iBuyPower Teases White Steam Machine Prototype

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maleficarus™

The sad truth is only PC gamers know what steam is. Ask any console only gamer what Steam is and more likely they would look at you with the deer in headlights look. And this is a serious thing because this steam box is in direct competition to the other two consoles. Name recognition is truly key here. Now my take on this is, if Sega couldn't handle being beside Sony and Microsoft, what chance does Valve really have? We all know Valve is like white on rice to the PC. But it will be an alien in the console market and for me at least, I can not see this as a good thing at all for PC gaming.

What PC gaming needs is to start from the beginning. I know this sounds strange to some but if you have been a PC gamer the last 20 years you would remember big over sized game boxes that filled the stores in the mall. PC gaming was recognised in a grand scale. And this is extremely important in the long run. When you walk into your local Wal-Mart and go to the electronics section, what is the first thing you always see? You see Sony and Microsoft blasting you right in your eyes! Start from the roots and stop trying to turn a PC into a console!!

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legionera

Don't be ridiculous! Steam will die soon or later. Can't you see the buzz around all those discounts? Everyone is waiting for them. How is that going to make them a huge profit in future tense?? If there are 1-2 people out of 10 who buy the game day 1 release, that's still not enough to cover all the costs.

The idea about the console is to make money out of selling the hardware and little parts of the software. They are losing man, and Gaben found a way to hook you up with a ton of titles. This way, the more you buy, the more you rely on him. If he wakes up one day and say that Valve is gone, all your digital titles will be gone.

These are all assumptions, but it does not hurt to be skeptical for a moment. He has his hand in your wallet. Once hooked up, it is difficult (and illogical since you spent so much money on so many titles) to stop. Like a drug addiction

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jbitzer

Companies have shown they make more money during the steam sales than they do at normal prices. Welcome to reality.

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legionera

@ jbitzer

The origin that I came up with this assumption is rooted in the example of your local supermarket. If there is a damaged product or a product that expires very soon, they just reduce the price.

You can't say that they win from all of that.

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jbitzer

Whatever your assumption came from, here are some links. That's what people with fact instead of assumptions have:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/174587/Steam_sales_How_deep_discounts_really_affect_your_games.php

http://kotaku.com/the-story-of-an-indie-games-life-and-impending-death-510592527

http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/15/steam-gamersgate-summer-sales-help-digital-game-revenues-reach-1-1-billion-in-july/

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legionera

Thank you. Those were good readings.

I understand what you are trying to tell me.

1. Apparently, Valve and the devs have shared rights over the product and share the profits. I initially thought that Valve buys the rights of the game so they could distribute it. Still, does that mean that the initial price of the games is extremely artificially inflated??? (I am not trying to be cpt obvious here) That'd cause a great controversy.

2. It is not important that much how low the price is but how many copies are sold so that the expenses are covered and there is just a little bit of profit.

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misterz100

Ummmm what money from the hardware, they make NO money off the hardware, all of the money console makers get is from software. Why do you think they are so cheap? Console makers probably lose TONS of money on their launch date, just waiting for people to buy games to make up for it. Steam sales actually boost company profits, people that really want a game will always get it on day one the steam sales latch on to people that were on the fence and pulls them off it so that the maximum amount of cash is squeezed out.

I think I once saw a breakdown cost of the PS4 at around 350+ for parts, the console sold for 400$, the stores get a cut of the 400$ obviously then you have shipping advertisements, paying the people to invent it and putting the parts together.

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legionera

"Ummmm what money from the hardware, they make NO money off the hardware"

They do, indirectly.

"Steam sales actually boost company profits"

Say that to THQ and Vigil. :(

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jbitzer

THQ made the most money in the end off of the humble bundle and Steam Sales.

The volume makes up for the lower price. A lot of people don't see a non-resellable copy of a game as a value at the $59.99 price, and will only buy must haves at that level.

A PC game is simply not worth the same amount as a console game that can be traded and resold. Knock the price down and people who weren't otherwise interested will jump in, they end up telling friends if the game is good, and you get a whole surge of free marketing.

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legionera

And yet, THQ died.

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jbitzer

Because they were in a hole no one could save them from. If they were so in debt that Saint's Row 3 and Darksiders 2 selling millions couldn't keep them afloat, a few hundred thousand from pc game sales wasn't going to get them out of the several million dollars hole they were in. Do you even think before you post?

It's like I answer your question and you respond with a completely of point remark. it's obvious you don't understand economics at all and want to blame the Hail Mary passes for failing to win a game played terribly for 57 minutes.

