As Valve confirms the Steam Box, Microsoft's Phil Harrison issues a warning

EuroGamer - Valve hit the headlines this week with the confirmation that it will enter the console business with its own Steam Box.

For the Half-Life company it marks a desire to take on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo with its own hardware powered by Steam and Linux.

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Kamikaze1352164d ago

Valve came out of nowhere and turned PC gaming around in a positive way. I can't claim to know enough about the industry to say they will succeed, but I feel that if anybody has a chance of succeeding, it's Valve.

Kurt Russell2163d ago

I'll be certainly giving it a chance, that's for sure. It'll either be something amazing, or a huge flop... Either way, I'm chancing it.

insomnium22163d ago

I love it how it goes. You either are THE gratest thing ever or you are the biggest and most pathetic flop in the world. Where are the shades of grey in today's world?

MikeMyers2163d ago

Of course Valve has a chance of succeeding, they have already established themselves in gaming. The biggest issue is Valve does not have a distribution channel because Steam is a digital store. As of yet they haven't sold hardware before. That's their challenge. They have already secured partnerships with game publishers and are the leaders when it comes to support for indie games. They also have over 50 million Steam members.

Their big hurdle is marketing and the retail end of it. They could also take some business away from Alienware.

What we have to remember is Valve isn't interested in all the other fluff. They don't sell operating systems and use hardware to catapult other sales. They don't sell TV's or blu-ray and use a game platform to offset those sales. Their interest is games and if they can treat publishers more fairly and not charge them as much in royalties then yes, we could have a winner on our hands.

"So I wouldn't in any way criticise what they've achieved and the role they've played in the industry. But I'm not sure we would choose Steam as a benchmark of success. We would always seek to innovate and push beyond.

"Xbox Live as a foundation, the reach we have and the experience we deliver is a great place to build on."

I don't agree with that comment. Steam is actually a great service. You can also gift items within Steam. It also allows other things like dedicated servers and mod support. The prices are also much more competitive for the consumer. I do see it as a benchmark of success and one that doesn't need to hide itself with a ton of apps and other things so they can justify a fee either. Steam is free, that's a benchmark when compared to Live.

darthv722163d ago

What you initially typed you could pretty much replace "valve" with "MS" and it would be the same situation. MS didn't have a distribution channel. They had not been in console gaming before.

Also, steam was nothing like it is now without looking at live as a reference. Let's say, all good ideas are influenced by something else. Now I could be wrong but when I used steam it was for hl2 and counter strike. There were no achievement or community like it is.

I got into the 360 after the Xbox and the changes with live were obvious. If steam had achievements first then I didn't know that. No need to discredit one to promote the other.

dedicatedtogamers2163d ago

I'm a PC gamer, I already have a Steam account, I already have a PC hooked up to my TV...

...but if Valve allows us PC gamers to use our existing Steam account (and our already-purchased games) on the Steambox, I'm getting one.

THAT is something people keep forgetting. PC gamers who are already using Steam may pick this up simply as a mini-PC to use on an extra TV, or to bring over to a buddy's house. Sure, non-PC gamers who are new to PC gaming will get it, too, but there's a big threat of PC gamers who are currently using Steam on a Windows-based PC migrating to a Linux-based system.

kayoss2163d ago (Edited 2163d ago )

I respectfully disagree. One thing that the xbox did have that Steam didnt have is Microsoft. Before microsoft went into the gaming business they were a powerhouse in computers. They had a distributing channel that distribute computers, software, and let not to say they had very very deep pockets to invest in gaming. Therefore they can take a risk. Microsoft was in a very good position to make the xbox successful because they had the money, the staff, the knowledge, and they are a very well known brand.

darthv722163d ago

MS was/is primarily a software company. they dont make or distribute computers (unless you count surface tablets).

So their only real hardware experience was in making keyboards and mice and controllers for the PC (sidewinder line).

their experience in any kind of console form would be their name on the dreamcast because it used a modified windows CE operating system. They did try the home market with webTV but that was exactly what it was. "WebTV" no games.

To be fair, even Sony was a newcomer to the console market at one point but there is no need to discredit them for that when we see that it took them a few years to mature and be accepted. Many will just hate MS because its MS regardless.

