Will Valve usher in the beginning of the end for console gaming as we know it?



You see that pic above? Yeah…you know what that is. Could this be the sign that signals the doom of consoles in 2013? Well…lets talk about it.

Steam. Probably the biggest digital distribution platform for games that we know of. When i say “games” i’m not referring to mobile crap. I mean the stuff gamer’s actually care about. If you want it then most likely steam has got it. Now acording to wikipediaForbes reported that Steam sales constituted 50 to 70% of the $4 billion market for downloaded PC games and that Steam offered game producers gross margins of 70% of purchase price, compared with 30% at retail” That was in 2011. (Yeah i used wikipedia! So what!) So its obvious that publishers can definitively profit from Steam. What about deals? Have you noticed all the deals on Steam. Its ridiculous. In a good way that is. When is the last time you saw a 40$ or 50$ game on xbox live marked 70% off and i’m not talking about some trash connect game. Those should be free. Steam gives you the absolute goods. At the time of this writing you can get Crysis for under 10$ and the collection for under 20$. That is just standard practice on Steam.

Huh? Did someone say “what about hardware?” Yeah…i heard you. Well since steam runs on PC that means you can always stay ahead of the game in the visual department. I bought my PC for graphic design and video production. Its not even considered a gaming PC. I have a low end graphics card yet i can play just about any current gen game on high settings. I maxed out Hawken for what its worth. Whats my point? Consoles are locked it at a certain settings. Now developers can push their game engines to do more and result in better looking visuals as seen in Kojima’s Fox engine. Still, developers are bogged down by a set hardware. With PC you just replace that old graphics card with a new one or add one via SLI. More ram? No problem. Just compare Crysis on Pc to Consoles. The first time i saw Batman Arkam City running on my PC i couldn’t believe it. The Ps3 version i owned looked bad in comparison. Now i know what your thinking…

Pricing. Yes pricing is important. Its one of the main benefits of owning a console over a PC at least from a hardware standpoint. Or..maybe that’s changed. You can build a 200$ PC right now that out performs the current gen consoles. That’s saying something. Now Sony and Micro$oft are touting Avatar quality visuals with 99 thousand gigs of ram for their next gen systems. Great. How much will that cost? Remember buying a 599.99$ ps3 back in 2006? Are you prepared to do it again? I didn’t think so. So most people tend to agree that Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles will launch sometime in 2013 and be vastly superior to the Wii U. We’ve heard rumors of everything from a hex core cpu to 8 and 16 gigs of ram. Hell i heard the new Xbox will even wipe your butt for you using 100$ bills. Actually i think the higher ups at Microsoft wipe their butts with your money. Anyways if the next gen is going to be so powerful it will also be so expensive. Like uncle Ben Parker said…”With great power comes a hole in your wallet and a smile on Jack Tretton’s face.” Wait, what? Lets say the next gen consoles are around the 400$ price range. Factor in paying for Xbox live and a then purchasing your 60$ games and things get real expensive real quick. You could buy a 400$ PC, download steam, not pay for online and get a bunch of crazy deals on games that all look and sound superior. Got it? So…what about…

“Steam Box”? Or what ever they decide to call it. If valve can deliver an entry level PC that stays within the price range of what ever Micro$oft and Sony will bring out and continue to offer the great deals and services via Steam then i think the gaming landscape with shift quite dramatically. Provided Valve can convince console gamer’s that their is more value in the “Steam Box”. Think about that. Lets say Metal Gear Ground Zero’s launches for ps4, 720 and “Steam Box”. They all may look identical except i few slight upgrades on PC. Then you decide you want to upgrade your “Steam Box” provided that’s a feature on it. Now you have a superior game on a superior gaming device. Then again Sony and Microsoft could release systems more on par with the Wii U witch is what i feel what will happen anyways and then at that point it could be anyone’s game since a low price point tends to be much more attractive to consumers. It will be interesting to see what Valve does with the “Steam Box” come 2013 but one thing is for sure and that is gamer’s are gonna have more choices than ever before. There is something for everyone on the market between Wii U, Playstation, Xbox, PC, and “Steam Box”.  2013 could be gaming’s best year yet. Let me know what you think and as always, let me know what makes wiiu mad?


8 thoughts on “Will Valve usher in the beginning of the end for console gaming as we know it?