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legionera

"Do you even think before you post?
It's like I answer your question and you respond with a completely of point remark. it's obvious you don't understand economics at all and want to blame the Hail Mary passes for failing to win a game played terribly for 57 minutes."

This is exactly the reason I continue this conversation. I want to learn more. I can't sound smart if I don't know enough, can I?

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jbitzer

flattery will get you everywhere.

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legionera

I am just sincere. Scio me nihil scire.

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Obsidian

As more pictures were added I had to laugh. It's looking more like a PaperCraft box now than a product box. Nice touch on the programmable LED strip, I hope that comes over to the finished black version too (and that it can be shut off or turned down). The LED power button needs some work. I expected maybe a shot of the back that could give away some of the cooling/noise level but sadly she's not showing off anything under her skirt tonight.

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TheMissingPiece

Styling aside, I'm quite surprised that iBP was able to cram an R9 270 into a $500 price range. Let's hope the CPU's up to snuff. I'm predicting a mid-range APU, and it'd be really cool if AMD did some Optimus-like tech where the integrated APU could work with the discrete GPU to keep the box efficient.

I really don't like how it looks, though. Maybe it's the white, maybe it's the shapes, maybe both.

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Obsidian

I don't like the white either. It would be better if it were black with a programmable (color and dimming) light strip. I don't mind the stoic and non-distinctive box appearance so much though. I'm pulling for AMD to come through on this hardware too. The more competition in the space the better. If the target for this device is 'only' 1920x1080 maximum resolution then it's possible that the specific R9 270 part for this box might be able to have some features turned off or missing.

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John Pombrio

Waste of a PC to just one one application and Linux at that. As for other capabilities, that will depend on how closed the op sys is and how many people will find it worth the trouble of writing things for the different boxes.

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kixofmyg0t

Waste of a PC for one application on it?

You're one to talk. Spending $500 on a Netflix machine.

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Obsidian

While John and I differ on several things, his brief point stems from information not provided in this story. Without that background the above statement might seem off base.

So I'm replying to John to help get that background info out there, sadly it's a story that MPC seems to have missed in the coverage regarding the SteamOS.

Valve announced that SteamOS will NOT be based on Ubuntu as previously written in a few pieces of coverage. It will not even have a file manager as part of the instal. It's a Linux launcher for the Steam Client, and that's about it. The OS won't even have a picture viewer built into it. So how you'll ever see any screenshots of game play is a mystery too.

Can these things be added??? Probably. But THAT is the question John is potentially hinting at here.

With yet another variant of Linux being thrown into the fray, how much will need to be tweaked with the code base in order to get other Linux applications to work?

With vendor X, Y and Z making Steam Boxes, how many of THEM will make yet their own variations to the code base? Think about all the Android OS layers with the different vendors, HTC, Samsung, Google ... can you update the (Steam)OS without breaking some of their special code implementations?

John's point about wasted PC is harsh and probably not relevant to the more important unknowns: how limited will this really be, and how specialized will the vendor installs become, and if they do, can the Steam Client still be updated independently without consequence of loosing sound, or network, or our own browser that we installed?

Will our proprietary boutique-built Steam Box become a semi-disposable brick after 2-years like a cell phone that can't get the latest OS update?

There is a bit more to John's scramble above than first impressions might have you judge.

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Renegade Knight

Well that just sucks some of the fun right of Steam OS. Here I assumed that Steam OS would be a Linux Distro with a Steam specific DRM implementation specific to games while leaving the rest of the OS up for use for all the rest of the things that a good OS will do. Something like Android is now.

That's what I get for assuming. Without all that a Steambox is just a console.

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Neufeldt2002

Who knows, maybe they will add those features later. Or they might surprise us, wouldn't be the first time they kept things secret.

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John Pombrio

Yeah! What he said! Heh. Thanks Obsidian, I knew there would be restrictions on the implementation but you taught me a lot more than I knew. I never bother to flesh out my rants about the SteamBoxes any more as they all fell on deaf ears or get ground under by folks who buy into the hype.
As for a wasted PC, it would really suck to have the box and unable to use it as an entry level computer for folks without a lot of disposable income that could use the TV as a monitor. Kind of what WebOS is supposed to do.
And its OK not to like me, its my lot in life. Actually, I am a nice guy, my sister said so yesterday. Online? Not so much.