Its like the Google effect. Google was a search engine that built into something bigger and is taking on hardware and software but they didnt get there without something else as a base of reference. Was it MS or Apple or even Commodore...but still all good ideas come from something else.

Valve as a company is a software company. Steam was their distribution service for new games that you could buy digitally or at retail and validate through steam. It grew into something bigger just like Live grew into something bigger. Like it or not, all of these companies are connected to each other in more ways than people give them credit for.

The Steam box as a concept is very similar to the idea behind the 3DO. Meaning that while there had to be a base unit to demonstrate the idea, that idea was open to any other company that wanted to build a platform that was their own but compatible with the standard 3DO library.

Valve will not be the only ones making steam compatible units. Just as i would imagine MS has been toying with the notion of building a set of standards for their next xbox that would be open to other companies making xbox/live compatible units as well.

Nintendo (and possibly sony) are the only ones who continue to do it alone from concept to R&D to finished product. That takes lots of $$$ and lots of risks.

If there were (insert game platform) compatible units on the market from various companies like Samsung, JVC, RCA, Panasonic then we would have more of a DVD/Bluray type of electronic selection on the market and all of them would work with the same software.

It would be like buying a PC from Dell, HP, Compaq etc and they all come with windows or (if offered) your choice of OS. That is what the steam box idea is and probably what the next xbox would be like as well. The set of standards created by valve (or MS) but the hardware would be competitive because there would be more than one company making it.

inveni02163d ago

I'll stick to PC for Steam games, but I can see how this may benefit kids who can't get their parents to buy a decent PC (but will spend the same amount on a console).

guitarded772163d ago

For me it's a good device to have. I like the PC gaming experience, but I'm a computer programmer, and don't feel like being strapped to a PC when I get home, so this is a great cross-over and will fit in right along side my other consoles.

Phil's concerns are legitimate. Production and distribution will be the two big issues, I think Valve will have one great advantage jumping into the game with the possibility of having their titles like Half-Life, Portal and Left 4 Dead become PC exclusive. Don't know if they'll do it, but it will be interesting to see.

I know at one time Valve were talking about Steam on consoles... we never really saw anymore than Steamworks on PS3, but it makes me wonder if the SteamBox is a result of the lack of a Steam system on consoles. Like they decided to build it after not being able to do what they wanted on consoles.

Ju2163d ago

I'm just to lazy to look this up...but did they actually say they will built their own HW? Why not do what Google did? Big picture is the platform and let anybody willing build the HW according to specs. Valve doesn't need to make money off the HW, they do it through Steam anyway. And they do have an online infrastructure already. Not a lot of companies do. I can understand why MS would want to warn...because this will migrate games away from a Windows based platform. Sure thing can't be in MS's interest.

MikeMyers2163d ago

I wasn't really referring to the Achievement status. I still think Xbox Live wins in this area due to the fact all games on the Xbox 360 have it. I'm not sure if all Steam games do. I just disagree with the comment of not acknowledging Steam as a benchmark of success. In PC gaming it is. They have led and never looked back. Heck, even Microsoft tried to get their hands in there with Xbox Live on the PC and failed miserably. Origin is nowhere near the same caliber as Steam either. Will that success transfer over to the Steambox? I'm not sure. I think companies like Microsoft spend a lot of money marketing and securing partnership deals with the likes of Activision and Epic. I don't think Valve will go that route. They are interested in bringing a platform that is far more flexible and open. Will gamers care? That we will soon find out.

One thing both Microsoft and Sony are willing to do is sell hardware at a loss. I don't think Valve is willing to do that but the value will still be there for customers. You're not paying for things you may not want like a blu-ray drive or having to pay a membership fee to play online. The software may also be better value on Steam, in fact it already is.

As for distribution channel Microsoft was already a player with Windows and Window based PC games before the Xbox. They didn't have hardware so yes, you are right about that, but they still had software at the retail end. I think all Steam has now are Steam cards which are like iTunes, Xbox Live and Playstation Network cards.

2163d ago
linkenski2163d ago

I love it but, I fear that it could be the fall of mouse+keyboard gaming at some point :/

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shutUpAndTakeMyMoney2164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

Better Valve than apple.

I am glad to see a company who doesn't have to answer to shareholder jump in.

