This morning, Joshua Topolsky screamed across the internet his site’s latest exclusive: apparently Valve is producing (well, co-producing) a console based on the online gaming service we all love. There’s a lot of excitement around the platform’s rumored GDC unveil, which is mere days away now, but while the internet was collectively hooting and hollaring, I was shaking my head in frustration. A Steam Box is a terrible idea that I hate it to death.
It’s fundamentally wrong. Take a decent set of PC specs, tape it off, put it in a tight box, and then sell it as an over-priced console. Who are you really appealing to with that?
The Casual Gamer? No! Who’s up for a $600-$1000 gaming console when most of the PC’s best experiences are available on a $300 console? No, I totally get the appeal of playing Plants vs. Zombies on a TV… wait, you can already do that! Okay, but then the games are cheaper than the average console game, with little help from Steam’s incredible sales. True, true, but how many ten-foot experiences are available on Steam? Every console game is designed for the ten-foot/couch experience and every PC game is designed for the twelve-inch experience (twss), so what’s going to get casual gamers to sign on for this?
The Experienced Gamer? No! Why would any PC gamer worth their weight in flight sticks settle for anything less than the best gaming experience… unless they’re getting a laptop? Apex and Alienware unveiled console-style PC hardware eight years ago and every variation thereof was canceled before ever hitting a sales floor. PC gamers aren’t going to eat up a pint-sized console that achieves decent benchmarks attached to their fantastic TVs when they can have a better experience at the desk. The market just doesn’t exist.
Look, I’m not calling this the Phantom or anything, Valve has a lot of clout to not have this thing make it to market. The problem is: where is this market and why would they settle for a Steam-powered PC when they can get a much more thoroughly developed experience out of the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, both of which are expected to received successor models in the next year or two.
If the Steam Box is something that makes you feel funny with joy, you need to tell me why in the comments below.
Source: The Verge