10 Reasons Why Steambox Will Be A Dark Horse In The Next Generation

10 reasons to remain cynical about Valve’s hardware debut.

Posted By | On 27th, May. 2013 Under Article, Feature | Follow This Author @GNReith

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With the recent announcement of the Xbox One, we now have a complete look at the main players who will vie for supremacy in the eighth generation of video games systems. That said, there are definitely a few players in the wings who will consistently avoid the usual console generation classifications. The Wii is still outselling the Wii U some six months after launch, and Microsoft have recently promised to continue supporting the 360 for some time after the Xbox One launches.

The biggest mystery is how Valve’s Steam Box will fit into the picture. A micro PC running a linux-based operating system, Valve’s foray into hardware is designed to merge the versatility of PC gaming with the simplicity and comfort of the console experience. Though Valve have pulled their innovations through to resounding success before, there are ten very important reasons why the Steam Box might not be the major player we assume it will be.

Limited Motion Controls


I’m not the biggest fan of motion controls, and the folks at Valve clearly don’t get it either. They have accordingly claimed that they will avoid shoe-horning motion controls into the Steam Box and, whilst this is definitely a smart move, it makes the Steam Box a very different beast to the other eighth gen consoles. The Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One all support motion controls right from launch, and their games and interfaces are likely to offer innovations that Steam won’t be able to emulate without waggle-based control mechanisms. I’m all for controller purity, but the options may be limited because of this.

Biometric Data

Valve biometric controller

Valve have said they’re more interested in pursuing biometric data features with their control systems over the motion controlled shenanigans of their competitors. Collecting data such as pulse and sweat levels could allow Valve to create some fascinatingly adaptive AI and level designs, but it might be a hard sell to the general consumer. We can all understand touch screens these days, but convincing someone to let a controller take their pulse may be difficult.

Less Multimedia


The focus on sharing and streaming gameplay clips has been a big part of the PS4 and Xbox One announcements. Microsoft in particular seem to be gunning down the TV and multimedia route, and even Nintendo are offering TV services through the Wii U in certain territories. Whilst the PC base of the Steam Box obviously offers limitless multimedia potential, the UI of Steam is much less concerned with video and music and making it easily accessible, and this is something that may prevent the Steam Box from achieving mass appeal.

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  • Ibi Salmon

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The Steambox will either fly sky high or fall rock bottom.

    • Daniel Lawson

      wonder how many people will be bitching and moaning about steam’s DRM… always online/phone home system

    • Ibi Salmon

      Who knows…

    • K.C.

      You can play off line. Once you go off-line after an install you can save/play/restart to your heart’s content off-line.

    • Daniel Lawson

      No you can not… there are some games (MMOs mostly) that you can play indefinitely once you download them, but most games require you be logged in at some point for updates. Steampowered games generally don’t work at all offline… there are a ton of hoop to jump through in offline mode when you start up in it.

    • Brian Haney

      Your post makes no sense. You can play MMOs indefinitely once you download them? WAT?

      And no, you don’t have to log on at some point for updates… only for the initial installation. After that, offline mode and you can play your games.


      It’s easy once you figure it out.

    • Daniel Lawson

      So easy… make sure you update your steam… make sure you launch your game for updates… then turn steam into offline that activates you game for offline… real great. That’s awesome if you plan to be disconnect all the time, but that doesn’t work when you turn on your machine and try and play a game you didn’t set up or whne Steam just doesn’t want to go into offline mode… MMO are not attached to your steam account… you can actually launch them even if you don’t have steam installed… many you can move out of the steam folder all together… like Everquest 1 and 2 and not have to worry about it

    • DavidHollinger

      That’s strange, because I just played several games the other day in Steam Offline Mode

  • Ultron

    Have faith in Gaben….

  • Coridan Kendrick Miller

    Firstly, all the consoles are just PCs in a box. They just all have standardized hardware. Steam box is the same. Also, running linux is not going to deter people. It will run linux like the dreamcast ran windowsCE. Everyone will be using big picture they won’t notice the linux inner workings. Finally, the tiers of steambox are no worse than the tiers of the 360 (arcade, pro)

    What the steambox’s big difference from the consoles is the sole reliance on digital distribution. It is essentially what the phantom console wanted to be ten years ago but with a real company behind it. It is not an “outlier” it is just another console. Pick your preference like you will between the “big three”.


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