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Valve Boss Expects Apple To Challenge Game Consoles

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the yeah-but-please-don't dept.

Games 197

Speaking at a panel during the WTIA TechNW conference, Valve CEO Gabe Newell had some interesting things to say about his expectations for the console business. Quoting: "The living room is the domain of the consoles, and its ability to exist independently from the other platforms is gone, Newell said. Newell expects Apple to disrupt the living room platform with a new product that will challenge consoles, although he doesn't have any particular knowledge of that new product. 'I suspect Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear,' he said. Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the 'wrong philosophical approach' but one that people will emulate because of the success of Apple and Xbox Live."

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Why don't Valve innovate then? (3, Insightful)

Arab (466938) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699068)

Valve have the distribution mechanism and the software library in Steam, why don't they release a reference Valve Box then?

Hide windows with a pretty dedicated UI and sell it cheap. It's Amazon's business model for the Kindle and it seems to be working quite well for them.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699130)

Because I think he's expecting Apple to use its brand to get into people's front room, and the lack of a separate platform coming about because the iConsole would run iOS.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699196)

All they need to do is draw together something combination of Mac Mini / Apple TV / App Store / Game Controller and it's job done. They already have the big publishers on the app store.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699334)

As someone who is quite acquainted with your complete lack of truly will away, I ask you: why on Earth did you pick the banana peel of damaging nights rather than the gun of modification?

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700642)

Siri, is that you?

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701528)

Its simpler than that I think. Apple TV tied into an iPad or iPhone works pretty fluently with the provided apps (not 3rd party). The example I can think of witnessing is the MLB app where you watch the game(s) but your iDevice shows stats that you can browse and interact with relating to the game.

Extend that idea to an "app" being a game and your iDevice being the controller and Apple TV being this "Mystery Box" and you suddenly have a game console.

The hardware would need improvement to be a true gaming experience but that's not to say it is a stretch.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699152)

Valve have the distribution mechanism and the software library in Steam, why don't they release a reference Valve Box then?

The software/game development business probably provides better margins. Valve doesn't necessarily have the resources to throw around at console-type hardware like Microsoft and Apple do, as well. Many, from Atari and Coleco to Sega, have tried and failed. As it is for Valve, they can update software and re-deploy through Steam. A "Valve Box" would probably also require special made-to-order hardware to control manufacturing costs. Software just keeps running.

If you're doing something that works in the current hardware and software ecosystem, someone might call you crazy for diving into an uncertain and risky venture that is outside of your expertise. You can hire expertise, but it doesn't change that you're attaching your brand to something you aren't quite sure is going to succeed like the business you are in now.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699170)

They may have the software library but all those windows games depend on windows. Valve would have to do something profoundly do to more than be a kiosk application on top of that and Microsoft would likely be highly uncooperative since it'd be a direct competitor with their xbox. Apple on the other hand has the whole stack and experience with hardware production and distribution. Basically it'd be repurposing something like the Mac Mini into an entertainment center, maybe with beefier graphics.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699194)

On the other hand, apple would likely find most game makers highly uncooperative, as they are directly challenging their business models. So it's not that easy for apple either.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699350)

What the fuck are you talking about? Game makers don't like to have channels to sell their games on now? Who knew?! This explains why there are no games on iPhone.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699782)

There's plenty of highly cooperative games makers already. iOS is the biggest handheld games platform.

What business model is being challenged (other than Steam)? When a developer sells a game on physical media through publishers, distributors, and shops they are making maybe 5 cents on the dollar. Through the Apple Store they get 70 cents on the dollar.

Games makers aren't challenged by Apple's model - other games distributors and stores (such as Steam) are.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699610)

I don't think they'd start with a Mac Mini. That's a $599 item.

Starting from an Apple TV makes more sense. That's a $99 item.

But I'd think the most likely is to make a whole new iOS derivative. The iPhone 4S has a 1GHz dual core processor, and Apple made the graphics speed 7 times faster than the iPhone 4. They did this by making it a dual core GPU. That seems like a lot of effort on games for a phone! It makes a lot more sense if that's the platform they are intending to make a console with.

Furthermore they made a comment at the launch of the iPhone 4S that the graphics were now console level. Whether you accept that or not, it again reveals their ambitions. And it's easy to believe the next iteration of Apple SoC will be.

The iPhone platform already has supports composite and HGMI video out.

But the bigger reasons for iOS are software. iOS is already a very successful games platform, OS X isn't. iOS is also more robust - every App gets installed into its own sandbox. OS X can go wrong, and needs technical support. iOS just works. iOS is designed to run one app at a time, just like a console. The iOS App Store and installation system is more robust than the Mac App Store. SpringBoard would make a perfectly reasonable console UI, Finder wouldn't, and Front Row seems almost abandoned.

I imagine a new generation Apple TV with next gen A5 CPU (A6?) and iOS. Already capable of running all the games in the App Store.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

Prehensile Interacti (742615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700164)

I imagine a new generation Apple TV with next gen A5 CPU (A6?) and iOS. Already capable of running all the games in the App Store.

I think you're bob on there. Updating the Apple TV Bill of Materials [isuppli.com] . With the iPhone 4s [eetimes.com] estimates

  • Apple A5 - $26
  • Memory 32GB NAND / 512MB SDRAM - $38

Would make a total BoM today of $97.40 (presuming they can't cost reduce the rest) - with a launch in 2012 some time, they ought to pull this off for their more typical margins.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699254)

Because you can't use a keyboard and mouse while sitting on the sofa. And if you're not going to use a keyboard and mouse, why not just get an xbox or a ps3, who already have online distribution and large software libraries?

Because you couldn't build a gaming device and sell it cheap. Amazon's business model for the Kindle is to push themselves to the front of the ebook market, so they build cheap devices with no margins which could even make a loss, and they'd make all their money back selling ebooks. Valve would essentially have to build a gaming PC with Windows, which would be expensive. If they accepted a loss on the box and increased their prices to those of consoles to make it back afterwards, they'd lose their advantage.

Because Valve would have to make a massive amount of effort to just get to the point where the xbox/ps3 already are, and that's before they can start to innovate. The only way a new console could succeed is if it does something really different. I despise Apple and what their walled gardens are doing to the world of computing, but right now they do seem like the only people who could break into the console market, selling to their massive iphone/ipad user base who could re-use their devices as controllers for games, media etc.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700176)

Because you can't use a keyboard and mouse while sitting on the sofa.

Nor can you eat a TV dinner while sitting on a sofa. Oh wait, they make tray tables for that, and the same tray tables work with a keyboard and mouse.

And if you're not going to use a keyboard and mouse, why not just get an xbox or a ps3, who already have online distribution and large software libraries?

Because Apple caters best to indie developers. Anybody can buy a devkit for $1250 ($650 for a Mac mini, $200 for an iPod touch, $100 for each of four years of a subscription to the iOS developer program). You can't even buy a devkit for Xbox 360 or PS3 unless Microsoft or Sony invites you, and not all developers even qualify to apply for an invitation.

Valve would essentially have to build a gaming PC with Windows, which would be expensive.

A gaming PC, even one with a Windows operating system, isn't too much more expensive than a PlayStation 3 console.

Game hardware ain't cheap (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699612)

We can see this with the consoles, none of them can play proper PC games. Why do you think Half-Life 2 for the xbox looked far worse? And that is an OLD game.

While for most geeks the difference between a PC and a gaming PC ain't all that big, for the average consumer there is a HUGE difference. Their PC is a P4. People still use non flatscreens for screens!

A reference PC that can play games for half a decade will need to be a cutting edge machine to survive for that long. You can't just use a 200 dollar machine because not only will it already be crap, it will be even crappier by the time it has any adoption at all.

The reference gaming PC has been thought up before and it never works. Either it is to expensive to get adopted or so cheap it ain't any good.

Re:Game hardware ain't cheap (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37700146)

While for most geeks the difference between a PC and a gaming PC ain't all that big, for the average consumer there is a HUGE difference. Their PC is a P4. People still use non flatscreens for screens!

Actually, interestingly, gamers were the people hanging onto CRTs long after the average consumer switched to buying TFT screens, because the lag in TFT at the time was far worse than CRT.

Re:Game hardware ain't cheap (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700180)

Unless they're targeting a new market, ie the people who wouldn't buy a console or gaming rig, but to whom an all-in-one device like an Apple TV with beefed up gaming capabilities appeals. It doesn't need to be as fast as a gaming rig, or even old consoles. It just needs to be fast enough to run angry birds.

The point is, they don't have to beat gaming rigs or consoles, since they're targeting a different market that they already have managed to ensnare via iOS.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699904)

That's simple thinking.

As we've seen from Google's attempts, and Android, GP32X and so forth, developers don't like toy boxes.

The next generation of consoles might very well be the last one if Apple can get iOS into the living room proper. The current AppleTV device is just a toy. Up until the most recent MacMini, they were still toys (Though the previous GeForce equipped model was a good try.) A console has to have a target price of 99 to 199 for people to buy it future uncertain. The 800$ price of the iPhone and iPad are a long way from this. And Google's bungling of Android to date has let to come out with a non-toy device.

What I reasonably expect is Apple to release a next generation AppleTV that acts as a pass-thru to any HDMI/Displayport/Thunderbolt equipped television. This next generation device will have all the exact same parts the iPhone/iPad model in the same year, but utilize network storage (iCloud) along with storage on other Apple devices to bring down costs. If your game is downloaded and installed to the mac or iPhone/iPad, it streams it to the television. That just leaves the controller which should be some kind of standardized PS3/Xbox360 style twin analog design.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700270)

The business model with consoles seems to be that you have to accept short term pain (in terms of near zero or even negative profit margins) in order to put out a console that's good enough that people will still be buying it years down the line, when tech advances are such that you can finally leverage the cost savings. Nintendo tried the other route - put out a much simpler console and make profit from day one, but now they're suffering as their console can't handle the games people want today, they've milked the casual gamer market dry and they've been too slow to follow up.

Apple don't seem like the kind of company to bet the farm on releasing a beefed up console and taking two years of losses, even though they have more than enough cash to make that model work. They could go down the causal game system in the living room route, but they're already owning that market on mobiles, is it really a big enough market that they could sell a dedicated console (after all, part of Nintendo's problem is that people who want casual games want them on devices they already own, like phones, and don't want to buy extra hardware).

If Apple are going to get into this market it would have to be on the back of something like Apple TV. Some kind of device that people buy for some other primary purpose, not specifically for the games (on that note, I notice I can buy games and apps on my Samsung Smart TV now, so it looks like everyone is jumping on that bandwagon).

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699952)

because they got lucky with counter strike.

that's why. when did valve really innovate? I ask you, because they never innovated with engines, with faked promo vid material sure, yeah, they did.

a dedicated ui.. well. isn't fullscreening steam just that? just make the fonts bigger. but why they wouldn't tip their toes into making a valve box is that it's fucking expensive and risky to do a phantom for reals.

Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37701252)

Ahhh, Slashdot, where those who never have shit all over those who do.

"Concerns about a closed model".. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699070)

Isn't Steam basically the iTunes of PC games though?

Re:"Concerns about a closed model".. (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699132)

If I'm understanding the article's quote correctly, Gabe is talking about how the iOS devices and the XBox 360 only give you the choice of only one digital distribution service, shutting out potential competitors.
On computers, Steam competes with other digital gaming services, such as Direct2Drive, Desura, GoG, and so on. Later on he goes on to say how a hypothetical Valve-produced console would be "open" so that users could use Steam's competitors alongside Steam.

Re:"Concerns about a closed model".. (2)

Tukz (664339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699216)

There is a reason for that closed distribution service.

The console makers (Sony, MS, etc) doesn't make money on the consoles themselves for a long period of time doing their life-cycle, they get the bulk of the income from software sold on their distributions service and psychical game sales.

If they spend a huge amount of money developing the console hardware, it doesn't make sense to allow third party distribution services on their consoles.
Which is also why they are locked down so tight, unauthorized third party distributions is even worse.

I, however, do appreciate the sentiment from Valve, I'm just afraid it isn't realistic.

The only alternative I see, is if they started to licence third party distribution services, but that kinda defeats the entire "open" point.

Maybe Valve comes up with a cheap way to produce the hardware and also keep it compatible with regular PC games. I'm not just talking architecture, like the Xbox360 (x86), I'm talking direct compatibility with PC Games, with a specific controller scheme attached.
That way, it's pretty much a PC-in-a-box (using a term to make the point, I know a console is already a PC-in-a-box, strictly speaking), where the only requirement to the game is that is has some sort of compatible controller scheme for the console controllers.
And of course, the minimum requirements with whatever hardware is in it.

My post is getting rather lengthy, and I could go on, but I suppose I've included enough to get my point across.

Re:"Concerns about a closed model".. (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699580)

Xbox360 is PowerPC, not x86.

Re:"Concerns about a closed model".. (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699620)

Fair enough, my mistake.

Re:"Concerns about a closed model".. (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699928)

I'm not so sure people want yet another set top box, with all the wires, the extra remotes and all the hassle.

I helped a friend install his new TV last month. An LG, nothing special.

Not being a big follower of TVs, I was amazed at the two USB ports, ethernet port, built in You Tube, Twitter, Facebook...

It's almost like the TV is a "PC in a box" with a huge monitor attached. If this is the way forward, people will lap it up. Maybe stick an "Apple gaming dongle" in the TV's USB port and off you go.

So? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700324)

So it seems to me like he has all the reasons to want people locked in his walled garden, not in Microsoft's or Apple's.

Finally! (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699080)

Pippin 2 here we come!

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

Jerom (96338) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699106)

Their "Newton 2" seems to be doing pretty well...

I Can See the Future Now... (2, Funny)

mentil (1748130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699088)

I'm playing Dark Souls 3 on my iPad 4, and after dying 25 times against a boss I finally win. Before I can save, the battery dies.
I chuck it against the wall in rage and it shatters into more pieces than my dream of ever beating that game, and it sings Daisy Bell in a synthesized Steve Jobs' voice.

Re:I Can See the Future Now... (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699110)

and after dying 25 times against a boss I finally win

If you think it only takes 25 attempts to kill a boss then you've clearly never played Dark Souls :)

Re:I Can See the Future Now... (1)

Alamais (4180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699390)

And then the atomized LSD that was stored in a tiny little capsule inside the iPad kicks in, and you get one hell of a light show.

Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699092)

Free the Mouse!
Three buttons and a mechanical scroll button!
And where can I plug in a keyboard while we're at it.

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699186)

Mechanical scroll wheels are old-fashioned. I have an Apple Magic Mouse (and a Wacom tablet) and while at first it was a bit hard to get used to and the high sensitivity of its touchpad is an issue with some games it does have its advantages, it just takes a while getting used to. On a related note I used to swear by my previous Wacom tablet + mouse, I loved how movement was relative to the tablet and not the mouse, the only problem was getting to work on monday morning and trying to move the mouse pointer up on the screen with the mouse turned 30 degrees to the left only to have it go up and right...

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699252)

I have an Apple Magic Mouse (and a Wacom tablet) and while at first it was a bit hard to get used to and the high sensitivity of its touchpad is an issue with some games it does have its advantages, it just takes a while getting used to.

You don't play games more complicated than solitaire, do you? Otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned a touchpad in context of gaming...

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

Alamais (4180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699394)

Magic mouse. Still a mouse for mousey things, but the top surface is a 'touchpad' that replaces scroll functions, but allows swiping in any direction.

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699442)

You realise he's talking about the touchpad-like top surface of an Apple Magic Mouse, right? It's not the same as a laptop's touchpad.

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699792)

blah, for some reason I wrote "touchpad" in stead of "tablet"... i need more caffeine

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700414)

I have an Apple Magic Mouse (and a Wacom tablet) and while at first it was a bit hard to get used to and the high sensitivity of its touchpad is an issue with some games it does have its advantages, it just takes a while getting used to.

You don't play games more complicated than solitaire, do you? Otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned a touchpad in context of gaming...

What about Dawn of War, Command & Conquer, etc... hell, even I've played Battlefield on a trackpad (when desperate), and it's surprisingly not that bad; if you put up with the weirdness of it for a few minutes.

Re:Not without my mouse they aren't. (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699706)

Page Up /Down, Next/Previous Weapon work better for me with a fixed (but adjustable) click "distance". For PvP Quake III Arena /Enemy Territory like first person shooters I personally need reload/ zoom/ next weapon on my mouse as a minimum. I've played on my neighbours Wacom tablet, and it's not big enough for my mouse sensitivity settings ( granted I need about 40 cm lateral ). Another point is that I don't want my cursor moving even 1 mm when I pick up my mouse and replace it elsewhere on the mouse pad, although optic mice and touch pads are getting better at this.

closed model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699120)

Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the 'wrong philosophical approach' but one that people will emulate because of the success of Apple and Xbox Live.

And, um, Steam?

Re:closed model (2)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699136)

Steam doesn't prevent you from installing software on your PC. It even let you add your non steam game in it's library. I'm sure a "Steam console" wouln't be locked down like a PS3 or XBox as I doubt people at Valve would enjoy playing cat and mouse with tinkerer trying to break their boxes to install homebrewed software.

Newells remarks (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699134)

Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the 'wrong philosophical approach' --- I guess that means he doesnt like the idea of this happening any more than i do then ...

Re:Newells remarks (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699212)

Newell reiterated his concerns about a closed model being the 'wrong philosophical approach' --- I guess that means he doesnt like the idea of this happening any more than i do then ...

Also called "a market Steam doesn't have access to". So far consoles have been mostly for AAA games, while Apple has been letting almost everyone and their dog sell through the app store. If Apple makes a console that attracts a lot of smaller, independent developers who need a distribution method and steal them from the PC market then Steam will lose a lot of business. So I'm not sure his interests are so philosophical.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699730)

It's a pretty stupid complaint from Newell. iOS might be closed, but it's not as closed as the existing consoles are.

Anyone can buy a Mac, a developer license from Apple for $99 and start developing and release their stuff on the App Store - subject to obeying the App Store rules.

For the consoles - you have to pay thousands to get a developer license, and then the console company decides whether to accept you. If you're a company without a track record in games, they'll reject you. Then you need to pay thousands more for the developer kit.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

paedobear (808689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700592)

the 360 also has the Indie store, and while most of the games make fuck-all money the same is true of the iOS App Store.

Re:Newells remarks (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701604)

Yes, but the mainstream games channel is as closed as I described. iOS doesn't have any section that is closed in that way.

I hear that it's true for ALL games channels that most games make fuck-all money. Most of those titles in a games shop will not be hits, and if they aren't hits they make a loss. It's the few that are hits that make the money for the industry.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700660)

For the consoles - you have to pay thousands to get a developer license, and then the console company decides whether to accept you. If you're a company without a track record in games, they'll reject you. Then you need to pay thousands more for the developer kit.

Except for the Xbox 360, where anyone can buy a Windows PC, a developer license [msdn.com] from Microsoft for $99 and start developing and release their stuff on the Xbox Live Arcade Indie channel.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699756)

Yes, Newell also said he hated DRM yet his company is the peddler of some of the worst DRM on the planet.

What Gabe says, and what his company does, are often completely different. Anything he says is largely meaningless.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700266)

You claim that Steam DRM is worse than other DRM schemes X, Y, and Z. What are the X, Y, and Z you're thinking of, and how is Steam worse than them? For example, how is Steam worse than the DRM on Wii Shop Channel, Xbox Live Marketplace, or PlayStation Store?

Re:Newells remarks (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701026)

If you dont compare just to digital sales, Steam's DRM is way more restrictive than the DRM in any XBox/PS3/Wii Disk game, since all of those still allow you to lend and transfer ownership.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701526)

Steam's DRM is way more restrictive than the DRM in any XBox/PS3/Wii Disk game

Steam allows the user to close Steam and run a game downloaded other than from Steam. The Xbox/PS3/Wii DRM does not allow the user to close the official launcher and run a game downloaded other than from the official download service. And I've read that the DRM on major-label PC disc games that don't use Steam is just as bad as Steam.

Re:Newells remarks (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701522)

>his company is the peddler of some of the worst DRM on the planet.

Worst? No.

DRM may screw the customer in terms of freedom - portability, re-saleability, etc, but whilst all the other forms of DRM tear you a new one, Steam uses plenty of lube and whispers just the right amount of sweet nothings into your ear, that you're satisfied and come back for more.

A robot head falling in love with you is fine (3, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699140)

So long as you're called Zev, or Xev. But when it finds a cyborg body, goes crazy and starts chasing after you shouting "You're not pretty, Stanley H. Tweedle, but you're my kind of not pretty", that's when you have problems.

Re:A robot head falling in love with you is fine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699190)

I approve of this seemingly random Lexx reference

Re:A robot head falling in love with you is fine (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699294)

I think that post was meant for the "Anime robot girl head" story from a few hours ago...

That, or someone got his dosage wrong. :)

Re:A robot head falling in love with you is fine (1)

neuroklinik (452842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700128)

Omg, a Lexx reference?! You just made my day.

Apple is good at markets (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699164)

Where the current manufacturers, frankly, suck. Especially at marrying hardware and software. Like the phone market before iPhone. (Notice that the one competing OS was made by a software-ish company, and not any manufacturers). I don't see this problem in the console market. If anything, I don't see what apple could bring to the table there.

If there is one line of attack, perhaps it would be via Apple TV for the very casual market. You could give them their own lightweight controllers that double as remotes, and also make iPhones the controllers using their accelerometers like iPad does and an app.

It certainly won't be for the hardcore gamers, but that wouldn't really be something economical for Apple to crack nor their forte. On the upside, you could bring all the iPad games over to the TV.

Oooh, Angry Birds on the big screen (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699364)

Wait, I can already do that and its not exactly going to threaten a game console. If anything most of the games on the iPad feel as if I am dealing with a Readers Digest Condensed "Game". There are some involved games, one of them imported from DOS days named Ascendancy, but for most part the market is saturated with games which spam you with pay upgrades. I certainly don't want to see that model become prevalent in consoles.

Then comes hardware, Apple hasn't shown any urge to provide real gaming hardware at any level. Graphics has always been an afterthought, even the latest and greatest iMacs are far behind what the PC world has. While they may/may not be ahead of current consoles most of those are five years old and are due replacements.

So what does Valve expect? A jacked up Mini with a real graphics controller? What will the interface be? Surely not touch screen, it won't translate well at all to the big screen.

What I do see is probably a misguided attempt to sell TVs with built in Apple TV components and touch screen remotes sized between phone and iPad. But a game console?

Re:Oooh, Angry Birds on the big screen (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699672)

Then comes hardware, Apple hasn't shown any urge to provide real gaming hardware at any level.

iPhone 4S upped the GPS to dual core, and is 7 times faster than the iPhone 4 GPU. It's debatable whether it already competes with current gen consoles (they're 5-6 years old) - Apple seems to think it does. But it does reveal Apple has ambition in the games area if it's putting that much effort into the GPU on a phone. One can certainly expect the next gen iOS chip (A6?) to be better than current gen consoles.

iOS is already the biggest handheld games system by a large margin. It's easy to imagine them being successful in the TV console market too.

Re:Oooh, Angry Birds on the big screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37701080)

Fuck yeah, finally a dual core GPS system!

You go apple!

Re:Oooh, Angry Birds on the big screen (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699750)

iOS games are mostly of the casual variety because they are targeted primarily at the iPhone. And for sure casual is what you want on a phone. Same to a lesser extent on the iPad.

Then again, Nintendo Wii didn't do too badly out of casual games...

But if the world wants more in-depth games when Apple has a TV console based on iOS, then the market will supply it. The graphics are up to it - see Infinity Blade II http://infinitybladegame.com/ [infinitybladegame.com]

Re:Oooh, Angry Birds on the big screen (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700908)

Set up a box with a nice graphics card in it.
Enough other components to get it to boot up.

Then have your iPhone be the HD where the games rest upon and primary CPU.

By using half of the components from your phone, they'll be able to build a cutting edge console *much* cheaper. And since they were already envisioning this sort of setup as "The computer of the future" it will give them invaluable experience towards that goal.

Re:Apple is good at markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699578)

What Apple can bring to the table is fix the clutter mess in the living room. The hardcore gamer does not mind having X devices with Y remotes and controllers connected to their TV, some people do. A playstation 3 is a reasonable media player (it does DVD, blue-ray, and DNLA), but is really bad for light internet things (web browsing, skype, light e-mail) for all those tasks, mobile phones are now better. I doubt Apple's goal would ever be to please the hardcore gamers, but rather to offer a device that is better than current gaming consoles for light computing tasks (the stuff you do on a phone/tablet), has cheap and fun games, is an easy to use media-player and helps getting rid of all cables/boxes/remotes in the living room.
That device would never really be a gaming console as much as a smart-TV (in the same way we now have smart-phones).

Re:Apple is good at markets (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699704)

I was trying to figure out what was wrong with this piece of speculation and I think you've nailed it.

Look at the iPhone versus what the competition was doing - particularly at the time of release. Yeah, OK, it didn't do anything too special but compared to most of the competition, it showed real potential which Apple built upon with the App store.

Ditto the Apple TV. I must confess I've not used many set-top boxes but the ones I've seen reviewed - dear me. It's a choice between "doesn't really do anything much" or "does everything but make the tea. Provided you don't mind an arcane menu system, at least 4 different options for every setting (3 of which you need to be a TV engineer to understand, only 1 of which is optimal) and firmware that crashes occasionally." Beating that isn't exactly a high bar to set.

Re:Apple is good at markets (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701710)

Nonsense. AppleTV doesn't have anything over the competition. They all pretty much have the same sort of interface and the same kinds of limitations.

There is nothing particularly "magical" about the Apple product here.

There are some other older products that one might describe in the terms you are using. They're hardly relevant to this discussion.

The entire market has evolved.

Being able to "just work" with whatever you happen to have doesn't require "arcane menus". It simply requires format support that's not crap.

Re:Apple is good at markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699804)

Except before iPhone we had blackberries.
We had Palm and the Newton.

The iPhone isn't a great leap forward, it's just the latest in a long series of attempts.

Apple TV (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699198)

Surely Apple TV is Apple's Living Room device, Apple have never really seemed to care about gaming beyond casual easy to pick up/put down type games.

Re:Apple TV (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699540)

I think the Apple TV project got seriously de-funded. It's now just a shadow of it's former glory. Old models were thin client PCs, new Apple TVs are just a cable box with wifi and eithernet built in. That's not to say they aren't great devices; I bought one for my mom and she loves it - but at this juncture the Apple TV is just a placeholder product.

Re:Apple TV (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699652)

Actually I like the new model ( I could get one for cheap) it is more or less a nice push box where you can push movies etc.. from any idevice or mac to the box.
If you hack it open or use itunes, you even can make it a upnp pull/streaming device.
It is not a full featured mini pc but it is a nice device nevertheless and while I dont think apple has any plans it could be a great gaming console for small to casual games. All which it lacks is a decent controller for games.

Re:Apple TV (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699762)

Chicken and the egg. Apple TV lost focus because sales were always disappointing.

Re:Apple TV (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701512)

The problem with the AppleTV is that it doesn't do all that much that the PS3/Xbox 360 don't already do. There are standalone Blu-Ray players that can do some or all of what the AppleTV can do.

And Besides their usual brown shooter of the week/action game of the week titles the PS3 and 360 also have your usual iFoo device style games like Angry Birds.

Dennis Ritchie has died. (0, Offtopic)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699284)

Seriously Slashdot? An extremely influential man in our community dies and you post stuff like this instead of accepting one of the firehose submissions?

RIP Ritchie and /.

Re:Dennis Ritchie has died. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699406)

Sombre thanks for passing on this sad news. I did not know of this. WTF indeed, slashdot.

RIP dmr :(

Re:Dennis Ritchie has died. (0)

5hoom (937675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699534)

Agreed. If there was ever cause to hijack a thread, this is it. Dennis Ritchie was the R in K&R for pity sake. He helped create Unix & C. _This_ is news for nerds.

Re:Dennis Ritchie has died. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699632)

Indeed, it's more news for nerds than the death of Steve Jobs which was reported here.
I doubt there are many popular programs written in a language which was not influenced in any way by C (and be it only by using the syntax). And the same is true for operating systems and Unix.

Apple in good position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699556)

They are so hyped up at the moment, that anything thay release will catch up. If Apple they reinvented the wheel, it would be a huge success.

IMHO, touch based devices are worse for gaming than those with dedicated keys, but that doesn't matter.

App store matters - and games for a few dollars (compared to beefy prices for games elsewhere).
What Jobs got right is that sofware is overpriced and having it offered in the same bucket with cheap stuff makes software retailers rethink their prices.

They just did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37699738)

Airplay mirroring on your iWhatever + apple TV = your TV is now (almost) a computer. It can play games. Go play them.

Re:They just did? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700560)

And that challenges games consoles how, exactly? I hate to break it to you, but the average Gears of War player isn't just biding their time until they can get Angry Birds on the big screen. I don't know if Apple devices are capable of competing with the current gen of consoles - bearing in mind they're half a decade old, maybe so, but the bigger step is convincing developers to start producing AAA titles for the devices. Ignoring the lack of a proper gaming controller, the bigger issue here is that either App store customers need to get used to paying £40 for a game instead of 99p or Apple need to convince the likes of EA to start selling their AAA titles for under a quid. That to me seems like a huge hurdle in replacing existing consoles with Apple devices.

Apple is closed. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699794)

"Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations really strongly and the notion of a separate console platform will disappear"

I am not sure what this guy is smoking but I guaranty you that anything Apple releases will not integrate into your existing Wii, Xbox 360, or anything other then products owned by Apple.

The biggest concession Apple has ever made was allowing Ipods/pad/phones to plug into PCs and i suspect that this will continue to be their biggest concession for the foreseeable future.

Re:Apple is closed. (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699876)

Most things for the living room are closed down. Consoles are more closed than any iMac. You can't even surf the net on the 360 just so MS can ensure you don't get anything for free. Apple would have to struggle to be more closed than consoles. I can only see then releasing something more open even if it's not as open as a traditional PC.

Re:Apple is closed. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700420)

consoles are locked down for a reason, the cost of the hardware is deeply subsidised with the expectation on making profit from the software. For Apple To create a more open platform they couldn't really afford to subsidise the hardware as you no longer have the guarenteed software sales and would therefore need to compete with a significant price disadvantage, current gen consoles retail for under $300 and when they were initially released both the ps3 and the xbox were selling at a loss. What sort of alternative system could anyone realistically create from scratch at this point that could compete in the already crowded market at a price that would allow it to take off without taking an absolute hammering from the losses to enter the market.

Re:Apple is closed. (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701584)

That's not strictly true. Nintendo makes a profit on their hardware. The only time that wasn't the case is I believe after the price cut on the 3DS. They initially took a loss but I believe I've read they've got around that even.

The idea of selling hardware at a loss is a flawed model. It will be more so as software moves to digital. Keeping in mind retailers make little to nothing on hardware too who would want to sell the next iteration of the xbox of software only came through Live? So think consoles are going to have to change their model and probably become more expensive as a result.

Either way I don't think Apple will get away with selling the hardware at a loss or will even want to consider that so I think they're not going to be as cheap or there will have to be a cut somewhere. My hope at least is they're not that fussed about locking the thing down (assuming it's even a reality). I'm sure they'll want to push people to use itunes and something like the mac app store but so far the mac app store has been better than the iOS app store (I suspect the difference in hardware has to do it that) and you can find much more variety there and there's not nazi-like control over whether your app is GPL'ed or not.

Re:Apple is closed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37701190)

They're the same amount of closed.

Apple lets you have a web browser app but they both require permission from the maker to run it.

Next patent war (1)

skyraker (1977528) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699860)

So, I can only assume that once Apple does this that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will start suing for patent infringement. Apple will somehow win despite it being obvious they are violating patents. Then after Apple sells a $700 console that for some strange reason millions of people buy despite not being any better than anything else, Apple will sue those three for having violated patents it has that really are the same as patents everyone else has and win.

All consoles are a closed model (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37699864)

If Apple is releasing a competitor to consoles then I can't see how he can complain about it being closed.It certainly can't be any more closed than the xbox which you have to go through Microsoft for everything.

You can't surf the net with a browser because you might find a free game to play on your xbox and Microsoft wants to charge you to access free services like Facebook and Twitter. You can't even buy your own hard drive. You have to buy a proprietary xbox 360 hard drive.

If Apple were to release something half way between a console and a PC then it will probably be more open than the existing consoles. If it comes with a browser it's already more open than the 360.

Re:All consoles are a closed model (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700614)

He didn't say Apple is closed, XBOX is open. He specifically said closed systems like Apple AND XBOX Live. How you could read that and interpret it as him saying Apple are somehow the worst, I don't know. All he's saying is that yet another closed system in the living room is a bad thing, it doesn'tnecessarily matter who makes it, he just chose Apple as they're the most likely candidate at this point (it takes a lot of money, developer backing and know-how to enter the console market - the only other big player who could probably do this would be Google, but their theoratical device probably wouldn't support his anti-closed box rant).

Can you #^(% it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37700016)

No, this was not meant for the female robot story. Can you #^(% it?

Has anyone even heard of a rumor about this? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700044)

From TFA
"Newell expects Apple to disrupt the living room platform with a new product that will challenge consoles, although he doesn't have any particular knowledge of that new product."

So, "Hey, Apple may do something that may or may not be awesome and stuff." Then he goes off about Apple being a closed platform (XBox, PS3, & Wii aren't?), but doesn't even touch on the points that Apple has no creative partners or real console experience. Apple has no gaming leverage.

I don't see what his point it is, where he's driving at, or if he may actually know something that hasn't been rumored/leaked widestream yet. Let me start a rumor- Valve will soon be working with Apple to make something "that is awesome and stuff."

Dear Gabe, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37700106)

This is the perfect avenue for Valve to become the next Nintendo. I can help. Let's talk.

I've been wondering... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700200)

...why apple hasn't already made inroads into the console space.

The second gen apple TV is powerful enough for basic games (and this is what is selling bulk, at the moment), has bluetooth, and is super cheap.

I predict a new generation apple TV with iPhone 4-S hardware. Selling for around 100-150 bucks, and enabling people to purchase IOS games from the app store and play them in full high-def in the living room, possibly using i-devices as a controller, or with additional blue-tooth controllers available.

The hardware is good enough, it is cheap, and as been shown so many times as of late, all the hardware in the world doesn't matter a shit because most modern big budget games are crap - they're far too conservative and just follow the same tired old formula, and no one is willing to take a risk. The app store os a breath of fresh air n that respect.

If people could buy games to play on their home cinema for anywhere between free hand typical game RRP, with an average cost under 10 bucks (and ability to play the same content on an iPhone), they will likely sell like hot cakes. Sony and microsoft should be concerned.

Re:I've been wondering... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700782)

Apple doesn't do "Cheap".

And the last time an expensive, but high quality console hit the market, it flopped. I'm thinking of the 3DO.

One of the big reasons the Nintendo Wii did so well is that it was cheap in comparison to the other consoles.

So yes, if Apple can make a platform that's easy to make games for, high quality, AND cheaper than the alternatives, they'll clean up.

Sorry Value, but you are Wrong (0)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700464)

Why is it suddenly everything thinks anything apple with touch will turn to gold? Since when has the corporations ever done that?

Yes, apple got lucky with their ipods, iphones & ipads. Lucky, that is all. Some maybe call it smart, visionairy, or some stupid shit like that, but it was lucky. They made products that was easy to use, looked nice, and people loved it.

Now we are talking gaming, consoles and the living room. This isn't a new market, this is an old market that has been fought in the trenches for quite awhile.

Let's look at the options.

Having a game console that uses Ipads as the controller. oh, nm, that is being done by the next Nintendo console.
How about streaming games from servers so they end users don't need expensive consoles to run it? Oh, nm, that is done by Onlive.
Let's see, how about they make a console that connects to the tv, but connects to Itunes, so you can buy/play your movies/tv/whatever from that? Oh, they already make that and it sucks? And they aren't the only one. Damn.

Are they coming up with some holographic machine that lets us see everything in real 3D Or how about a VR sim that lets us experience the gaming world.

No, apple ain't doing shit in the console market.

This is pure speculation and probably a religous hope that Apple is somehow the Holy Grail of Modern Computing devices. I'm going to guess Gabe probably need to take some insulin before he made those statements.

 

Re:Sorry Value, but you are Wrong (1)

mamas (468872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37700846)

No, they're just going to push forward on:

  http://osxdaily.com/2011/06/19/ipad-2-ios-5-airplay-video-mirroring-become-a-tv-gaming-console/ [osxdaily.com]

Tablet (with good processing power) + Airplay (or some other video/audio transport good enough for HD with acceptable latency over a local wifi network).
Which is, connecting the dots you already have, and realizing the console in the living room can become irrelevant or not necessary.

It looks to me that the experience isn't far off from Nintendo's new Wii U controller. But, with the big difference that you'll see thousands of tittles cheap or free on the app market.

Re:Sorry Value, but you are Wrong (2)

pev (2186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701104)

Yes, apple got lucky with their ipods, iphones & ipads. Lucky, that is all. Some maybe call it smart, visionairy, or some stupid shit like that, but it was lucky. They made products that was easy to use, looked nice, and people loved it.

Have you ever noticed that people (or companies) who design good looking products that work well and are easy to use are consistently a LOT more lucky than their competitors?

BTW, is "Vision-airy" a clever reference to the Dyson Airblade [dysonairblade.co.uk] or the Air Multiplier [dyson.co.uk] perhaps? I was just wondering as that's another splendid example of a company that got lucky but also co-incidentally designed products that are beautiful, functional and technically better than the competition and found a solid user base despite being more expensive...

~Pev

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37700722)

What he is really saying is that valve wants to make iOS games for AppleTV.

From My Perspective it is Done (1)

4pins (858270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701486)

The latest Mac Mini (top of the line):
  • Can handle some serious gaming.
  • Can stream anything.
  • Has steam (limited selection of games in OSX).
  • Has an HDMI port.
  • Has the App Store (for even more games).
  • Has Bluetooth (for wireless/remote control).
  • Boots readily into Windows for even more gaming.

It is what I want connected to my TV.

Didn't they try the living room with Apple TV? (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37701624)

Didn't they try and fail to gain traction in the living room with the Apple TV product? I'm not sure what this guy is smoking, but I don't think there is too much worry about Apple challenging anything right now. Last time Steve Jobs left Apple they floundered until he came back. Now they can't get him back. They make cool products, but I think he gave direction and style to the company. Apple is more like a cult, with people wanting to be as cool as Steve is, rather than an innovative company that can make great gadgets on their own. We will see what they do over the next few years, but if I was a betting man I would short their stock after the iPhone 5 release has finished.
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