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 Post subject: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Valve seeks geek to design 'platform hardware'

New kit on the box


By Caleb Cox • Register Hardware


Valve has hinted it is building its own hardware platform, possibly to tie in with its Steam online games service, after reaching out for an experienced electronics engineer to help with the project.

"We’re developing hardware to enhance [gaming] experiences, and you can be a key part of making that happen," reads a post on Valve's situations vacant board.

"Work with the hardware team to conceive, design, evaluate, and produce new types of input, output and platform hardware."

The italics are ours and we've highlighted that phrase because Valve was recently rumoured to be have its own version of cloud-connected gaming system OnLive in the works, although the anticipated announcement was never made.

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OnLive cloud gaming system microconsole: Is Valve working on kit like this?

The employment opportunity posting does little to clarify what product Valve specifically intends to manufacture, but with an already established hardware team and the need for someone with recommended knowledge of both ARM and x86 system design, we expect the company's plans for a new gaming box are already steaming ahead.

Can you imagine if Valve launched hardware alongside another installment of Half Life? The world would go crazy.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:30 pm 
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conscience wrote:
Can you imagine if Valve launched hardware alongside another installment of Half Life? The world would go crazy.


SOME of the world would go crazy....... the rest would be outside, maybe drinking with friends, enjoying a laugh, perhaps having a meal.... having a life

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Hey they weren't my words. :p

Nor am I a fan of Half Life, the freebie nVidia got off Valve for me goes totally unplayed.

But the idea of a new entrant into the console market is of interest, no?

And entering the scene with probably no more than a disguised PC in a console case - unless they go the OnLive 'thin client' method of a low-spec'd PC getting responses from the keyboard/controller input and a much faster server replying with graphics, sounds etc. needed to play the game. Which I can't see tbh, I'd expect actual hardware not just a network connection and enough hardware to connect to it and display the output.... though think what it could do for the console hardware/games software RRP and future proofing if Valve's expensive servers take all the hardware upgrade strain for future releases? "Never buy another hardware upgrade again" might be a compelling selling point.

So given I expect 'fat client' hardware, the opposite of OnLive's thin client model - that is capable of running it's own games locally rather than getting the results via a network connection - and I can only imagine this would be x86 PC-compatible software, given the lead they've got with PC gaming with their Steam platform and the relationships they've got with devs and publishers on this platform.

It's going to be a very interesting 'next gen' battle between console and PC makers and any new entrants... and who better placed than Valve?

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:24 pm 
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Read rumours earlier that were suggesting Valve might be working with Apple. That could be some team...


Also read that they(not sure if it was Valve or Apple actually..) were working on something similar to Google's "Project Glass" which looks a bit crazy, like a pair of glasses that will act as a computer in front of your eyes(was the suggestion in the trailer), so you'll see like "Message from Joe" appear in your vision, and you can read and reply to it. That was the video for Google's Project Glass.

Valve/Apple whoever it was, described theirs as "Terminator Vision" which has been taken to mean something similar, which I can understand.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:42 pm 
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conscience wrote:
Hey they weren't my words. :p

Nor am I a fan of Half Life, the freebie nVidia got off Valve for me goes totally unplayed.

But the idea of a new entrant into the console market is of interest, no?

And entering the scene with probably no more than a disguised PC in a console case - unless they go the OnLive 'thin client' method of a low-spec'd PC getting responses from the keyboard/controller input and a much faster server replying with graphics, sounds etc. needed to play the game. Which I can't see tbh, I'd expect actual hardware not just a network connection and enough hardware to connect to it and display the output.... though think what it could do for the console hardware/games software RRP and future proofing if Valve's expensive servers take all the hardware upgrade strain for future releases? "Never buy another hardware upgrade again" might be a compelling selling point.

So given I expect 'fat client' hardware, the opposite of OnLive's thin client model - that is capable of running it's own games locally rather than getting the results via a network connection - and I can only imagine this would be x86 PC-compatible software, given the lead they've got with PC gaming with their Steam platform and the relationships they've got with devs and publishers on this platform.

It's going to be a very interesting 'next gen' battle between console and PC makers and any new entrants... and who better placed than Valve?

You never played Half-Life?

It's worth a go. I really enjoyed it. I remember it being one of those games I got long before they were popular, and spent ages trying to convince people it was good and to buy it (along with GTA and Tomb Raider).

