Oh great profit ABizzel1


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3 Platform Future: Xbox + PC + Steam = WIN


Welcome to part two of the 3 platform future series. This is a 3 part blog, on what I personally hope will happen to the current game industry removing the need for to purchase 6 different platforms to have access to all games, and instead have a simple 3 platform medium. If you missed the first part, it covered Nintendo and moving their business into a one handheld/console hybrid future aka my take on the Nintendo Fusion that I dubbed N-Fusion.


The story of the little Xbox that could.
Today is Microsoft’s turn. Microsoft came into the video game industry with the original Xbox. It was a bulky, but solid gaming console for it’s time, but ultimately only saw minor success in it’s homeland. The Xbox 360 defied all odds (mainly due to Sony’s missteps with the PlayStation 3), and more than tripled the sales of the original Xbox, cementing the Xbox brand as a true Core gaming console. However, the tables have turned and now the Xbox One has started this console generation in the same place Sony’s previous console started, and while the Xbox brand is putting up an effort to overcome it’s shortcomings and media backlash, it’s still a daily struggle to regain the brand's footing. Is this the end for Xbox?

Change is a good thing.
Hopefully not; however, I do hope this is the end of Xbox and Microsoft so to speak. Regardless of their current position Microsoft has done a great job turning the Xbox brand into a common household name; however, it’s time for both brands to part ways. The Xbox brand should continue on, just not under direct control of Microsoft. Microsoft doesn’t have the gaming knowledge or pull (outside of finances) to carry the Xbox brand any further than where the Xbox 360 took it. Microsoft will and should still be a major partner and funder of the Xbox brand by keeping the brand under it's corporate umbrella, but by allowing Xbox to be it's own separate division it can have much more creative control over the product(s) as well as develop new ownership, new partnerships, and thrive.

When you're directly under a corporation it's like being a child, you have to ask mommy / daddy for any and everything you want. Well if Xbox is a spin-off from under MS, they can still get funding and financing from MS (likely a bit less than as if directly owned), but at the same time make partnerships or deals with other companies and publishers like Valve, EA, Capcom, etc... without having to have daddy (MS) review, process, and approve everything, and that's just covering the business side of things.

Creatively speaking it means, more investments can be made in new IP, more smaller studios can be bought and crafted into 1st party giants over the years, and overall just more creative freedom if the CEO allows it, and if it's Phil Spencer then that's likely the case.

But the most important aspect of this freedom would allow Xbox to where I would like to see the brand head to is PC gaming partnerships. They need to let the Xbox brand go back to it’s roots, PC gaming and form multiple partnerships with the PC industries major players (Intel / NVIDIA / AMD / etc...). I know some of you Xbox fans are screaming NOOOOO, but you don’t know what you’re missing out on if you don’t have a gaming PC. And I know some of you PC fans are screaming NOOOOO, but hear me out first.

Xbox already has some big partnerships with Major League Gaming, EA Games (hence EA access and exclusives), the NFL, Cable Providers, and more. Well it’s time to go to PC and find more, and their biggest potential partner Valve. Valve wanted to make a Steambox a PC that has the form factor and ease of use as a console. Well Xbox is already everything the Steambox wants to be, and more importantly has the fanbase and following to make it a success. This is a partnership that’ll be good for the Xbox brand, Valve, Microsoft, and gamers (both PC and console).

Introducing Xbox-Steam (lol).
The dual OS feature of the XBO can be put to full use for gaming with the Xbox-Steam. They can either run Windows OS as it’s main OS and Steam as the secondary (highly unlikely, as that means taking up resources to run 2 full operating systems). Or they could simply run a Xbox OS (windows kernerl), and allow gamers to buy / install a full Windows OS allowing you to turn your Xbox-Steam into a full function gaming PC. This is the more likely option as they can sell the full Windows update and install on the XBL store (making sure they get their money), and it gives both Xbox and PC gamers the best of both worlds, allowing Xbox gamers to keep the interface, console, and system they’re used to and budget PC gamers an affordable console/gaming PC that can still access their Steam library and has good valued and good hardware.

