SteamBox – The Ultimate Console Experience
Full disclosure before we begin: I am a PC/PS3 gamer. I have tons of game on steam as well as over 30 games on PS3, and am a PS+ subscriber. I like PC games, some PS3 exclusives, and even XBOX exclusive games like Halo. Also I love Mario, Zelda, and other Nintendo IPs.
2013 is right around the corner and everyone is getting excited about the new consoles coming out. I myself was one of those people up until a few weeks ago. Which one will be better graphics? Which one will release first? Can the Wii U keep up? However I have completely lost interest in the new generation of consoles due to STEAM Big Picture Mode which was recently announced, and many of you might too if you keep reading. For those of you who don’t know, the STEAM Big Picture Mode (which from now on will be called (STEAM BPM) essentially turns your PC into a console experience. Here is a review from IGN:
How many times have you said “I wish ‘insert console manufacturer’s name’ added this feature, or added that feature”. Perfect example would be PS3’s cross game chat or XBOX LIVE gold subscription which should be free. Some of us have waited years for these things to happen, only to be let down by Microsoft and SONY. If you were in charge of your own system, you could have added this and other features simply by installing additional software. We don’t have to be at the mercy of the Big 3.
So why is STEAM BPM a big deal? Because almost every single reason used to justify consoles over PC has been eradicated (more on the almost later). Here are the top reasons why you should at least consider ditching the next gen consoles in favor of the STEAM Box console.
#1. STEAM BPM now allows gamers to sit on their couch and use a controller with a beautiful, fast and efficient interface to play video games. You can set up a 360 or PS3 controller to play from your couch. Furthermore, the STEAM BPM mode is much faster than other console interfaces (Just look at the new Wii U interface and how people are waiting 20s just to go into system settings. Is this really happening in 2012?).
#2. Games. Steambox console (PC) has the widest variety of both Steambox as well as CONSOLE games. This makes it the ULTIMATE console. You heard that right. With PC you can play every single PC game released to date, as well as the following console games:
-All console games released by Nintendo before the Wii U. There is an emulator for every single console. In the case of GameCube and Wii U emulation, a single emulator called “Dolphin” exists which not only emulates all of the games 100% accurately, but also allows you to play Nintendo games in 1080p with extra graphical enhancements such as AA turned on! Don’t believe me? http://dolphin-emulator.com... . You can check out some of the games they play on YouTube which look much clearer on the PC than on the actual Wii. Also… It’s free.
-All PSX games.
-75% of PS2 games have been emulated. (PS3 emulation is incoming. EmulatorX team is already working on it). Even PS3 doesn’t have this capability anymore.
-All XBOX 1 games.
-All older system games including Sega dreamcast,etc…
#3. PC gaming has become simple. In the past console gamers have said PC gaming is complicated…. Because it was. But it’s not anymore.
All you have to do for drivers is go to Nvidia’s website, they auto detect your hardware, you click “Download” and install it. It’s that easy.
-Optimal Game Settings
NVIDIA just invented something called OPS or “Optimum Playable Settings”. All you do is go to their website, click on which GPU you have, and which game you want to play, and they will show you which settings to put to have the best experience. Take a look:
#4. Best Graphics.
Always. PC will always have better graphics. All you need to do is when you build your PC, make sure to get a graphics card which outperforms that of the consoles. That way you are set for that entire console generation and will be playing with better graphics than all your friends. No need to upgrade. Also, its not as expensive as you might think (more on that later).
5. Exclusive Games
Consoles have their exclusive games, but PC has its own. HON, DOTA2, STARCRAFT 2, Planetside 2 (2000 people multiplayer FPS anyone?). There are many exclusive games to play as a PC Gamer. And all of the multiplats of course.
6. Easy to build.
No really, it’s actually just as easy as playing Lego. All you need to do is go on tech forums like tomshwardare and say “Hey guys I have X amount of money and I want a PC. Tell me what parts to buy”. They will tell you the best configuration you can get for your money. Then you put those parts together (which is so easy my tech incompetent girlfriend built half of my PC). Here is an example (You can click on every part to see how it’s installed):
Are some of you going to argue that this process is difficult or that you couldn’t do it? Not only is it easy, it’s worth it for the ultimate gaming experience.
7. Cost of gaming
PC Gaming cost is on par with that of consoles. Because console games are more expensive and you pay $10 per new game, some of you pay XBL fees of $60 per year, etc…. the costs even out. In fact, depending on how many games you buy you may actually make out better as a PC gamer (Even after building a PC for $800-$900 or so).
Steam sales give away games for $5 or even $2.50. That’s even a better deal than PS+ because you actually own the games you buy. They are even holding a sale for controller-supported games right now to promote their Big Picture Mode (click on top left green circle):
Also Humble Indie Bundles let you pay what you want to get great games (And the recently announced THQ bundle): You get all of the games listed here if you pay $6 (I Paid 15$ b/c I wanted to support THQ).
Free graphical and content upgrades. Essentially Free DLC. Awesome no?
These are the reasons why I am ditching the Big 3 for gaming next gen, and will be doing my console gaming on the Ultimate Console: The SteamBox. A Unified experience to play console and PC games.
Share your ideas and comments below.
EDIT: Also, I believe Valve is going to succeed. Its unlike most companies out there. You guys should read their new employee handbook its really interesting:
NES & N64 Emulators on Steam BPM. GC, Wii, and PSX Emulators not shown (although I do have them as well).