Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 8, 2014

Email: Apparently CES stands for Console Execution Show

Hey sean, apparently valve corporation decided to announce their steam boxes at this year’s consumer electronics show, and they have a press pdf on their website that showcases the design of the boxes various boutique pc builders are making for the platform:

http://media.steampowered.com/store/steammachines/SteamMachinesBroc_WEB.PDF

It looks like the people inside the game industry are mesmerized by the steam controller. I was hanging out at a restaurant a few months back with a friend who worked hard to find and eventually land a job at a small game developer company and I overheard some of her colleagues who said nothing but whispered enthusiasm for the steam controller. I experienced first hand the bizzaro world that is the gaming industry where up is down, projects that are ambitious but end up as financial failures are sung and retold as legend, and valve corporation is the google of PC gaming. I thought heeding the warnings on your blog about this kind of conversation amongst the industry insiders would prepare me for something like this, yet all it did was make the experience feel even more awkward because I could not believe it.

All I see on that press release is a company who’s trying to imitate the xbox ecosystem right down to how much money they’re going to bleed from going through with it. It only makes sense considering that Gabe Newell did work for Microsoft for over a decade and still can’t shake the corporate mentality of his former employer despite having left its grasp after all of these years.

I really can’t wait to see how this all unfolds, because I know for sure it’s going to end in disaster.

 

In the 90s, Microsoft sold its operating system to many hardware manufacturers (where most are no longer in business today). Microsoft took the profits while allowing the hardware manufacturers compete against one another to little to no profitability. The story not being written about the ‘Steam Box’ is that all these different Steam Box manufacturers are going to be competing against one another. No one is going to make any money except the Valve Corporation.

I think a good way to pop the Valve Corporation hype and mirrors is to point out how badly Valve Corporation needs to update its client. It seems clunky and outdated. Worse, point out the terrible Steam phone app. Valve Corporation is doing so much press to show how ‘futuristic’ it is and how ‘it has no bosses’ and ‘every table has wheels on them’, yet they can’t get their shit together when it comes to their clients.

Emailer, you know, I think the ‘Game Industry’ has always had the ‘up is down’ mentality. In the 1980s, the ‘Game Industry’ was thinking PCs would not only be everywhere but that they would power every device in your home. Your washer and dryer would be plugged into your computer. What happened instead is that computers became cheap where the washer and dryer had their own embedded computers and didn’t need to be hooked up to ‘the PC’.

I don’t understand the desire for all the hype. Wouldn’t it be rational to step aside, deflate as much hype as possible, and reassess the situation (whatever situation that would be)? I think hype, itself, is the number one generator of skewing people’s thought processes. We know the Atari 2600 guys hyped themselves that they could sell more E.T. cartridges than there were Atari 2600 console installed base. Hype! Hype everywhere!

Whatever ‘hype’ there is over the Steam controller, I don’t see it among normal people. Normal people were psyched about the ‘Revolution’ controller. E3 2006 blew the doors down for the Wii controller. But the Steam controller? They don’t even know it exists. I don’t see any Steam users excited for it. If anything, I think Steam users are more interested in getting their hands on the Xbox One controller when it gets converted to PC.


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