Tag Archives: steam machines

#327 The Touchy Subject of Steam’s Newest Controller

The one of the more interesting bit of news to from Valve’s during Steam Dev Days event is that the Steam controllers will be dropping their touchscreen in favor of more physical buttons below the two track pads.

a side by side of the new design compared to the prototype

a side by side of the new design compared to the original

The developers say the change was from the feedback they received from their beta test  and the new design was for the best option for backward compatibility with the older games in Steam’s Catalog.

When I heard of the announcement I was a bit sad because the Steam Machine was the only next-gen controller that looked different and unique, rather than a slightly updated model of the previous console controller that was just based off of the perfectly designed Super NES controller.

My current USB controller is starting to show its age (the poor thing has a mashed in ‘A’ button from my playthrough of Telltale’s The Walking Dead along with some other dents and scratches)  and soon I will be looking around the electronic stores for a replacements.  I was interested in the PlayStation 4 controller because Sony was the only company that thought that it was a good idea to release PC drivers on the same they release their product but the new trackpad seems to be a bit of a risky gamble right now, since we have not seen many how many non-PS4 exclusive titles will be incorporating the new trackpad into their games.

I know the console is only a few months old but the gamble comes from paying for the a feature on the controller I might not use in multiplat or pc exclusive games

I don’t want to pay for a feature on the controller I might not use when I’m playing PC exclusive games

What kills me is that Valve could have help start a new wave of controller design with Sony, by keeping the infinite possibilities of the touchscreen on their controller  and then both companies could encourage the third-party game developers to use the track pad and touch screens into the core mechanics of future products.

As much as it is to want and dream about the future of videogames, the people at Valve received way more data from their internal focus test groups and their Steam Machine beta tests then I could ever imagine of and the people in charge of the Steam Machine product are much more qualified to make the final decision of what stays in the final version of the Official Steam Controller than this blogger.

It is still nice to dream about what could have been.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#300 What is Steam OS’s target demographic?

We have not heard much about the newest Steam product, the Steam Machine and the Steam Operating System, since it was first announced. We have seen a prototype around the web but none are sent out to the beta testers….yet

Me and the 421842 other Steam Hardware Beta Candidate are eagerly waiting to see if we get one of the 300 lucky conformation emails

I and the 421842 other Steam Hardware Beta Candidate are eagerly waiting to see if we get one of the 300 lucky confirmation emails

 

While we are talking about the Steam Machine I want to ask, who is the target demographic for Steam Machine and the Steam OS?

When valve first announced the Steam OS I made a comment that Valve is following the same business model as Google when they went with their plans to release the Android OS, a more technically capable OS and because it was open to third parties it should bring down the cost of the devices. I am talking about it now because I read a report that said the Android phone is currently dominating the smartphone market with 80% of the phone population.

Andriod

But looking back Android OS worked because when the program launched back in 2008 it was in a limited field with Apple being the only real candidate for touchscreen smartphones in the American market. 

The difference between Android and Steam OS is that there is no native monopoly on the next-gen console market. We have the WiiU, the newly released PlayStation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox One coming out next week and each of those systems have their own demographic and established brand loyalty

And Steam’s players (PC players) are not a reliable demographic to download the Steam OS because most of us already have an operating system that came with my computer and as Tech News and Reviews said, the Steam Operating system (as far as we know) does not cut it as a desktop Operating System.

Despite the negative tone for this post I am still holding out hope that Steam OS becomes as successful as Android in the few years. I will say that it was brilliant for Valve to outsource the hardware specs to other companies, thus giving those computer companies the burden of going through the hassle of finding the target demographic while marketing their own Steam Machines over the main three consoles AND any other Steam Machine competitors.

Then Valve can go around and collect the sales data from those companies, it's magnificent

Then Valve can go around and collect the sales data from those companies, it’s almost to brilliant for words

To be honest, if Valve really wanted Steam OS to be successful they would just have to add an exclusive  Team Fortress 2 hat that is only achieved by launching  TF2 on the S.OS just like they did when they announced that the game is now compatible with Apple OS X and Linux.

lets pray that Valve never releases a special hat that is only unlocked after voting for one party during a presidential election...they could dominate western democracy for decades

lets pray that Valve never releases a special hat that is only unlocked after voting for a specific party during a major election…they could dominate western democracy for decades


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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#279 An Open Letter to Valve

Dear Valve, do you know how difficult it has been NOT to talk about you for this entire week? You know that most gaming/technical companies takes only one day to make all their major announcements. You could have had a nice big, publicized event that lasts for a few hours and then leave while everyone on the internet goes into a frenzy about what you just announced.

You know like tradition these days, instead of teasing the entire internet with the infamous number three.

You know like tradition these days, instead of teasing the entire internet with the infamous number three.

 

That is not to say I did not like the announcement. It is a bold move moving away from the player’s bedroom’s or gaming stations and throwing your- TF2 themed- hat into the race to the living room. You have some steep and very well established competition that you have to fight against for literal screen time. 

But I think you handled it perfectly, announcing that your brand new Steam Operation System  and  publishing it for free (both distribution and free to tinker with everything under the hood). You threw everyone for a loop when you said that you were going to outsource the constructing of the actual Gabecube Steam Machines to other companies and technical people in the gaming community. It is as if you knew that elitist PC gamers would find any and all faults they had with the hardware of anything you would have created by yourself.

Aww you have been paying attention to us on the forums

Aww you have been paying attention to us on the forums

 

And it will be exciting to see how the controlled console companies and the console market will react to this free, open source, and hackable gaming platform showing up in the living room at the beginning of next year. You are definitely going to make me break out my old economic books for future posts, but if history has taught us anything the future might look eerily like the current smart phone market.

But if history has taught us anything it might look eerily like the current smartphone market.

While iOS has the hold as the most used platform the collective Android users holds the majority

 

The only thing that gave me pause was your new controller, I do not know how well the trackpad will work with a game that demands quick reflexes, but I will see how it will function once it is ready for the stores. I do appreciate that you gave us the option for other 3rd party controllers or a good old-fashioned mouse and keyboard.

But despite my concerns about the controller I wish you the best of luck for the you and your new career path. We should get catch up in person more often, maybe meet up for coffee at next year’s PAX East, what do you say?

 


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

 

P.S this post has nothing to do with me trying to increase my chances of receiving a prototype of the Steam Machine….but Valve if you are listening, I wouldn’t say no to beta testing your system.

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