Make me wonder since I can sign into steam with my psn account will they try to break down the barrier of cross platform on console? PC, steambox & ps4 multiplayer? portal2, DCU & payday are all on steam and are cross play & maybe planetside 2 & Ever Quest Next for ps4. I already know MS is not having it so I won't mention 720.

That would be cool though.

"Steambox Seen by Newell to Have Three Tiers of Pricing, Could Start at $99"

Also this could mean less bad pc ports.
Idk I am just happy now I want to huge everyone!!

MasterCornholio2164d ago

If they produce a steam box at 399€ that capable of playing all games on steam well (and some at max detail) i would get one for the steam deals because im sick and tired of paying 60€ for a video game.

Mutant-Spud2163d ago

You're not going to huge me, you won't catch me with my trousers down!

nukeitall2163d ago


"I already know MS is not having it so I won't mention 720."

MS is the dominant player in the online connectivity of consoles so they won't include another platform unless they are threatened by it or if there is very strong synergy.

"I am glad to see a company who doesn't have to answer to shareholder jump in."

Well the other part of it is, Valve really couldn't jump into the console business. There aren't many players that have the financial resources to get a console released and be successful. MS spent billions entering the industry, and other than old time players there hasn't been a new serious entrant in a long time.

There are mostly just small timers.

"Also this could mean less bad pc ports."

I always dreamed of this 3-tier setup, but I hope Valve has a forward moving plan i.e. how do you move to the next generation for the lowest level. How long will it be supported?

There are a lot of questions like that and Valve has no history of building any hardware. In fact, Steam was more of an accident than a planned business.

Valve is a great company, but I question their ability to succeed. I welcome competition with open arms though.

roadkillers2163d ago

Haha I want to huge you too. It's better then giving someone a tiny any day.

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CyberCam2164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

So I'm I... not that I really need it, I already have a LAN, but just to tinker with it in front of the TV and to support Valve. Valve is a good company that gives us gamers value for our money and they don't try to nickel & dime us to death.

Plus I'm a Linux nut and finally getting rid of M$ would be my dream come true. So I'm going to support the penguin!

SilentNegotiator2164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

Microsoft is really trying to scare Valve out of waking the sleeping Giant known as Linux as a gaming platform. Another Firefox/Chrome on their hands in the form of the entire OS would be hell for Microsoft.

cee7732164d ago

Yeah and everyone knows windows and office is Microsoft's backbone that's where 90% of there revenue comes from

nukeitall2163d ago (Edited 2163d ago )



Practically the entire business world runs on Windows. It's easy to change browsers, because there is no lock down on software. Practically any website can be viewed on a different browser.

Can't say the same about productivity software, let alone games!

Remember when PC manufacturers tried to include Linux? Like Dell? The PC ended up costing more! That's irony.

SilentNegotiator2163d ago


That's WHY a big company coming in and pushing Linux scares them; because right not it can't compete with Windows. But once Gamers switch away because Linux game support skyrockets, others will follow. Don't pretend like business is the only important part of OS sales.

DragonKnight2163d ago

@nukeitall: Dude, seriously you need to step away from that Microsoft mug every now and then and just take a deep breath and look at the world. All Linux really needed is one serious backer to make the push in the world. When that happens, it'll gain more support and if you think businesses will still spend $200 on a Microsoft OS when they can spend nothing on an OS that has seen huge support gains, then you are really a lost cause.

nukeitall2163d ago


Have you been involved with software licensing and cost decisions in a company?

If you have, you know the biggest cost isn't the software, but rather the employees time. Half an hour wasted a day easily outweighs the cost in almost a week or two.

One serious backer doesn't make a big difference at all. What they need is the industry support overall. They are facing the mountain that MS did with the original Xbox, except Linux doesn't give gamers anything Windows doesn't.

To the vast majority, Windows is practically free with the computer. In fact, computer cost increases without Windows as seen before when Dell tried to push Ubuntu laptops.

It's a pipe dream to replace Windows and Valve had a better shot using Android than Linux. Primarily because there is already customers there.


If MS was scared, they would have supported Windows gaming far more. MS wants to push Xbox, not PC gaming anymore. It's mostly there to have a presence.

