03 March 2012

Some Thoughts On Valve's SteamBox

Steam Logo

No doubt the biggest tech and gaming news of today was The Verge scoop on Valve's planning of a Steam Gaming Console. And i personally think that thanks their gaming ecosystem, tech, billing and economics experience and overall platform. Valve is the best positioned to offer up an independent Gaming Console. One that easily beats all of the independent console tryouts of the last 10 years. Including OnLive.

Why would Valve be wanting to launch a Steambox now?

There are many reasons on why now it is the perfect time to do it. From the ones that came to my head are:

1.-The current consoles are now too old. Making console gamers willing enough to try something different.

2.- State of Nintendo in consoles. Nintendo is a bit weak in the living room now as the Wii has waned and continues to have a very weak full-length game attach rate. It continues to be a joke in terms of online gaming. And the Wii U is also being seen as a potential Epic Fail for Nintendo by several parts of the Gaming Industry.

3.-Xbox Live is a potential future threat to Steam in the PC. Because it will be bundled to Windows 8 and there are many rumors about what Microsoft is planning to do to boost what previously was a weak offering as Games For Windows. Effectively bringing the first real competition to Steam.

4.-Apple Game Center in the Mac. 

5.-The clear possibility of full iOS gaming on the next Apple TV. Making Game Center in the Mac even a more pervasive idea. 

6.- Canonical is also planning to have their own improved Ubuntu Games Center thing. Even less motivation for Steam to invest there.

7.- There is no real space for Steam on Smartphones because the top 3 Smartphone OSes got full control Gaming Ecosystems. 

So, i think these 7 points do make it clear why Steam wouhd be interested in releasing thair own Gaming Console. 

There is just one miss about the idea of a SteamBox right now

However, i do see that it got a serious lack they would need to solve: Non-Gaming content as in Media, Media Apps and Media Management. At hindsight, it don't looks much of a deal, but considering the entertainment hub gaming consoles are suppose to be now. It is a glaring problem. 

One that it is easily fixable if Valve is really ready to bet on that market in a big way. With the solution being they acquiring that missing part. How or What they could acquire in order to do that? Boxee.

If Valve is indeed serious about this move. Boxee would be the perfect acquisition for them to add to their SteamBox. Seriously, If they did that. I could see it as a potential big winner. If they start with the just Steam as a Console only and on their. They will not get anywhere beyond being a niche game console. 

Conclusion

A Steambox should be able to be successful and good no matter what, simply thanks to Steam very well established ecosystem and experience. What kind of success they are going to have depends on how big is Valve willing to bet on the idea right away and accept that just Steam in a Box is not going to be enough but for a start..

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