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More living room PCs on the way, says Valve's Newell
More living room PCs on the way, says Valve's Newell
December 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose

December 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell believes that home consoles will soon be competing for your living room space with special purpose-built PCs that are set up with sofa-play in mind.

He told Kotaku that the reaction to Steam's Big Picture mode has been "stronger than expected," and as a result the company is looking into how best to approach developing its own hardware that is suitable for the living room.

But he senses that Valve won't be the only company trying to get in on the act, as competition to sell special PC packages for the living room will no doubt begin to appear.

"I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them," he noted, "because they won't have to split the world into thinking about 'why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?' So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments."

"We'll do it but we also think other people will as well," he added. "Our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room."

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Alex Covic
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The current Steam customers can hook up their PC in the living room already. Many probably already did. So "that" is not the "new" market.

I am not an expert by any means in the matters of "living room" businesses (TV manufacturers, Home Entertainment Equiptment, Gaming Console Hardware, etc), so my question simply is: "would it not be an integrated solution instead, like All-in-One TV's (embedded PC components), instead yet another "box", mass market consumers would have to buy?"

I thought earlier this year, Valve's game would be a custom Linuxbox (transparently running in the background == users not knowing, not caring about it), as in competing now openly with all the other living room boxes; finding a hardware maker and selling "Steamboxes", like "Alienware" sells their PC's.

But now, I think, especially the long (financially sound) play, would be to bet on TV's - and there Sony has an advantage? Even though the 3D-TV push by all TV makers was not the success they wanted? For mass market it is a huge difference, if the consumers buy a TV "that can do Internet or games" etc, instead buying extra hardware, having to hook them up?

Lucky Red
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We also have to see how development will go and how many games will be available at launch and under development for this device. I think Valve is popular enough at this point to launch some hardware.

However, it depends on how they want to approach it; do they want to compete with home consoles? Or they want to compete with alienware-style home PCs?

E Zachary Knight
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Recently, I bought a new laptop to replace my desktop as my development machine. Then I had the question of what to do with my old desktop computer. I answered that by installing Myth TV on it and hooking it up to my television as a HTPC. This is running on Ubuntu Linux and has been a great addition to my living room.

I also have many games that could work well on the tv but they don't interface quite as well as they should. Many of those games are already on Steam. With Steam's Big Picture mode, it would help the integration between the game and the TV and make it easier to have a more all-in-one PC experience on the tv.

Matt Robb
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Problem with embedding something like this in a TV is that the gaming hardware tends to cycle more often than people want to buy new TVs. The only real paradigm shifts in TVs requiring a new purchase were moving from black and white to color and the move to HD. The 3D push hasn't stuck yet like you mentioned. Why would I want to drop the cash on a new big-screen TV every few years just because a new interation of consoles is released? Plus I'd have to get a different TV for each "console" I wanted.

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Single screen vs multi-screens. Who will win out in the end?