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:48 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
you'll see like "Message from Joe" appear in your vision, and you can read and reply

:ohmy: you mean you don't already :rant:

CONS sort this sh!theap out!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:49 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:52 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
Read rumours earlier that were suggesting Valve might be working with Apple. That could be some team...


Also read that they(not sure if it was Valve or Apple actually..) were working on something similar to Google's "Project Glass" which looks a bit crazy, like a pair of glasses that will act as a computer in front of your eyes(was the suggestion in the trailer), so you'll see like "Message from Joe" appear in your vision, and you can read and reply to it. That was the video for Google's Project Glass.

Valve/Apple whoever it was, described theirs as "Terminator Vision" which has been taken to mean something similar, which I can understand.



That would be one hell of a combo, and the Apple hardware is out of date enough to be economical lol, but really? I think Apple would want to charge more than Valve would need to charge to be successful. Maybe Apple could pull of a premium priced new entrant, but Valve? Or anybody else for that matter? Sony paid the price for their PS3 RRP compared to Xbox360 so I can't see anyone but Apple even attempting to charge more than Sony, 'cause they'd likely fail badly.

But I wouldn't put it past Apple to seek a Valve tie-up to integrate Steam to iTunes etc. and launch an assault on living room gaming. If Apple are involved, that would be more likely imo. And using their partner to advertise for talent would be right up their street to put people off what they're up to.

As for Project Glass/Terminator... sounds offputting and a little bit scary tbh. I manage with my landline, and the Mrs can receive texts/mobile calls in an emergency on a PAYG... I don't really want that shit invading my eyesight or you wait - it'll be the next step! - even my brain. I'll check my emails* when I wanna know if I've been contacted.

* Or check them when PM'd/contacted by phone to remind me that they need checking.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:53 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
Just in every day life, you'll be inescapable.



Run away. Go now, don't ask questions. :ninja: SkyNet has launched JoeBot. :ohmy:

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:55 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
Just in every day life, you'll be inescapable.

i am already inescapable, you just didn't know

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:02 pm 
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And even if you did know, he could go back to a time before you knew and get you. :D

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:40 am 
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Valve IS making hardware... but it's not a console


by Ben Parfitt, MCV


In a very un-Valve-like move, the Seattle-based Half-Life 2 creator has revealed all of its plans for its mysterious new hardware project.

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But the rumours were wrong. Valve is not making a games console or under-the-TV PC box. It is, in fact, developing some sort of wearable computer.

Writing on the Valve blog, tech developer Michael Abrash, the developer has revealed that Valve has allowed him to pursue a project that was turned down by Microsoft back in 1994 when he was employed by the Xbox and Windows platform holder.

After a stint at id working with John Carmack (and a brief return to Microsoft) he eventually ended up at Valve where, amongst other things, he has been working on a wearable computing project.

“By ‘wearable computing’ I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision),” he wrote.

“The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection.

“And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.”

Abrash stresses that this is not confirmation of an imminent product reveal – at the moment the project exists purely in the R&D stage.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:55 am 
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The Valve Blog link is worth a read if you're interested in a little bit of history to this story.

Quote:
By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision). The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.

Of course, hardware is only as useful as the software running on it, and there’s a vast web of intertwined issues and questions to be resolved about how the combined hardware-software system might work. What does a wearable UI look like, and how does it interact with wearable input? How does the computer know where you are and what you’re looking at? When the human visual system sees two superimposed views, one real and one virtual, what will it accept and what will it reject? To what extent is augmented reality useful – and if it’s useful, to what extent is it affordably implementable in the near future? What hardware advances are needed to enable the software? And much, much more – there are deep, worthy challenges everywhere you look (and I hope to be posting about some of them soon); in fact, what it reminds me of, but on a larger scale, is Quake, where we had to figure out 3D graphics, client-server Internet networking, file formats, pretty much everything from scratch. Indeed, I think this has the potential to be, like Quake, a technological inflection point after which everything has changed...


To be clear, this is R&D – it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3. It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development. The Valve approach is to do experiments and see what we learn – failure is fine, just so long as we can identify failure quickly, learn from it, and move on – and then apply it to the next experiment. The process is very fast-moving and iterative, and we’re just at the start. How far and where the investigation goes depends on what we learn.