Linux game support ain't gonna skyrocket. Why would it? What about Linux would make gamers compelled to choose it over Windows whom they are familiar with, exist on their PC pre-installed from the store and has most of their other compatible software.

If you feel differently, I would like to know WHY? What about Linux will compel gamers to choose it over Windows?

The only real backer of PC gaming these days are Valve really, because that is their main business.

darthv722163d ago

to the custom PC building community there is a benefit to using linux. But the custom building side of things has changed dramatically over the last 10 years.

Mainly due to the cost of building a PC vs simply buying one already built and loaded with an OS. I liked building computers but it got to a point where I just couldnt build one at the same price as what you could buy.

you may have more control over the parts you want to use but all of that adds to the overall cost. People (in general)these days are more enthralled with just buying a new machine or tablet or smartphone than building one.

Linux has its pro's (mainly being free) but it also has it's cons (no standarization from version to version). There are many variants of Linux and each one is made from the same basic core but tweaked to be just a bit different than the next one. At least with windows, you know your copy of windows 7 or 8 on a dell will be just like the copy of 7 or 8 on an HP.

I think valve is more concerned in getting other companies to make steam units than them being the sole supplier. That way they can lay out the standards for the service to work. Obviously they chose linux in their design because of licensing but if they let other companies make units then it would be on them (Samsung, Dell etc) and those companies could use whatever works for them so long as it meets the bare minimum for compatibility.

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Blackdeath_6632164d ago

the valve has some issues standing its way the biggest being price.

also many pc gamers have no reason what so ever to buy a consoles that is essentially a tiny pc that costs the same as the desktop pc they already own.

anything can be a steambox. you can connect a gaming laptop to your tv and that can be a steambox. you can make small pc with a mini ITX motherboard that will be the same size as a console and connect that to your tv. alienware have a small gaming pc that can be your steambox

finally the third problem is the open nature of the steambox, if valve do decide that they will lower the price to stay competitive they are doing so in the hope that they will make that money back from items bought from steam however not all people who buy the steambox will use it for gaming. i think the piston or the Xi3,Xi5 & Xi7 computer will be a success but i'm not sure that success will come from people using it as a games console and i can't see them replacing people's gaming PC's

InMyOpinion2163d ago

The $900 price that has been revealed is for the Piston, and not for the Steambox. People seem to confuse the two.

I haven't been into PC gaming for the last 10 years or so but I've always been a big fan of Valve, their games, and their philosophy. If the Steambox turns out to be good I wouldn't mind getting one. Really hyped about what it could do. :)

Blackdeath_6632163d ago

@InMyOpinion the steambox is said to have similar specs to the Xi7 its only natural that it will also have a matching price tag unless ofcourse they cut the price and are willing to bet on the assumption that people who use the steambox will also use steam which is harder to do on an open system. the ps3 for example was sold at a significant loss but they can do that because everyone who buys a ps3 will atleast buy one game to go with it
(you can't use the ps3 for anything else other than to play ps3 games and use sony services thats why sony prevented people from installing linux to the ps3 when it came out and removed support for other os)

i think valve will do it if they want to as they do have the resources to do anything they please but how beneficial it will be to them is questionable. from a consumers stand point I am looking forward to the steambox too!

ifistbrowni2164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

pretty excited for the "steambox." I AM NOT a PC gamer, but from what i hear/know of Valve, they are fair when it comes to pricing. Steam is able to set low prices for their games because they dont have to worry about pi**ing off other outlets like walmart, target, best buy etc. (because Valve does not depend on these outlets to sale their product *at the moment*) They can set their own price and have ridiculous sales.

This, to me, sounds like Microsoft trying to scare off Valve. I play my xbox 360 primarily over ps3 (therefore i am an "xbox fanboy") and i am really looking forward to Steambox.

This is big for console gamers, whether you be Microsoft or Sony fan-boys. Hopefully Steambox stays true to Steam and they offer the same great games that Sony/Microsoft offer, but at 1/4 of the price.

Good luck, Valve! Unlike Microsoft, i actually mean it.

aceitman2163d ago

Lol phil said deep pockets ,he left that one open for a pun , if anyone knows deep pockets it's ms.

CanadianTurtle2163d ago

Usually when a new system comes out, I become very skeptical and worried about how the system will turn out during it's life spam. That's why I get them when they are at their 3rd or 4th year of the cycle for the games catalog to grow.

Valve's SteamBox is one of those systems where I'm confident in getting it during it's first year of release.

edwoods2163d ago

This MESSAGE is for 99 percent of the N4g community: Stop posting lame messages below articles with your pseudo intellectual, business-mind wannabe strategies on what multi million/billion dollar companies should or shouldn't be doing. Just because you took a few economic classes in college and learned a few big words doesn't mean you know anything. No one on here has any true investment wisdom, so stop stroking each other off and go get job's in the stock market if you're so damn "smart"

BABYLEG2163d ago

Took the words right out of my mouth

GamerToons2163d ago

If you were so damn smart why did you spam the same
Message twice.

You are acting like the people you are criticizing.

salsabandana2163d ago

You'd rather have people bickering about console fanboyism instead?

By all means let's stamp out some reasonably intelligent dialogue. Seriously, it's either this, or baseless grumblings about who has the best hardware, games, online service, or whatever.

If you had even gone to college you'd know they don't teach you about stocks in economics, that's all in the finance department.

If you hadn't noticed, virtually every comment on n4g is speculation. Maybe you hadn't, considering how exceptionally unobservant you are.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2163d ago
edwoods2163d ago

This/////// MESSAGE is for 99 percent of the N4g community: Stop posting lame messages below articles with your pseudo intellectual, business-mind wannabe strategies on what multi million/billion dollar companies should or shouldn't be doing. Just because you took a few economic classes in college and learned a few big words doesn't mean you know anything. No one on here has any true investment wisdom, so stop stroking each other off and go get job's in the stock market if you're so damn "smart"

GamerToons2163d ago

All I see is Microsoft talking points.

Harrison has been a failure everywhere. Sony England.... Atari.

Tough biz indeed Mr Harrison

awi59512163d ago

I'm Pc again ill never go back to consoles. I loved PC gaming when half life 2 and unreal 2004 came out. I had to move to console because i was in school and didnt feel like upgrading my pc. But parts are so much cheaper now and ebay helps alot with upgrades.

fermcr2163d ago

Steam Box looks like a basic PC config, but smaller and more expensive.

Not interested and i don't think it will be that successful. Might be wrong.

Bleucrunch2163d ago

I will definitely support Valve with their new console...I like them a lot and they are business who truly understand the field that they are in and the people they serve.

UnholyLight2163d ago

I agree. Also, I find Phil Harrison's words to be good words overall really in regards to what he says at the end. He welcomes competition just like I do as a consumer, because in the end it allows the industry to compete to create products that better each other with each successive new idea etc.

geddesmond2163d ago

Lol this MS guy ha. Wrong you only need deep pockets when you have to bribe gamers to play your consol like say paying millions of dollars to secure exclusive DLC for some of the bigest selling games in the industry. What Valve will do if they price the Steambox right is give consol gamers something they've been waiting for for years now. MS are just scared because they know they have f all exclusives and something like this bites into a lot of their market. What other gaming company besides MS is very respected in America? Answer valve. Steams games are cheaper than Xbox live, offers everything Xbox live does except no subscription costs and Half Life 3 lol that becomes a steambox exclusive then what american gamer won't want one of them, not to mention Left for Dead and Portal.

princejb1342163d ago

I'm gonna give it a chance depending on the price
If its worth it in the long run might even consider dropping Sony and Microsoft consoles all together

thezeldadoth2163d ago

his comments just come off sounding like a butthurt competitor.

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marigold2164d ago

Valve has already positioned themselves (rather adeptly) as a major player in PC gaming - and as a distribution channel. It seems almost natural that they'd want to focus their attention on hardware as well. From a strictly gamer perspective, I'm kind of excited to see the Steambox in action and will love to own one.

Cueil2163d ago

Why? The whole reason I'd want a Steambox was because it was different from my PC... but I've already got Steam on my PC..

cl19832164d ago

So nice to read a article with a positive vibe

AznGaara2164d ago

If I didn't spend $800+ on a new PC last year id definitely buy the Steambox. Valve can definitely do this though, their steam sales are amazing. One thing that would be cool would be for them to make their own "Steambox" controller. Sure the Xbox controller and various 3rd party controllers work but if they want to capture the casual audience, a Steambox with a Steambox controller would look really nice and not confuse customers.

