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Apple Entertainment Games Hardware

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

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 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 VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:29PM (#42766235)

    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.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger