Games on Apple TV big threat to Steam Box, says Valve co-founder

Ashleigh Allsopp
1 February, 2013
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The Apple TV is more of a threat to Valve’s Steam Box gaming hardware than Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, says the company’s co-founder and software engineer Gabe Newell.

Talking to a class at the University of Texas’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, Newell told students that Steam Box, Valve’s upcoming Linux-based games console for digital distribution platform Steam, and any other PC ecosystem that hopes to take on living room gaming, could face failure if Apple beats them to it.

“The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their [iOS gaming] platform,” said Newell. “I think that there is a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging – I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?”

“I think a whole bunch of hardware companies are going to be releasing products in the next 12 months – you’ll hear it referred to as Miracast, [Project] Shield from Nvidia, or lots of other people,” Newell continued. “There are going to be a huge set of products that say, ‘If you want something that’s incredibly cheap, at a price point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you’re going to take advantage of the PC that’s running somewhere in your house.”

“The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles,” Newell explained. “I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.”

Speculation about Apple’s venture into the living room has been circulating since as far back as 2009, and recent reports suggest that a new Apple TV set-top box could be on its way. This new release could bring performance boosts and the ability to support gaming apps that will played with a Bluetooth games controller.

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