More here:

Click The Link...http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/valve-how-i-got-here-what-its-like-and-what-im-doing-2/

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console? Or simply a wearable computer?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:06 am 
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Proto Steam box may feel your arousal, hints Valve daddy

'Noise, heat issues' challenge for gaming console - Gabe Newell


By Tony Smith - The Register




Game developer Valve will be pushing out prototypes of its living room download-and-play games box sometime in the next “three to four months”, company chief Gabe Newell has revealed.

The machine, dubbed the Steam Box, is essentially a Linux PC linked to Valve’s online games shop, Steam. Being a PC, it’s easy to build, but Newell admitted that making it suitable for living room use is proving tricky.

“There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [cope with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it,” he told the BBC.

And Valve wants to do more than push out a PC in a console-style casing, Newell hinted, perhaps even including sensor measuring the physiological state of the player.

“If you think of a game like Left For Dead - which was trying to put you into a sort of horror movie - if you don’t change the experience of what the player is actually feeling then it stops being a horror game,” he said.

“So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play.”

So can we also expect electric shocks when we’re slammed by a plasma bolt, eh, Gabe?

Valve will need this kind of gimmick if it’s to make any significant headway against the likes of Sony and Microsoft. Redmond has yet to detail the next version of its Xbox platform, but Sony’s PlayStation 4, set to ship before this coming Christmas, is itself a high-end PC that will be dropped into a slim-ish black case. The new Xbox won’t be much different.

Valve is a well-respected name in PC gaming, and Steam is a strong brand in that segment of the games market. But Valve will have a tough time matching the mass-marketing muscle Sony and Microsoft will employ battling each other to win the next-gen console fight.

Of the first Steam Box units, Newell said: “We’ll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months.”

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:09 am 
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Rumour is this thing will cost $999 for the basic model, up to about $1600 for the top of the range version.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Spawny wrote:
Rumour is this thing will cost $999 for the basic model, up to about $1600 for the top of the range version.


I can't see it selling at that price! :blink: Can you?

Nor can I see the new PS4/Xbox costing so much, which will be it's main competitors. And if you're in the market to for a new console then there'll be other new Linux consoles to consider, like this one:

Quote:
The “Steam Box” era begins with the Piston, a $1,000 PC-in-a-console

Xi3 taking preorders for tiny mid-range Linux gaming box for the living room.


by Kyle Orland - Ars Technica


Image

The gaming PC's next big push for living room supremacy has officially begun. Specialist hardware maker Xi3 has started taking preorders for the Piston, a $1,000 computer in a console form factor designed for HDTVs and planned for release during the 2013 holiday season.

The Piston was first showed off in January at CES, where it won a number of design awards. That's also when Valve announced that it was officially partnering with Xi3 on the Piston, calling it one of many third-party prototypes for its long-planned "Steam Box" living room PC architecture. This is not to be confused with Valve's own Steam Box hardware development efforts, which should result in a prototype in the next few months.

As far as horsepower, the Linux-based Piston isn't going to come close to replacing your fully decked-out gaming rig. The x86-based system will sport an integrated AMD chip with a 3.2Ghz quad-core processing unit and a 7000-series Radeon GPU sporting 384 programmable cores. The unit comes with support for up to three monitors, including one HDMI output, along with whopping 12 I/O ports, including eight USB slots.

That should support OK-but-not-great gaming performance for today's titles, which is understandable considering the price and a palm-sized form factor that only draws 40 watts from an outlet. That said, $1,000 isn't likely to be price-competitive with upcoming dedicated consoles from the likes of Sony and Microsoft. On the plus side, Xi3 promises that the Piston sports a modular, pop-out motherboard for easy upgrades, so it will be able to keep up with new advances more easily than other consoles.

We can see the Piston serving as a decent, no-nonsense entry into the world of PC gaming for curious console gamers, or a relatively cheap secondary machine for serious PC gamers who want to expand to the living room. The risk, of course, is that this combination of price and power will fall into some kind of jack-of-all-trades middle ground that doesn't really appeal to anybody. We're looking with interest to see if Valve itself will be able to improve on the price-to-power ratio with its own Steam Box hardware.


And that one is upgradeable. Well, sorta, if you buy their upgrade parts. Though it is surprisingly mid-range for $1000! I think that might need a price cut. Plus, with it being x86 compatible, it'd run Windows if you were that way inclined so there'd be far more games available atm if you went down that route than Linux. Interesting times.

And seeing as though Valve are an official partner on this, it makes you wonder if they will be publishing a specification and then allowing third parties to make their own consoles, or if they're just using this as a practise run for what they have still to come?