LocutusEstBorg2164d ago

You're better off buying a Steambox. $800 is my budget just for one component: the GPU.

AznGaara2164d ago

But my PC is already way better than the Steambox, unless the Steambox has an i7 3770k, 16gb ram, SSD and a GTX 660ti lol

jon12342164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

people people, especially you pc people, instead of typing out all these ridiculous names when you are talking about your pc. like a geoforce239126xxazc7qg or whatever theyre called and just agree to say, i have a good pc period

tachy0n2164d ago

we cant say we have "good" computer since specifications and uses vary a lot.
i agree with AznGaara , i smell like steam box will not be that huge since people would rather buy a PS4 or an Xbox720.

keep in mind that the support linux has is awful, there is a reason why windows is still dominant after all these years same applies with apple and OS X.


EA is starting to pull their games from steam.

jon12342163d ago

No.... No... You people can say good computer, I think you guys like putting out these lame names just to show off and be pretentious....

AznGaara2163d ago

Now this is an interesting comment because, with all the articles floating around with the next Xbox and PS and what they're specs are its fine. It's okay if those article say things like "Xbox720 8gb ram" or "PS4 AMD CPU" but as soon as a PC gamer says their specs its suddenly blasphemy.

jon12342163d ago

no, not what im saying, going back and reading what you wrote, i see that you werent listing all the components in your rig, but the way you listed the ones you did, set me off i guess... however, i find it very annoying in many of the comment sections regarding multi platform games, when a debate goes back and forward between consoles, you always have one pc gamer interject his own opinion and start by listing all these goofy names, but still, it would be nice to for people to just say, hey my pc is badass, instead of, well you know...

BanBrother2164d ago

People always give MS flak for their past sins (any PC gamer can tell you why, or any PC enthusiast lol), but their PR department is classy, which is more than can be said of other companies. EA are the absolute worse, and will attack at the throat any chance they get.

I never like companies that attack each other, as it is childish. Glad to see a great response from ms. Right now Gabe Newell is probably slowly putting on suglasses; "challenge, accepted".

grayfoxx8812164d ago

Microsoft's PR Department is anything but classy.

Veneno2164d ago

Aaron greenburg is classy?

Turn 10 are classy?

morganfell2163d ago

He said anything BUT classy. That means they are not classy. What happened to grammar class?

Sp1d3ynut2163d ago (Edited 2163d ago )

Hey, morganFAIL...Veneno was replying to the OP, not grayfoxx881. Maybe you need a reading comprehension class?

WetN00dle692163d ago

No but at least Turn 10 got humbled and due to that they got their shit together and released an amazing title that is Forza Horizon.

SilentNegotiator2164d ago (Edited 2164d ago )

Oh please. They do everything with a smile, but they aren't classy.

Try looking between the lines. Valve is making Linux the backbone of their Steambox. Microsoft thought that they had officially killed Linux off as a threat when they threatened hardware companies out of using Linux in some their computers (least MS take away their privilege to license Windows), even making Asus’ chairman, Jonney Shih, apologize for SHOWING a Linux powered computer.

Microsoft's biggest fear is open platforms. Look at how Firefox and Chrome have taken over. Microsoft has tried several times to keep people from downloading them at all. Even with Windows 8 they tried pulling that crap.

It's about trying to scare away potential partners/investors and Valve themselves, that way Linux won't have a chance to grow. Not class. They're a corporation; you can't seriously think that they MEAN IT when they said "We welcome competition with open arms! ;)"

InMyOpinion2163d ago (Edited 2163d ago )

Both MS, Sony and Nintendo have some major douchebags who make PR statements (or just spout random crap on their Twitter accounts). I wouldn't call any of them classy.

BanBrother2163d ago

As a business, maybe not. But you can at least admit their PR can restrain themselves. They could have easily used the PSN attack to their advantage, but they didn't.

Then again, as usual, people hear what they want to hear on N4G.

Baka-akaB2163d ago (Edited 2163d ago )

Except they couldnt have easily use it at all . Any kind of attack about that would have made them look bad , and it affected the whole industry anyway .

This got nothing to do with being classy , there have been enough instance to show that , you just wanna hear what you wanna hear .