It's Apple vs Steam Box in the eyes of Valve's co-founder
31st Jan 2013 | 23:13
Apple, not PS4 and Xbox 720, are the competition
It's full-steam ahead for Valve's Steam Box console, but the company's transition from the PC room to the living room may find Apple standing in the way of its success.
"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share," said Valve Co-Founder Gabe Newell to a recent University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs class.
According to the comments picked up by Polygon, the Half-Life 2 developer feels as if "[Apple] has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform."
Whether it's Apple iTV or another Trojan Horse video game device, Newell sees a scenario in which the Cupertino company introduces a "dumbed-down living room platform."
Seeing the 'Big Picture Mode'
Once again, Apple is seen by a company as a major contender, despite the fact that it doesn't have any video game hardware in a single gamer's living room yet.
"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?"
Valve's progress has already begun with the launch of Big Picture Mode (BPM) for its Steam service. BPM optimizes the PC game-running software for the living room.
Likewise, Steam is already an indie-friendly platform for aspiring video game developers. This is something Apple has done well, too - albeit with a $100 (UK£63, AU$95) annual iOS developer program fee.
Steam Box vs. Nvidia Project Shield
Apple isn't the only competition that Newell sees for Valve's Steam Box. He specifically names Nvidia as a PC hardware company that's also looking to gain a living room foothold.
"I think a whole bunch of hardware companies are going to be releasing products in the next 12 months," predicted Newell. "You'll hear it referred to as Miracast, [Project] Shield from Nvidia, or lots of other people."
"There are going to be a huge set of products that say, 'If you want something that's incredibly cheap, at a price point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you're going to take advantage of the PC that's running somewhere in your house.'"
It's at this point that Newell makes his strongest argument for the Steam Box being the best grown-up gaming device for the living room.
"[Gamers will] 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,'" Newell said of a gamers' thought process - making the choice seem so one-sided and easy.