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Wouldn’t a Valve ‘Steam Box’ console be nothing more than a PC?

“Wouldn’t a Valve ‘Steam Box’ console be nothing more than a PC?”

Well, yeah, duh – in order to run all of Steam’s PC games, you pretty much need a PC with Windows on it. My guess is that this may end up being basically be a Windows box, but with perhaps a Steam-like shell over it to cover the fact that it’s really Windows.

If it’s really actually going to exist, that is. I’m somewhat skeptical that Valve would try something like this, though.

“What differentiates it from a PC other than being packages so that it can easily be connected to a TV (think media center)?”

Except that it would be far more powerful than any media center PC in existence – it’s one thing to throw pixels at the screen and do a bit of decoding, but it’s quite another to throw around millions of polygons, while texturing, lighting, shadowing, filtering, and shading them. And of course a few per-pixel shaders as well. And of course this has to be maintained at 60-120 or more frames every second, and on en expensive rig has to be done at resolutions above 1080p, possibly with antialiasing turned on, which makes for insanely high virtual resolutions.

“An important side note relating to price is that console makers usually lose money on the console in order to make it up later on the games.”

Well, Valve certainly has the games. Their current selection is pretty huge, and is already well established. This is totally unlike consoles, which have to re-establish their games with every new generation.

“Consoles have a long shelf life. Just look how old the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii are.”

To be honest – that’s really artificial and forced. By all measurements, they’re really long overdue for a new generation. This generation of consoles has been the longest so far, and to be honest maybe some real competition may actually force them to get off their butts and start getting serious about this long overdue refresh.

“Gaming PCs on the other hand dont stay cutting edge for long before you need to slap in a new CPU or GPU.”

Well, you don’t need a cutting edge PC to play games, and today’s game engines actually scale quite well to a large variety of systems.

And to be honest, I see this as a distinct disadvantage of consoles: The fact that they last so long means they’re eventually outdated. Whereas most other forms of tech tend to push forward, they tend to lag behind.

I hate the fact that this generation of consoles has dragged on so far. It’s way too long, and they really do need to update more often. I honestly think this is a major drawback, not a benefit.

“Right now, I just dont see enough to make this idea fly.”

I’d say it’s 50/50 – if they’re even doing it at all. If it is real, I honestly hope it at least makes enough to get the other console makers off their laurels and actually be serious about upgrading their aging consoles again. It’s far beyond time for another generational refresh.

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