The other partnerships come into play with Twitch streaming MLG competition exclusively on the Xbox-Steam, NFL license, Cable Access (same as XBO), EA Access, Uplay Access (Ubisoft version of EA Access, as well as enticing other companies to get on board), and more making it a service based box as well that doesn’t impede on the PConsoles main function, gaming.

Now that the software is out of the way the hardware is all that’s left to tackle. The Xbox-Steam is the same Xbox console gamers are used to, but taking a lesson from Steam Machines with its innards being fundamentally contemporary PC parts. Here’s where it benefits PC gaming as a whole. Since the Xbox-Steam would still be standardized hardware it would be the baseline (recommended specs) for PC development. All PC games would likely target Xbox-Steam as the recommended specs early in the generation, and as the generation nears it's end, the same specs would soon become the minimum. It makes those willing to invest in $1,000 gaming PCs would have a much better base line for their PC games to run from getting the best performance out of their rigs that they can.

The Xbox-Steam should simply use off the shelf parts, with tweaks and engineering changes here and there to offer the console better performance overall than the off-shelf product would provide. Off the shelf PC hardware, brings several benefits as well too, since it allows ports between Xbox-Steam and PC platforms to be significantly easier, and practically a drag and drop process between the two. With the Xbox-Steam being a fixed platform with dedicated hardware it would still have all the benefits of a console such as extremely low level API allowing the hardware to perform pass its PC counterpart capabilities. But one final possibly is the capability to upgrade core components, specifically the RAM and GPU for those who simply want to use the Xbox-Steam as a gaming PC, and forget its console component that way they can get more milage out of the Xbox-Steam strictly as a gaming PC (upgrading voids your warranty, and dedicated console games don't receive any of the benefits from upgrading your GPU since they're programed for a specific hardware standard, and it might crash those console games, so upgrade at your own risk).

The hardware would receive a refresh every 6 - 8 years, bringing improved specs and performance with the predecessor being subjugated to low end PC gaming, and allowing PC hardware 2 - 3 full generation jumps for much better performance. A price range of $400 - $500 will be established and consistent with each hardware revision, with $400 being more consumer friendly, and unfortunately for team Xbox the requirement for them. The focus of the hardware should always be decent CPU, best available GPU for $400 launch price. The CPU needs to be decent enough to run demanding games, and dual OS without being a bottleneck to the system and also being capable of functioning as a full on gaming PC since it would be an aspect of the Xbox-Steam that can't be upgraded for those looking for a PC only experience. The GPU simply needs to be the best it can be within the budget for competition purposes with Sony and their PlayStation brand, so there's never an issue of the PlayStation being more powerful and cost the same or less again.

So what do you think?
So overall the Xbox-Steam brings together console gaming and PC gaming like Valve hoped the Steam Machines would do. It’s one platform that has the best of both worlds, with full PC architecture, making it easy for developers. An Xbox OS for console only gamers, with the possibility of downloading a full Windows OS and Steam to also run on the Xbox-Steam for those PC gamers who are looking for a great budget PC. Xbox gamers still get to keep their plug and play console, game with a Xbox controller on their HDTV, play with their Xbox friends, and have access to all your favorite Xbox games, and budget PC gamers get a great $400 build, that has the performance of a $500 - $600 gaming PC.

Once again I've tried to come up with downsides to this new strategy, but I really don't see any. As I said Xbox fans aren't losing anything, they're still getting the same great console they love. And on the flip side PC gamers now have a baseline standard for PC developers to code for. If your PC isn't up to par then you can simply buy an Xbox-Steam every 6 years, and upgrade parts when if necessary. The only negative I can come up with is that more Xbox exclusives might make their way to PC either at launch of a year or more later, but that's not really an issue considering the Xbox brand has pretty much guaranteed itself a solid 60m following around the globe thanks to the success of the Xbox 360 (40m NA, 15m EU, 5m RoW), and in the end software sells benefit the company as a whole. So at worse the Xbox brand stays at 60m units sold and overtime drops down even lower, but at the same time those former Xbox gamers become PC gamers and software sales jump. However, it's very unlikely to happen, especially for those who want their Xbox exclusive Day 1.

So once again let me know what you think in the comments. Should Xbox split from Microsoft, and simply partner with Microsoft and Valve, creating a PConsole. Or should we continue alienating the space with 6 different platforms. You decide.

Ooooo Xboxy

Ooooo also Xboxy

Halo 5 1080p @ 60fps on Xbox-Steam...Quite Possible

Gears of War 4 1080p @ 60fps on Xbox-Steam....Again quite possible

DonDon3342d ago

You're on a roll with these ideas man. These kinda ideas totally corner a market. I don't like MS, but personal iews aside, your idea here would crush the competition. If they would get more Japanese devs on board (my fave games are made from there) than I might warm to MS (slightly). But anyway, this idea would brutally crush their opponents. You have a knack for thinking up ways to give games a full packaged deal (like your N-Fusion Nintendo console(s) idea)

Good blog.

iamnsuperman3342d ago (Edited 3342d ago )

What you propose is Microsoft giving up control over software and increasing competition with a large os footprint on each system. What benefit is this to Microsoft again? The Steam Boxs have a fundamental flaw of that they have no market anyway and the manufacturers incur all the consequence while steam reeps all the rewards (so Microsoft makes this machine and loses out on all third party sales to steam. Value and Microsoft are too big to make sacrifices to keep things fair especially when Value gets the best deal while Microsoft looses out considerably)

I am confused about what you are proposing. Console benefit from optimization but what you are suggesting is allowing users to upgrade their systems. What is the point of Microsoft ever releasing a new sku? How would they get consumers to ditch the old product to just buy new ones? These are all issues the manufacture of steam boxes are going to find. Android suffer right now from the issue of multiple hardware versions and so does Windows. Both those OS system are not streamed lined.

Even if you didn't offer the ability to upgrade Microsoft runs into the issue of no-one using their OS system in favour of steam (essentially making a steam console with a limited life span, aka the average PC user). Steam has a price advantage Microsoft can't compete with

This is fantasy level stuff that has very little practicality to it. PC and console gaming do not mix very well. It is like Microsoft's issue with their Surface. They are trying to make a tabtop (tablet and laptop) but it isn't what people want. It is trying to do too much but it doesn't do the tablet nor the laptop side well enough. PC gaming and console gaming may be cut from the same cloth but there is still fundamental differences which stop a marriage every occurring.

ABizzel13340d ago

That's the point, it's not to benefit MS, it's to benefit the Xbox brand, which is why I started off saying the Xbox brand needs to separate itself from MS, because MS is putting people in positions of power who aren't gamers or have a great depth of understanding of the Game Industry (outside of spend money to get big 3rd party games on our platform, and exclusive content), and it's the whole reason the XBO is where it is now loss of focus on games, and heavy influence of what MS as a company wants.

The Xbox brand is better off on it's own, and now that it's and being ran by Phil Spencer it has had been a saving grace for where the XBO was originally headed. If you give complete control to Phil, and have MS only funding the Xbox brand can be a constant success like the 360 was.

As far as upgrades, the entire point of the platform is to be PC like. If they're to get back on the PC side of gaming then their console should reflect that as well. If they go with off the shelf products it makes cost of manufacturing drop significantly, as well as allow users to upgrade. However, every 6 years PC components change greatly, so it doesn't make sense to keep your old Xbox-Steam when the newer version comes out if the CPU isn't up to par anymore, if the Motherboard or out of date (example, the first box only has 2 RAM slots, and 1150 / or if AMD changes their socket type), the RAM speeds could change, and more. This is why even if you're allowed to upgrade it doesn't stop you from buying the new console, and regardless MS is still making money by working with AMD or NVIDIA to produce parts that are optimized to work with the Xbox-Steam.

As far as dual OS goes, what you said makes no sense. Steam for Windows is by FAR the best version with the most games, because most developer make their games for Windows and everything else is an afterthought. The system boots into Windows always, and the dual OS for Steam is simply to have access to the service.

