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The Gentleman Gamer predicts the fall of Steam Boxes

March 12th, 2014 by The Gentleman Gamer Comments

It’s all a lot of hot air.

Years ago, whilst at Uni, a friend of mine wrote an essay claiming that internet shopping will not only become popular but will devastate the High Street and totally change buying culture, he was laughed at by the lecturer, and who’s laughing now? I say this because I’m probably going to regret writing this; someone a couple of years down the line will point this out to me and call me a fool but I’m going to say it anyway, Steam Boxes will fail in their quest to beat Sony and Microsoft in the console market. There, I’ve said it; I guess I’ll have to explain myself now.

Let’s get one thing clear straight away, a Steam Box is just a clever bit of marketing, just a little PC that fits under your telly allowing you to download games via the Steam gaming Platform so popular on PCs, it isn’t some new thing, not really so they aren’t groundbreaking bits of technology.

Now I’m going to moan about the cost, I would argue that the Xbox One and the PS4 are pretty good value for money once they have a decent catalogue of games and they’ve ironed out a few technical issues and people will have them for the next five years – have you seen the price of a half decent Steam Box? Okay, I’ll make you one, I’m clever like that, for a few hundred pounds and it’ll play last generation games just fine and then in a couple of years you can add more memory and a shiny new graphics card for another few hundred pounds to keep yourself just behind the big two consoles, have fun. However, if you want a Steam Box that will play the best of the best let’s start with paying about six hundred pounds and up to two thousand pounds; two grand for a console!? Have a look at other over-priced consoles and let me know how many of them succeeded. And this cost, by the wa, is before you’ve countered in the controller, they won’t be cheap, and I would be stunned if they were less than a £100.

Talking about the controller; yeah it looks neat but here’s the thing, on Xbox everyone has the same controller (apart from the odd hacker with their modded controller but I know no one that uses these and they only really work for quick firing on first person shooters so the advantage is minimal), Steam Box users will be up against other PC gamers using a mouse and keyboard so good luck with that, you’d have no chance so then you’d be better off with a mouse and keyboard and maybe sitting up at a desk and oh wait now you’re just PC gaming, never mind.

But what about the huge array of games I hear you ask, yeah what about them? Steam is admittedly brilliant as it is but many of the games on Steam – the download site – will still work on the Windows operating system most people still have on their PCs and Laptops, not so much with the Steam Box which will be Linux based and if you think Microsoft and Sony will be letting their partners adapt their games so they can be sold to someone else you are out of your mind,  oh how I’d love to play the Last of Us on my Xbox, so don’t think for a minute they’ll be letting Valve away with anything.

Still on games remember that most people who use a console are playing First Person Shooters and currently neither Battlefield 3 or 4 are available on Steam and neither will TitanFall which looks like it will be a huge game for the console market, more and more companies want you to play their games because, remember folks, they are their games not yours no matter how much you pay, on their own operating system, link and Origin so you’re being locked out of playing games just as you are when you choose one console over another, it’s not right and shouldn’t be allowed but there you have it and it isn’t going to change any time soon, and anyway, even if you were allowed to play Battlefield 4, you’d still be getting owned because of all the PC guys kicking your ass.

I’m not sold on the idea, you can tell can’t you?

I just don’t think another console is needed in a market which has already seen the Nintendo Wii U fall away so fast you’d think Sony and Microsoft had attached cement boots to its feet, especially one that will cost a fortune to play AAA games, the Ouya has shown that you can produce a small and cheap console aimed at another market which can fit in nicely along with the PlayStation and Xbox rather than trying to take a slice of their market.

I am happy to be proved wrong and please comment if you disagree.

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John Marshall The Gentleman Gamer. Married and a Dad and an avid video game player, whisky drinker and tweed wearer. I used to play games all the time and played in MLG Tournaments and Clan matches for years playing Halo and Call of Duty, now due to family commitments I am too rubbish at games to compete, so I don’t.

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