Valve enters gaming-console wars

By Zach Walters - zwalters@shawmedia.com

Steam's Big Picture Mode (Photo Provided)

It looks like a new contender will be throwing itself into the console gaming war.

Valve, a well-known game development and digital distribution company, is preparing custom PCs for living room set-ups. It has long been rumored the company wanted to compete with console heavyweights like Sony and Microsoft, and it seems this is their play.

These new systems will only be PCs on a fundamental level, however. President Gabe Newell made it known their hardware will be a “very controlled environment.” This makes sense, since most consumers aversion to PC gaming stems from the inability to afford new computer upgrades, not to mention lacking the technical knowledge necessary to install them.

What makes this news so appealing though is Steam, Valve's unique digital distribution platform for computer games. Steam allows you to purchase and download new games right from home, while simultaneously offering Facebook-like social features and other useful functions. Steam has been a monumental success, and it's only natural for Valve to strive to make the platform more accessible to the common gamer.

I'm ecstatic Valve is branching out. I use Steam on my PC almost daily, including its new Big Picture Mode, which allows the gamer to play games on a TV in a seamless fashion. The average consumer should be excited as well, since Steam's seasonal sales offer up great games for substantial discounts (seriously, I've given Mr. Newell a lot of my money). This decision is a smart one, but it's also fraught with hurdles, not the least of which being exclusives. The gaming industry (unfortunately) operates on the fact that sometimes certain games are only available on certain systems. While Sony and Microsoft have a slew of exclusive IP's, Valve will have to start smaller.

Nevertheless, I have high hopes Valve will be able to iron out the problems and offer up a unique alternative to PC gaming.

What are you thoughts? Email me at zwalters@shawmedia.com or find me on Twitter @geekfeednews.


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