  1. I dont think so, i believe they will offer a bridge between consoles and PC and therefore expand the PC gaming market, but i dont think it will fully kill off the console market, ppl say the same thing with the iphones and such but that hasent happened

  2. True. I just think if valve does things right they can really change the way console gaming is done much like when Microsoft came in and showed the industry how online should be done with XBLA. Look at all the benefits of having a more mainstream box built around Steam. Free online and massive discounts on games as well as a modding community. Of course this is assuming these things still apply to the “Steam Box”

  3. Sony? Yes! Microsoft? No! MS has the money Sony doesn’t (Sony has already lost 95% of its value in the financial market) and 99% of the Steam games catalog run on Windows. You can argue that Linux is making a rise, but only a very small percentage of games run on Linux and wouldn’t make it viable for Steam.
    We’ll see what this Steambox brings to the table. I think it will not make a change for PC gaming. PC gaming is all about keeping up with technology and a static non-upgradeable box will just turn it into a regular console running on Windows.

  4. Well i will say that Gabe Newell has expressed his disgust with windows and hinted at linux development. Its possible that the “Steam Box” will be linux based. Other than that all i can think of at the moment with the limited info that we have on the matter is that Valve will release an entry level yet upgradable pc that runs a more seamless version of steam talored to the big screen like the recently released “Big Picture” mode. As long as they can keep the Steam deals and market it right i think they could steal some cash from the big 3 console makers

  5. He has no disgust with Windows. He has a disgust for the closedness of the Windows 8 store (the certification process). There is no way every developer that is on Steam right now will port their games to Linux because the market share just isn’t there and will never be.
    And what is the use of having an entry level PC that can barely run most of the Steam catalog?
    PC gaming is about the bells and whistles and reducing/degrading that is simply making another console experience that is probably already better established by the competition. The Big Picture interface mode doesn’t change that.
    If people want the couch experience they’ll want to plug in an Xbox 360 controller anyway (mouse and keyboard on the couch sucks), so where is the advantage?
    This Steambox isn’t going to perform miracles because Steam does great sales. It’ll need to be more powerful than the next gen consoles and have a better user experience that the other can’t provide and that I just don’t see happening.
    Don’t delude yourself.

  6. This’d be the worst of both worlds – a static, non-upgradeable box and you’d never know quite whether your game would run or not (Mass Effect needed some serious searching to find the right doodad to download, and Victoria 2’s first expansion wouldn’t run at all for months after it was launched). So you’d still have the trouble getting things working (as it’d have to be based on the Windows platform and coding environment to support a large enough portion of Steam’s catalogue to be worthwhile, and that’s where these issues are generally based). But you couldn’t upgrade and improve the experience over time. I”m a huge Steam fan, have over 250 games and will continue to get more. But I _love_ being able to get a game on console and know that it’ll run well every time. It won’t be like Metro 2033, where you have to play with the options and reboot before it’ll work, or

    On the by, I’m not sure what’s happening over in XBLA-land, but the PSN is starting to have sales that are getting close to Steam – Euro PSN has 60% off NFS:MW for the next day or two, a right sweet deal, and had an even better on on Sleeping Dogs recently). Steam’s still great value, but they’re hardly the only game in town, even on PC (even Origin has the odd half-decent sale, as does whatever they’re calling Impulse these days, and Gamersgate has been doing value PC gaming just as good and sometimes better than Steam since 2006).

    The other issue, of course, is that many Steam games aren’t designed that well to be played on a TV from a couch. My current PC setup is a 32″ HD TV around 2.5 metres away from the couch, and while some games are great, others are a nightmare – despite limiting my resolution to 1300 or so x 768, fonts are often too small, and the game borderline unplayable. So adding to the uncertainty of whether the damn game would run or not, you’d have whether it would be an enjoyable experience from couch to TV distances with a controller – and once you whittle that number of games down, you’re looking at a far fewer number of games, but a much greater degree of consumer uncertainty.

    I deffo think Valve are going in the right direction with Big Picture mode, but I think it’s a niche audience – it’s for PC gamers that prefer the comfort of the couch, but can be arsed dealing with all the overhead that comes with PC gaming. Given most PC gamers prefer the desk and mouse/kb setup, and most console gamers prefer not having to deal with the ‘PC pain-in-the-arse overhead’, I can’t see it getting that big. But I can see me being a big fan :).

  7. It will be interesting to see what gabe newell announces in the near future

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