Introducing SteamOS

I doubt it. SPECIALLY if you’re talking profit for Valve vs units sold. Valve sells these games as Steam exclusives. Most of their sales are digital and through their store, that means each brings in easily over 3 TIMES the amount of money each console sale would bring. And no, those games would not sell 3 times as much on consoles.

We know Portal 2 did better on PC than on consoles, and Left 4 Dead did better on console than PC. I don’t know about half-life 2.

My estimate would be 6+ million copies sold on PC for a half-life 3 title. possibly 8+ million on consoles (assuming they targeted last gen consoles, and not just next gen, which would mean lower numbers). Most of their profit would come form the PC side of things. Make it an exclusive, and I cna easily see 8+ million sales on the PC side 80% of which would be nearly pure profit. and would probably represent several million new Steam users which would spell even MORE money for them down the line.

This is why consoles exist. It’s why exclusives exist. I’m pretty sure Sony lost money by not putting TLOU on PC. They could have easily made a couple of million more sales on the PC platform at twice the profit margins (equivalent to 4 million console sales - incidentally a million more than the ACTUAL sales of that game). But it’s an exclusive because big budget, highly marketed exclusives, move platforms.

Dolphin doesn’t need one.

I can’t tell if the hype for Half-life 3 is genuine or if it’s another “DNF is going to own” joke.

I don’t think most people talking about one of the reveals being HL3 (or Ep 3) are quite sure either. I do know that the first post I saw about this was “3 reveals… Half Life 3 confirmed” jokes though.

Where do you see the hypocrisy? SteamOS is free to end users and freely licensed to hardware manufacturers. I see no evidence that some part of making games SteamOS compatible will somehow limit or prevent them from existing on other platforms. It’s just a Linux distro that valve is putting in the effort to make better/easier to make games for, and giving it away freely.

As far as HL3/L4D3 whatever being PC/SteamOS exclusives, I don’t expect it but it’s not unreasonable. Valve makes more money as a distribution platform than they do from their games, probably several times as much. They could afford to cost themselves some sales to promote their platform. And you guys are massively underestimating how much more money they make from steam sales than retail console sales. The publisher/developer make like $8 on every $60 retail game purchase. Valve pays some money to a credit processor, probably not more than 50 cents, and costs for infrastructure and bandwidth… and that’s it. And given that they sell a gazillion games at a few bucks a pop profitably, their infrastructure and bandwidth costs aren’t that significant. They probably effectively keep over $58 of a $60 purchase as profit - or $48 of a $50, which is more likely. An HL3 purchase on steam is probably worth 6-8 sales on console. So if they can make up 8 million lost console sales with 1 million extra PC sales, they break even, and then they have the benefit of promoting their platform as a bonus.

My concern in all of this is that one of the other announcements will be some sort of $400 steambox. I don’t want some sort of PC pseudo-console out there, making devs target a low power platform, further eroding the drive for technical innovation in the gaming industry.

The second announcement was basically a non-announcement. They’re partnering with someone to release some variety of hardware at some point in the future.

Anyways, I still suspect it’ll be more Roku and less Xbox, but doesn’t seem like we’ll find out anytime soon.

Right, but it exists because, to Gabe, the existence of the Windows Store makes Windows 8 a closed system and EEEEVIIIIIL! Never mind that Steam (which I love) is absolutely a closed system, because its okay if it’s him doing it. Hypocrisy.

As far as HL3 being SteamOS exclusive, I don’t buy it. They could get away with making people download an extra program to play HL2. Getting people to install a different OS is substantially different. Even if they did, I don’t think it would help that much. I, and many/most others, would download SteamOS to play HL3, then boot back into Windows to play everything else, and actually be productive, etc.


It looks like they are partnering with several hardware manufacturers to bring about “SteamMachines”. Form factor and capability appears to be up to them (though there might be some sort of baseline, who knows).

And they are doing a beta test of a Valve prototype which is meant to be able to play games both natively and streamed, so it’s not just a Roku box, and almost certainly more capable than a 360 (it’s not hard to do that on the cheap).

What definition of “closed system” are you using here? Its not what most people mean (including Gabe) when they talk about Windows Store.

I don’t think anyone thinks this is going to be a SteamOs exclusive, but rather a PC exclusive. Possibly with some performance/graphics improvements on SteamOs (since they can target GPU hardware there better than they can on Windows).

I’m using “a platform on which the platform holder decides which software is released using an arbitrary set of rules and software can be removed or never released at the whim of that company”

Which describes Steam to a T.

Edit: And yeah, today’s announcement was basically “here’s something you pretty much already knew, stay tuned for details”.


How is that different from “a store?”