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MantaBase

I see your point, but I disagree with the sentiment somewhat. Why does every inexpensive device out there that has some semblance of a PC or Tablet or other device have to function as one even if it was not intended to be? Folks complained that the kindle fire wasn't "open" so it wasn't a "good tablet". Of course, it is/was a great e-reader with tablet capabilities - as it was designed. The Steam box isn't a great computer - in part because it isn't open. But it isn't supposed to be a great computer - or an entry level computer. It's a console really. Why not complain that the inexpensive computers out there won't hook to TV's instead? Asking cheap PC's to work with TV's makes more sense to me than asking a console to be a PC. Just me though

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Obsidian

You have some really valid points MantaBase.

The answer to your question about intended use of hardware; could be that nothing HAS to function to a user's expectations, regardless of how valid or invalid those expectations might be.

As far as the increasing number of Steam Boxes that will likely be announced; it will be interesting to observe what can be done at which price points. We might not expect a $200 Steam Box to play full-blown 3D games, but if we got one, and put SteamOS on it, maybe we could stream that game experience to it. How low can those specs go for that kind of experience? Raspberry Pi low?

The open nature of the SteamOS is awesome, and it's one of the reasons this is so cool for gaming and potentially more efficient use of hardware too. Linux SteamOS could really break down a lot of barriers for game development and deployment if done well. I never thought I'd see widespread gaming on Linux but if Valve can pull it off I'll pop a bottle of champagne right along with them.

SteamOS could breathe an extra life-cycle into my aging dual-core 3.0 Wolfdale gaming rig sitting in the basement attached to the TV. I might not expect it to be a great gaming PC any more, but maybe it could be a nice 1080p-capable Steam Box. Certainly not it's intended use, but that's probably alright.

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brannank

Great news, after a long wait for any news at all about the Valve Steam Machine. I'm in the Beta program pool, waiting to see if I get selected to receive one of the test units. I think it's great news for folks that want to see a gaming pc that is per Valve, to be near the price point of the PS4 and XBOX One, yet much faster and capable. Microsoft will be forced to take pc gaming seriously in Windows or lose out almost completely to the Steam juggernaut.

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Obsidian

Meh, ok ... a box ... do we care? Only kind of.

Images of the inside? What is it capable of doing? Will it stream? How well is game streaming with AMD compared with Nvidia, does wireless support that bandwidth? How big is the power brick, in size and wattage? What can be upgraded on it? Another other question worthy of asking; will it blend?

We're all Spartacus in this ongoing SteamOS story. We can all make Steam Boxes. So this outside shot isn't such a huge deal. I'll put a Steam Box in a kitten case for all I care. I just want to know how well it will work at certain price points, and what kind of latency will be experienced while streaming Windows-only titles off the client on my main gaming rig.

The difficult questions still go unanswered while the Photoshop teams are all so busy with marketing images.

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tetris42

I think this is great news. Maximum PC people may not be the target audience for this, but it has a lot of potential. Where Steambox needs to succeed is with primarily console buyers. Like you said, every MPC user can build their own steambox or equivalent, but for console users, this might be an alternative for them to get a PC in the living room with minimal hassle.

The more mainstream something like this becomes, the more it can encroach on console turf, giving PC gaming a better foothold. The light at the end of this tunnel would be less and less exclusives and better treatment of titles for PC because they have more marketshare.

I'm happy because they got a midrange GPU inside an all-in-one with a price point of $500. That's a lot better than the Titan / 780 with i7 packed Valve prototypes which had to cost a minimum of $1500 - $2000. Something like this has a much better chance of being able to catch on, though PCs are at a bit of a disadvantage because consoles often sell their hardware at a loss.

In short, the more PC gaming on the market, the better.

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Obsidian

Well said Tetris42. I should be celebrating this win for PC computing overall.

If this middle-range hardware box really comes in at $500 and it competes with the consoles it's good for everyone that games on a PC. Except the closed OS environment of future Windows releases. I do hope the platform is a success. It will be a difficult road unless retail chains get distribution enough to compete on the floors of Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

I'm still not sure that a Titan in a SteamBox is useful other than emptying pockets and sucking down wattage. If gaming is to be done on a TV at 1080p resolution, why the need for such a monstrous card? Will that actually net any real gaming gains?

Coming to the streaming capabilities of the SteamOS; what is the minimum hardware needed to do that at 1080p? Does the SteamBox even need a dedicated graphics card? Do the host Windows machine and the SteamBox need to be the same brand of card or does this work as some sort of virtual remote desktop protocol?

These unknowns are why I'm starting to look for more of the finer details. Bring on the boxes, the hardware and the product for CES and beyond, but the DIY crowd wants some more information.

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John Pombrio

Obsidian, a much better comment than mine above. Agreed on all points. It will be a wait and see if the prices remain reasonable, the games library is large enough, the target audience is the right one, and how well the boxes work at other things besides games.