Steam Machines were the perfect example, but they failed because there are way too many, and Valve doesn't have as big of a Name in gaming as Microsoft does when it comes to console gaming, which is why this is a great partnership for both of them. Valve gets their Steam Machine, PC gamers get the support they've been asking for, console gamers still get to keep their console, Xbox gets to thrive, and MS can focus on their other businesses.

ABizzel13338d ago


The point you're missing is that you're still referring to everything as how does this benefit MS, which is the whole point of the article.

The Xbox brand needs to split from under MS umbrella, and simply partner with MS and Valve (NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD as well for hardware, but obviously someone's going to bet left out of this three way equation). Xbox is nothing but a blip on MS finances, and there's little reason to keep it there, but the brand has such popularity (at least 25m - 80m) that it's foolish to not be involved somehow, which is why MS makes it money by having the platform run Window OS, and being a partner (meaning for each Xbox-Steam sold, MS is making money, without having to worry about production cost, publishing fees, etc..., because they're just a partner).

The flaw of Steam Machines was there were too many, their prices varied too greatly, the performance of the $500 versions were at best on par with the consoles which made no sense for traditional console gamers.
This is why the Xbox-Steam instantly solves all the flaws of Steam Machines. It already has an established brand name among console gamers, it's a singular device without multiple SKUs with varying prices and varying hardware performance levels (there's a baseline Xbox-Steam, and you can potentially upgrade if you want more power). You're trying to look at it from a split perspective of Xbox and Steam Machine, instead of it simply being another Xbox but more PC like.

As far as OS goes, the console will obviously boot into Windows just like the XBO does, and Steam can literally be an app, or a dual OS just like the XBO has for it's other services such as TV viewing. And once again you're still stuck in the Microsoft mindset. This device is a PConsole, not a Microsoft Xbox. The deal made out for pricing games and services are strictly between Xbox and Steam. Most of the work MS put into XBO OS has pretty much made it's way into Windows 8, especially now that they have the Windows 8 Xbox app (which gives you all access to your Xbox console, besides playing games).

Genuine question here do you have a gaming PC?

A simple yes to that question determines everything you need to know about why this is nothing, but a win for PC gaming and in turn Xbox gaming. To accept this you have to stop thinking of Xbox and PC being two different lanes, and look at how they'll benefit each other. Xbox will basically become the mascot for PC gaming, that entry point that bridges PC and consoles, and that's a race they can win and best of all it's a lane they can dominate and monopolize off brand recognition alone.

Each one of these 3 platform future articles is to give each manufacturer a space they can dominate, and a niche they can all their own so consumers are no longer buying multiple platforms that simply overlap with each other (mainly PS and Xbox, but more on this in the next article).


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Tapani3h ago(Edited 3h ago)

I was initially interested in this as it looked externally closer to Diablo 2 than 3, but it does seem like the game is not a great single player action rpg I was hoping for. If you take all the press and whatnot hype out of it, is this really any good, for example compared to Diablo 2 or Grim Dawn? The latter has not been as addictive and interesting for me as Diablo 2, but maybe it will get better as I progress. I'm looking for a 100% single-player side of this.

Daver3h ago(Edited 3h ago)

I got the sorcerer to 82 and I thought it would be good similar to diablo 2 but the thing is it is boring. All the dungeons feel the same, the loot is uninteresting you find unique, you pick it up and you continue without looking at it because you know its probably bad and not very different from what you have. You never feel powerful unless you make The Build everyone is using on internet

Azurite3h ago

The Steam reviews will be interesting.

Knightofelemia2h ago

I thought it was all ready out on Steam when the game came out.

slate912h ago

Here comes the review bombing


New Overwatch 2 Trailer Unveils Diablo Crossover, Samoa Map

ESTNN writes: "The Season 7 "Rise of Darkness" trailer for Overwatch 2 also gave us our first look at an anticipated Sombra rework."

LordoftheCritics8h ago

Two negatives should make a positive

Godmars2903h ago

Only true in math. In the real world its just two layers of s**t.