Can’t say I’m surprised by the announcement nor very interested. Last summer, Steam had a “Games on Linux” sale – it was the Valve Linux catalog (CS, L4D, HL franchises) plus about fifty small indie titles. I’ll throw down $5 for a Humble Indie Bundle as quickly as the next guy but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to play Bastion, Canabalt and FTL on my 46" screen using a new $300+ “console”.

From what I gather, this is supposed to have the capacity to stream my Windows platform games as well? Well, that’s kind of cool but that makes this (to me) more of a PC peripheral than an innovative new platform. And, as others have noted, if I really wanted to play PC games on my big TV, it’d be trivially easy to hook my PC to said TV. I don’t see any Linux exclusive major titles coming out of this – who would want to program a game for a home computer and then give up the Windows market? I guess it just seems to be addressing a problem I never had.

Anyone else who wants to get one, more power to them and I hope it serves them well. I just can’t get excited.

There are many engines out there that run on OpenGL. There’s no need to give up the windows platform in order to target Linux. We also don’t knwo exactly how this will play out in terms of coding 3D engines and other developer centric topics.

For example, AMD just announced it’s new set of cards, and along side them a new coding platform initiative that gives developers much mroe direct and deep access to their GCN architecture. This is the level of access to the GPU that only consoles had up until this point.

It may be that more and more future games will start being coded to a new API for the PC, compatible with everything, or that simply coding will be more robust and more flexible.

We’ll have to wait and see how these industry leaders teaming up will end up shaping the future of PC gaming. I have a feeling this is just the start.

I wasn’t saying that they would give up on the Windows platform, I was saying (or trying to say) the opposite: I don’t foresee any Linux exclusives to give the Steambox the same push that consoles get. I “get” what it is in a theoretical sense, I just have no practical interest in it.


SteamOS, Mantle, SteamMachines, Linux - It looks like PC gaming is handing Microsoft Divorce papers. About time!

It looks like Frostbite 3 is going to support AMD’s new mantle API. As I mentioned, it gives console like/CPU like access to the GPU bypassing the overhead of traditional graphics API’s like DX and OpenGL.

The new API is open, so it should be usable by Nvidia, and if more and more developers/engine makers sign up for this, it could mean liberation from the windows OS, and Micro$oft’s: Pony up for DX11.1 .2 .3 .4 etc.

Linux, Mac OSx, older versions of windows, they would support ALL features of modern GPU’s, and would get to utilize those features as effectively as a console.

A friggin, mazing. This is really a new direction for PC gaming, I’m really, really hyped for the future of the platform, like I haven’t been in a long while.

I dun get it. Maybe I’ll see it as things unfold.

I don’t understand SteamOS. How can they announce an OS without saying what it’ll run on? Even x86 or ARM? It can’t possibly run on everything. If it’s on PCs for playing games - what advantage does it have over Windows?

It’s a linux OS. It should run on x86 architecture. The advantage is that it’s not windows. You don’t need a $80-$120 license for it, since it’s free. It’s specifically optimized for games and media and for the living room/TV, where as windows is a general OS, not really optimized for those tasks.

It’s basically another option for third party hardware devs to provide hardware that is living room friendly (or possibly even to embed directly into smart TV’s).

As Miller points out, that’s a dumb definition. That just describes a store. Even Linux, which is considered extremely open, has its repositories which are handled in the exact same way.

I have to admit, I’m not up on all the meanings of a closed platform, but I know one of them is violated by Steam: you can install any arbitrary application in Steam, from any other website. This is not true of Windows 8 “metro” apps (although it is true of Windows apps in general. But who knows how much longer those will last, the way Microsoft is talking about making tablets and the PC exactly the same?)

Newell is mostly against Windows 8 because he sees it as a trend to take control away from the users and have Microsoft control your entire experience, the same way Apple does on iOS devices. Plus, there is already a huge backlash against Windows 8, so there obviously people who would love to avoid the whole thing. His announcement was just as much a PR move as anything.

And, here’s the kicker, NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH STEAMOS. That is being designed so that Valve can enter the console business at a time when PC sales are declining. In case the PC does really die for mainstream users, they really need to have a backup. It’s a way to keep PC game development going even if PC sales themselves dwindle to practically nothing.

And that’s just SteamOS. The hardware is being designed to create a base framework that all PC games can support, giving them the benefit that consoles have of predictable hardware. And they are partnering with other companies to subsidize them and make them as cheap as possible. In other words, PC gamers may actually get a device that is as cheap as a console, thus negating all the claims that PC gaming is too expensive. And that’s assuming it’s not even cheaper, since it won’t need to be a multimedia box like the new consoles.