The Xbox One Scorpio May Be The Realization Of Valve’s Steam Machine Vision

Microsoft may yet succeed where Valve failed.

Posted By | On 04th, Jan. 2017 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

xbox scorpio

Valve’s Steam Machine initiative was the PC gaming giant’s bid to try and take over the living room- the attempt to push console like gaming PCs that would be ready for living room gaming. The entire initiative hinged on trying to bring PC gaming to the console toting masses, by presenting it in a console like box, and hinged on the success of the Steam Controller and SteamOS.

However, the gambit failed- Steam Machines are an indisputable flop; there are multiple reasons why this happened. SteamOS is Linux based, and while the state of Linux gaming continues to improve, most major AAA game releases remain on Windows. SteamOS also lacked, at least out of the box, compatibility with Origin,, and other gaming clients, meaning that the biggest PC games on the market – League of Legends, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Battlefield – were all incompatible with it. Then, too, SteamOS lacked any centralized brand identity and push, with Valve doing nothing apart from specifying a set of standards for their hardware partners, who were left to flounder on the market against the marketing might of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

However, even though the idea may have failed, it was still sound- PC gaming remains the best avenue for gaming, all else being equal, and making it more palatable or accessible to the masses is a noble push. Which is why Microsoft’s Play Anywhere concept, in conjunction with the Xbox One Scorpio, as well as Microsoft’s new development tools, that essentially have games developed in the Scorpio development environment, before they are scaled up or down for Xbox One or PCs, is so interesting- it’s almost as if Microsoft themselves are trying to bring PC gaming into the living room, under the guise of a friendly console that most people are familiar with.

Consider the fact that Microsoft are making attempts to unify the Windows Store and the Xbox Stores; consider the fact that games (limited to their games at this point) bought on one run on the other, and even have Cross Play and Cross Save capabilities. Consider the fact that Microsoft’s development binaries apparently treat Scorpio as a standard PC configuration that is targeted, that developers then scale up or down from, as necessary. Consider the fact that Microsoft have announced keyboard and mouse support for Xbox One and Scorpio. A picture begins to form- for Microsoft, Scorpio is their equivalent of the Steam Machine, a Trojan Horse to bring Windows based gaming into the living room, without asking the customer to muck around with alternate OSs, or editable registry entries, and the like. All of a sudden, UWP makes far more sense, with all of its limitations- it’s not meant for traditional PC applications, it’s meant to bring traditional PC applications to non PC environments, living room set top boxes among them.

Will this pan out for Microsoft? That remains to be seen. Xbox is no longer the targeted standard for development for most of the gaming industry as it was last generation, UWP and the Windows Store have failed to take off so far, Microsoft’s next generation APIs like DirectX 12 have not yet seen widespread adoption, and the Xbox One itself hasn’t seen customer uptake this generation like Xbox 360 saw the previous one. The success of all of these is intertwined and interlinked- if one of these fails to pan out, the entire structure crumbles.

So while Microsoft may have a vision of the Scorpio becoming a living room gaming PC, the fact of the matter is, this will not pan out without developer support of their backend, and customer adoption on the front end- right now, Microsoft are lagging in both of those regards. But if somehow they can get everything ready and in place ahead of the Scorpio launch? Why, the Scorpio may just end up being the Steam Machine vision that Valve had, actually properly realized this time around.

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  • Luke Skywalker

    i’m not really one to complain or judge but this was a pretty weak editorial article.

    it’s comparing xbox scorpio to a valve’s steam machine concept without even explaining what a steam is.

    how can scorpio be Microsoft’s Trojan horse when the OG Xbox already did that which paved the way for the xbox 360 to solidify Microsoft’s food hold in the living room?

    how are steam machines and xbox scorpio similar, if you’re going to say “well you will be able to play the same games on scorpio and pc” then you will have to also include xbox one in the mix as play-anywhere titles are available there right now or well your games will scale depending on where you play it…this is point of microsoft’s UWP which they announced from back in 2013 or 2014 where games and apps would adapt to the platform its running on.

    steam machines are manufactured by different manufacturer, Xbox is manufactured by one. steam machines are customizable, xbox is one configuration for developers to take advantage of.

    I feel as if in this article you’re trying hard to make a non-existent connection.

    • Rickert

      I completely agree with you. I also find it weird that Steam Machines are considered some new category when they’re essentially Valve’s version of prebuilts like Gateway computers and Emachines.

      It was Valve’s attempt at entering the console market in a way that made sense for themselves. It’s really weird that so many publications tried to write that it’s an innovative new category and then attribute mid gen console upgrades by Sony and Microsoft as trying to mimic Steam Machines. Valve is doing fine without bloggers trying to artificially prop them up…

      It wasn’t necessarily a new idea either, having different companies build consoles to a spec. The CD-I had multiple manufacturers.

      So not sure what this article really is trying to do, but it’s getting a little annoying for people to try to push a line of reasoning for no real reason other than to write something.

    • theduckofdeath

      I don’t see it so much as a claim of MS trying to imitate Steam Machines. More so, a comparison of two major PC s/w companies approaches to the mass consumer market — a console-like PC vs a PC-like console.

