Valve's Newell believes Apple could roll over the console guys, if it really wanted to.
In this week's edition of "Gabe Newell Said What?," the co-founder and managing director of Valve waxed insightful on the hurdles set before the much anticipated Steam Box, the biggest of which might be trying to overcome Apple's presence in the living room. As you're likely aware, Newell once famously called the release of Windows 8 a "catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," and that it would cause top-tier OEMs to exit the market. That's part of the reason why Valve is forging ahead with a so-called Steam Box in the first place, but it's not Microsoft (or Sony) that poses the biggest threat.
According to Newell, who gave a speech to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, if Apple decides to compete in the living room space, it could essentially steamroll the console guys and disrupt the entire PC ecosystem, let alone what plans Valve has for the Steam Box.
"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. 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?"
Newell notes that tapping into the PC is the key to fending off Apple. He envisions more and more living room devices that take advantage of the PC's ecosystem with bigger hard drives and varying form factors at attractive price points, but says if Apple gains a foothold first, it's going to be an uphill battle.
"We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll 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.