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:33 pm 
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No I can't see it selling at $1k, that's gaming PC money, so why buy something that's not a gaming PC?

The next PS and Xbox will probably be $400-$500 at launch, and there's speculation that new games are likely to rise from the current $60 standard price to $70 when the new generation hits.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:27 pm 
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It'll be the flop of flops if they stick that price on it. Wait a year and you can have your new playstation or xbox for about half that... Who are they appealing to? Hardcore gamers with that kind of cash to spend will just get themselves a top end PC or wait for the new generation consoles and get a load of launch titles.. Casual fans wouldn't even entertain it. "Trend followers" (can't think of a better term) won't be looking at it either...

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:16 am 
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As reported by Kotaku earlier, modular PC vendor Xi3 announced an new project funded by PC game maker and digital distribution service provider Valve Software. The company says it isn't discussing many details about the project, other than the fact that it's "designed specifically to support both Steam and its Big Picture mode for residential and LAN party computer gaming on larger high-def screens."

Steam, if you're unfamiliar, is Valve Software's dominant PC gaming digital distribution service. Big Picture Mode is Valve's new feature that provides a TV-friendly overlay to Steam. The idea is that it makes it easy to play PC games from your couch.

If you're wondering why Valve might want to invest in a less-well-known PC company like Xi3, the reason might very likely be due to the long-rumored, recently confirmed Steam Box. Valve has not discussed the details of the Steam Box publicly, but rumors have suggested since March that such a system represents Valve's aim to up-end the gaming console market with a living room-friendly PC gaming machine built around Steam.

As much as the details of the Steam Box have been scarce, so is any in-depth information about the Xi3 announcement. I spoke with a company representative briefly at CES, and only learned a little bit more than was mentioned in the press release.

The project that Xi3 is working on for Valve is code named Piston.

Xi3's own higher-end 7 Series system will form the basis for Piston, but the company says that the specs and the final look of the product will be different than its existing product. For what it's worth, the Xi3 7 Series is based on AMD's R-Series APUs, which are quad core processing chips that go up to 3.2GHz, with AMD's 384 core Radeon HD 7660G graphics core built-in. The Series 7 supports up to 8GB of RAM, and can output video at resolutions as high as 4,096x2,160 pixels from a system that requires only 40 watts of power and measures only 4.27 inches by 3.66 inches by 3.66 inches.


Other than that, Xi3 isn't talking.

It won't comment on the size of the investment from Valve, nor is it offering a release date, a price, or even the operating system.

If you've followed the Steam Box rumor mill, the fact that a Steam Box might not use Windows shouldn't surprise you.

Valve CEO Gabe Newell has been vocal about his disdain for Windows 8, calling it "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." Among his reasons for that stance are likely Microsoft's efforts to lock down the Windows retail ecosystem. You can still download Steam to a Windows 8 PC and purchase games via the desktop application, but Steam will not launch on Microsoft's new Live Tile interface, presumably because Microsoft wants greater control, and greater revenue share, of any new Windows apps. You can understand why Valve might have a problem with that arrangement.

The most obvious alternative for a Steam Box will be Linux. Valve has put effort into getting its games to run on Linux. It also has enough influence with developers to encourage future games to support a new operating system.

What the final result of Piston or a Steam Box might look like will, of course, remain to be seen. But if any company has the power to shift PC gaming away from Microsoft, Valve is the most likely one to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: New Valve games console
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:18 am 
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Spawny wrote:
No I can't see it selling at $1k, that's gaming PC money, so why buy something that's not a gaming PC?

The next PS and Xbox will probably be $400-$500 at launch, and there's speculation that new games are likely to rise from the current $60 standard price to $70 when the new generation hits.


Agreed, it's not worth the money. Same story with laptops vs a full-size desktop PC, but the price always tends to shoot up when they try and squeeze something into boxes that are too small/trendy/silent.

And Sony will have to be careful with their launch price, unlike last time! :doh: Also, their Vita handheld has bombed and has just had to be cut by $100 by US retailers trying to boost sales who are only copying Sony's own Japanese price cuts earlier in the week. Vita has been selling @ 10k-15k units per week compared to about 70k for Nintendo's DS. Ouch.

Heard about the games price rises, and obviously I don't really think it's going to go down too well during a worldwide recession when everybody is watching what they spend.

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