      Valve tried to repackage the PC and make it look nice & safe for the masses to play games on, be they new to games, console people, or old PC players lost to consoles. Valve provided SteamOS, a custom controller, VR support for VIVE, and a generalized “Steam Machine” banner.

      MS went the console route (with some PC sensibilities) with XBOX, and now seems to be moving towards what Gates wanted in the first place — a console running Windows.

      The snag in covergence is that Steam dwarfs Windows Store in popularity and selection. MS doubtfully would allow a Steam client to run Scorpio.

    • Luke Skywalker

      can you flesh out in what way Microsoft is taking a pc-like approach?

    • Mark

      Yeah I don’t see Xbox like PC. Sure u have apps on there, but by far most are for entertainment not productivity. As long as Xbox provides no modularity in hardware, and it keeps a console centric UI, then it will never be a PC to me. I think Microsoft just wants both platforms to offer some similar experiences, but they won’t simply merge imo.

    • Gamez Rule
    • Mark

      True. Microsoft have ALWAYS wanted a monopoly. Lol. But, I could call out the supposed “good compaines” too. I don’t get into all that stuff, too much hypocrisy

    • Luke Skywalker
      sweeny can’t tell the difference between full windows and windows RT or was he trying to push an agenda.
      truly it must be the latter because a man of his caliber should be able to tell the difference between full windows and what basically amounts to windows for phones.

      what’s clear to me is that sweeny and gabe noel seems to be smoking the same thing and it’d be great if they’d share it with the rest of us because it must be some good shiiit.

    • DraaftLore

      let us not forget that 3 months after E3. Xbox ones out sold the ps4s, so the saying that they haven’t captured as much consumers this generation then the last is false because for 3 months it did.

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  • JJ

    The analogy coming from this article is poor, or more like a click bait. Which leads me writing a comment on this site for the very first time.

    Author gave Valve too much credit. Valve wasn’t trying to from PC gaming to living room. It was only a retaliation against MS pushing Windows Store and Game With Windows Store. Because once Windows Store dominates, they have nowhere to turn, except, dying year by year. They tried to foster their own OS, so, they are not at mercy of MS. MS under Satya had to reiterate their Win10 gaming focus and Steam focus to keep everyone happy.

    MS is the one actually trying to push PC gaming to living room, since beginning of Xbox. Bungie was PC developer. DICE was PC developer. Bioware was PC developer. Elder Scroll was PC game. And most importantly, MS managed to make PC shooter console friendly with introduction of Halo and shooter happy Xbox controller. Now every shooter has rechargeable health, aim assists, and dual weapon slots.

    MS has been trying to merge PC gaming and Xbox gaming for a long time. Cross play with Shadowrun. Cross buy with Halo Spartan Assault (mobile included). XboxOne is advertised to use the same kernel as Windows8, hinting the future of UA (Universal App). UWP (Universal Windows Application) is an evolution of that and MS is finally able to make AAA games on the platform without noticeable performance hit.

    Saying MS trying to bring PC to living room is not accurate when Gears and Forza Horizon are both console games brought to PC. ReCore is obviously a console game as well. The action is more about merging Xbox back to PC rather than bringing PC into Xbox.

    As for UWP, it is vastly different than any console/PC/whatever out there. The only platforms that are more equivalent are Java or Flash gaming, which are much much much muuuuuuch slower than UWP. UWP is a hardware independent platform. The same game runs on x86 and ARM without recompile the game. No one has been able to achieve this voodoo magic until MS. This is not running on native environment, so, there is always a performance trade off. Still not sure how MS pull this off.

    Finally the article failed to recognize a simple fact that, UWP is only a feature of Scorpio. UWP can fail miserably and Scorpio will just perform the same as usual. The author makes it sounds like Scorpio relies on UWP, but, that’s not the case. Scorpio is an entry point for UWP, but, that’s about it. Xbox has been successful without UWP in the past and so will Scorpio.

    Of course again, the author is more on the trolling me to make a comment than actually making a good analysis.

    • Mark

      Very interesting. Thx JJ

    • glass87onion

      lol, Nintendo needs to wake up. They are lucky they’re still around.
      They made tons of money with portable consoles and “fooled” a LOT of people with the Wii.
      Portables are not relevant anymore, they are done just like music players, watches or standard cameras.

      The Switch will flop just like the Wii U, Nintendo needs to launch a real console, on par with Xbox and PS, not outdated hardware.

  • Fear Monkey

    The only way this would happen is if MS would make the Xbox Scorpio somehow able to stream Steam games. Otherwise its the same ol Xbox system but more powerful than we have now. If MS or Sony would make the PS4/Scorpio work like Steam link, that would be a pretty killer feature, an all in one game hub but that wont happen.

    Making Play Anywhere games is not propelling the Scorpio to Steam machine levels.

  • spideynut71

    No, because Valve’s vision for Steam Machines was to EXCLUDE Microsoft/Windows.

  • Tamago1

    Nope. They both go in complete opposite directions. For startes you have to pay to play online and the Scorpio doesn’t allow hardware customization either, so how are they alike again?

    • Mark

      I’m an Xbox fan, but so true man

  • adicide

    if this happens, if I can play steam on xbox, I am so over PS4. I’d love to get the scorpio then <3

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