter, IndieGoGo, etc, where developers can actually ask for how much money they need to make the game and a little for profit too. It's just like working under a publisher. Same work, same money, and just like working for the Pubilsher you start working on something else to put food on the table once that game is done -- Gotta keep working to eat. That is to say, Everyone gets the game for free (since the funders already payed for it to be created). In a today's publisher model the Publisher would try to enforce artificial scarcity of bits to recoup their losses, and maybe turn a much bigger profit, however, with a crowd funded system there don't have to be any artificial scarcity at all. My ability to configure the bits is what's scarce, that's what I want to sell -- My labor. I just want to get paid to do work, not sell copies. Bonus: If I pitch a shitty idea no one funds it, and I don't have to waste my time making a game no one wants to play; Conversely, I'll get free market research and the games that do get funded are ones folks actually want to play. The bigger bonus: No More Piracy. You can't download what isn't created yet.

        Sure beats making a game and hoping it doesn't tank or else you lose your job, or, even worse under some publishers / studios: You finish the game and are laid off immediately whether it's good or not because they can re-hire desperate people easily without even needing to give them a raise for their past efforts.

      • This is quite possibly the dumbest argument against Steam I've ever heard.

        Referring to the part I bolded, what would be a suitable alternative then?

        PS3's and 360's work more like multi-user 'nix systems. There's a master account (root) and sub accounts. If I buy a game on my PS3, then all users can play it, and they have their own saves and trophies. MMO accounts work on an account level. If I"m lifetime in FreeRealms, anybody else play Freerealms on the machine would have their own account and purchases tied to it.

        And since purchases are tied to accounts, you can redownload them if you upgrade/replace your PS3 hard drive, or get a new PS3, or even

  • I would watch streamed movies on my wii, if it had the capability to do that. I read that you can get netflix on the wii in the US. Is that correct? You can't do that here in Australia as far as I know.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      The Wii has had streaming capabilities for years. Go into the wii store and download the netflix app. I can't see how your geographic location hinders that ability.
      • No netflix here in Australia.

        • Sucks to be you! Australia should have gone NTSC/ATSC then you'd get lumped with the US like Canada is and get most of the good stuff.

          But no, an English speaking PAL country in the middle of a huge ocean with a tiny population no where near the BIG native english speaking PAL market with a rating system that was Insane....well you're going to get ignored and price gouged when it comes to content.

          • I don't think PAL/NTSC is the issue here. Its more licensing for the content. Movie delivery channels are locked down and it may not be worth the effort of netflix to negotiate their way in. Therefore a lot of us torrent and watch free stuff on youtube.

    • Not that it's especially practical, but one can move to the United States on a permanent [state.gov] or temporary [state.gov] visa and download the Netflix app to a U.S. Wii.
      • Cheaper to by and copy the DVDs I suspect but thanks for the info. I have a friend who travelled in the US recently but he is also an expert at finding torrents to I doubt he finds not being in the US a real issue.

  • The TV market is too price-conscious for Apple. They can enter that market, but it will drag down their margins.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      The TV market is too price-conscious for Apple. They can enter that market, but it will drag down their margins.

      You mean like the razor-thin profit margin PC industry?

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        The TV market is too price-conscious for Apple. They can enter that market, but it will drag down their margins.

        You mean like the razor-thin profit margin PC industry?

        The industry in which Apple has never managed to top 11% even when they have had technological superiority? Oh, OK.

        • by SeaFox (739806)

          The TV market is too price-conscious for Apple. They can enter that market, but it will drag down their margins.

          You mean like the razor-thin profit margin PC industry?

          The industry in which Apple has never managed to top 11% even when they have had technological superiority? Oh, OK.

          Uh, my point is Apple is already in a market known for having very thin profits and functioning in it as a premium brand, making money hand-over-fist with their margins on the machines they do sell verses the rest of the industry. The actual market share percentage has nothing to do with this -- we don't have to "make it up on volume" when you're making a killing already.

          Thanks for not paying attention to the original topic though.

    • Apple has a larger market cap than most of Hollywood combined (10 times that of Universal Studios alone). That sort of clout can be a game changer. The fact that it hasn't yet come to fruition means that the studios and allies still have quite a bit of control over the system but Resistance Is Futile! If Apple really wanted to swallow them up it could.

      The problem isn't hardware or software - that's easy. The Apple TV box is cheap, there isn't a need to make an 'Apple TV' ala the iMac. Apple nee

  • poorly coded, and I absolutely abhor it as a PC service I am cursed to ineract with. The thought of it attaching itself to my TV experience makes me ill.

    • by westyvw (653833)

      Really? It does feel a bit heavy sometimes (for what its delivering anyway) but its not particualary intrusive or bad to use. Certainly not spawn of the devil, like for instance iTunes.
      Steam on linux is better (except for the lack of games of course). Alt-tab is perfection, smooth and slick, and etras such as steam folder locations can be anywhere and you can have multiple destinations too.

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