Hot off the presses at CES in Las Vegas, it sounds like Valve has finally dropped some details about their upcoming foray into home entertainment—the Steam Machine. While the idea of a Valve system that acts as a vehicle for all of your impulse buying—er, I mean, PC gaming—right from your couch might be appealing, the company has had quite a few questions to answer about price, specs and the like.
You have to admire Valve, they really think out of the box. Between XP, trading cards, everything going on with Dota 2 (thanks Volvo for Diretide), they’re turning Steam into not only the premier digital game delivery service on the Internet, but also some sort of weird crowdsourced laboratory.
Take this recent move as a prime example. Steam users will now be able to leave reviews on games they have launched via Steam (purchase not required) without having to recommend it, which was the previous method of doing user reviews (indeed, any previous recommendations will be upgraded to reviews).
The user reviews will exist alongside the Metacritic scores on Steam. I think this is a really cool move for Steam, and I’m eager to copy/paste some GS reviews in there to see what happens (kidding!). What do you guys think about this? Have you written any reviews yet?
Valve kicked off the announcements this week by showing off SteamOS, the Linux-based operating system that will guide your magical journey through living-room centered PC gaming wonderfulness. It sounds like you can dual-boot the SteamOS on an existing PC or stream games from your current gaming PC to a Steam Machine running SteamOS and play your games that way.
On Wednesday, JJ Abrams and Gabe Newell sat down for a session at the 2013 DICE summit where they discussed the strengths and weaknesses of games and movies as storytelling mediums. Polygon has a liveblog of the chat, and it’s definitely worth reading to get a sense of their alternating points. Newell argued for the value of player agency, of letting gamers be “architects of their own amusement”, whereas Abrams argued in favor of film’s “machinery” of storytelling, which allows for narrative control. They played clips from games and movies, and each made some excellent, thoughtful arguments.
Their discussion of the different forms of storytelling was especially exciting because they ended by announcing that Abrams and Valve are planning on collaborating on a game as well as possible Portal or Half-Life movies. If it’s even possible to make a decent movie out of a game, I think JJ Abrams could be the guy to do it. However, of the two properties, I think Half-Life is a bit better suited to the movie treatment, simply because there are more characters and settings to work with. Of course, Gordon Freeman would definitely end up talking in a movie version, and that might ruin some of his carefully cultivated mystique…
How about you? Do you find the prospect of a Portal or Half-Life movie exciting? Will you be curious to see what kind of game Abrams might make with Valve? How much would your head explode if a Half-Life movie came out before Episode 3? Let us know in the comments.
PC gamers and Steam lovers can rejoice, because the cat’s finally out of the bag: a Valve’s “Steam Box” is official, Gabe Newell confirmed in a recent interview with The Verge.
While we can mostly guess at what a Steam Box means for games — namely a “Big Picture Mode” console designed for your TV — Newell did talk about some of the box’s other early features. For instance, rather than just the living room, they want the Steam experience to be sharable from screen to screen, and between different rooms with ease. But beyond that, Valve’s main emphasis will be open platforms with different manufacturers, open content and a way for gamers to publish and create their own content through the Steam store or possibly even personal stores. The goal is to make things easy for publishers and developers, and ideally that trickles down to gamers as well.
It’s certainly too early to tell anything about the Steam Box, but it basically sounds like my dream console. I’m pretty pumped on Steam at the moment, mostly due to the most recent Steam sale (sorry, but you’ll hear me mention it a million times over the next, I dunno, year, so I love the idea of an affordable console that runs what I think is currently best platform for games. I love that Valve will be removing the normal restrictions we see from consoles, and can’t wait to hear more about this. I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the interview, there’s even a bit about how they have been researching biometric feedback and new controller inputs.
It’s a good day to be a Valve fan as we’re being treated to two new releases from everyone’s favorite gaming company. First is Meet the Pyro, which finally takes us behind the mask of the mysterious flame-spewing class…kind of. It’s not the strongest of the Meet the Team videos, but it has its moments.
In what might be the most game-changing agreement to ever hit the industry, Valve and Nintendo have announced an deal that will make the Wii U the only place to play console ports of Valve games, including the upcoming Dota 2, Counterstrike: Global Offensive and “any future Half-Life or Portal episodes”. No word on how much Nintendo paid for this deal but it signals that they are serious about reaching out to the hardcore gamer demographic that critics maintain have largely been abandoned by the Japanese superpower.
Valve head Gabe Newell said in a statement, “Nintendo is always pushing the industry to new and exciting places and we at Valve like to think we do the same. By pushing together, perhaps we can usher in a new era of quality gaming on both PCs and consoles.” Mr. Newell also went on to say that, “Nintendo doesn’t care about high-powered graphics and neither do we. It’s a perfect fit for us and we look forward to blowing everyone’s minds with what we have to show at E3.”
Valve made waves last year with Portal 2’s feature that allowed Playstation 3 owners to play the game’s co-op mode with PC gamers, but this news far surpasses that innovative feature. There were rumors that Valve itself was looking to get into the console business, but it appears they are happy to enter into a marriage with Nintendo rather than go to the party stag. I’m pretty stunned and as a console-only gamer, it puts the Wii U at the top of my list of consoles to buy. What say you?