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Valve's SteamBox Gets a Name and an Early Demo at CES

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the you-mean-sgi-isn't-cool? dept.

Games 328

xynopsis writes "Looks like the final version of the Linux based Steam Gaming Console has been made public at CES. The result of combined efforts of small-form-factor maker Xi3 and Valve, the gaming box named 'Piston' is a potential game changer in transforming the Linux desktop and gaming market. The pretty device looks like a shrunk Tezro from Silicon Graphics when SGI used to be cool." Looks like Gabe Newell wasn't kidding.

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Never thought i would see (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517441)

Linux, games and gamechanger in the same paragraph, looks cool though. Would be cool.

Re:Never thought i would see (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517605)

yeah that xi3 box is actually pretty cool. I think there is some "yet to be released" info though about them because I looked at them a while back and no way they run games very well as they were then. Could be cool though steam could really help to move the market towards more linux gaming which would be massive for the linux desktop.

Re:Never thought i would see (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517813)

It could bring Linux to the desktop for the casual (web client only) user - i.e. a lot of users. But there'd be a lot more users who'd still want a dedicated Mac or PC.

However, by grabbing the dedicated web-client-only users, it would make an expansion market for a lot of software vendors. It could be the in-road Linux needs to get the desktop... Now that the desktop/notebook is being supplanted by the tablet.

My question is... Will I be able to run FreeBSD on it? It could make a nice little server, depending on the price/performance of the hardware.

Re:Never thought i would see (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517925)

Article says you can buy an Xi3 now if you want to put FreeBSD on it. Looks like they start at about $500.

Interview with Gabe Newell linked in summary discusses how theirs is meant to be a locked-down console, not a general purpose PC.

Proprietary software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517467)

The year of GNU/Linux on the console (GNU/Piston)

You can see where their naming convention is going (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517491)

It's a trap!

Re:You can see where their naming convention is go (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517531)

Word from Redmond is that Microsoft is going to attempt to clone Steam now.

They're working on a competitor called "Shaft."

CEO Steve Ballmer even said he "can't wait to Shaft his customers, it's going to be the biggest thing since squirting on the Zune. It's going to totally fucking kill Steam and Linux off."

Re:You can see where their naming convention is go (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517945)

Word from Redmond is that Microsoft is going to attempt to clone Steam now.

They're working on a competitor called "Shaft."

So... new version of "Games for Windows â" LIVE"?

Nope, ain't happening (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517471)

offer modular component updates, including the option to upgrade the PC's CPU and RAM.

I will *not* get back into that chase again, thank you very much. The whole reason I left PC gaming years ago was because I got tired of the specs chase. Consoles meant never having to look on the box and see if I needed yet another upgrade to play a game. I've even still got the stack of old video cards and MB's to remind me of how much money I wasted back then.

Not going back to that. And if I was, I would just build my own PC and connect it to my TV (why bother with Valve's box?). After all, if I'm going back to the chase, may as well get the freedom of a PC too.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (3, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517593)

You must not have known what you were doing or something. My PC is 2 years old and it's still fast enough to run any modern game at medium to maxed specs at 1920x1080 while running Netflix in HD on monitor 2. It cost about $790. The constant need for new requirements in "console" games would piss people off though. With an Xbox, once you've got the hardware, you're good. If you constantly have to buy expensive games plus new hardware, that's just stupid. I would make it mandatory for any game on Steam that wants to be console-capable to have a "Piston mode" that is guaranteed to run properly on their hardware as-is.

Since I know someone will ask....
i5-2400 8GB 1333 CL7 RAM 1TB 524AS-ending Seagate drive ASUS DVD-RW GTS450 MSI P67-based board Digital TV Tuner Card
Tada, I'm good for a couple more years.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (4, Interesting)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517707)

Yea, my last computer lasted some 4 years without needing an upgrade.
Granted I usually try to max it out, when I buy it initially.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518027)

Why so much RAM and still a spinning disk?

I bet my machine with 4GB of RAM and an SSD is faster to use.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518283)

Spinning disk means large storage, SSDs are for OS and applications. My machine shits all over yours, so what is your point?

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518327)

Games are applications. They do lots of IO to read in the massive levels. Unless you like waiting for loading. Spinning disk is for cheap storage, so either you are ripping blu-rays or poor or out of date.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

Glarimore (1795666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518323)

Yeah, the twenty bucks you would have saved getting 4 GB instead of 8 GB would've allowed for a much better storage drive.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518505)

So, your rebuttal is you recently bought some mid range, almost high end (for the CPU) hardware. Your point of view amounts to being right if you spend money and being wrong if you don't spend it.

Meanwhile, my PC is about 3 year old and never could run Crysis 1 well, because I could not spend a few hundreds to boost it enough. I even bought a recent midrange card (gt240 gddr5), which was incredibly more powerful than what I had before but it was still too slow. Other specs : Athlon II X2 245, 2GB ddr2, nforce 5 mobo, 1TB hard drive (since dead).

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517639)

When did you leave the "specs chase"? Had to have been many years ago. You can build a 2k PC today that far out paces video games. Maybe blame it on the attention iphone games has taken away from PC titles, but either way it's hardly a specs chase any more.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517853)

Made a 1.3k PC two years ago... Kept the old Case/Keyboard/Mouse/Monitor/HDDs from my previous box... Still performs very well... Though a vid card update is tempting.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518413)

2k(while it definitely allows for some sweet toys) is really overkill for adequate gaming. Particularly this late in the console cycle, almost any CPU that isn't total budget crap, along with an $80-$100 video card will run almost anything if you don't crank the pretty all the way up, and will generally support somewhat better looking play than the available consoles. Consoles are still a bit cheaper on hardware(though games can really make up the difference if you buy too many); but this isn't the bad old days when you needed some seriously firebreathing gear to keep up with the PC gaming market.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517655)

Since you haven't been in it for so long you probably don't know that a top of the line rig form 4 years ago is still a very capable gaming machine today. The only updates I've made to my "gaming" pc is adding more ram, and finally upgrading to windows 7 64 from XP x64 (prodded by the fact that I don't want o get caught having to upgrade to win8 shortly), oh, I guess I "upgraded" my video card since the fan on the old one crapped out and burnt up, but the $75 value card wasn't chasing specs.

Sure I can't play Modern Warfare 3 and get 252 fps with all the detail sliders maxed out, but I can play it with the the detail levels on "high" and get a respectable 35 fps.

The "spec chase" in PC gaming died off about the same time the xbox became big. Why should PC game companies keep pushing the spec envelope when their cash cow of xbox gamers can't play those games? I don't know the last time I even bothered to look at "minimum" performance requirements and given my current PC still outperforms the likely specs of the xbox 720 I can not worry about upgrading for at least another 4 years.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517755)

> Why should PC game companies keep pushing the spec envelope when their cash cow of xbox games can't play those games?

exactly... The SW is simply not demanding cutting edge HW, because it's written for stuff released years ago. In terms of pushing the envelope, consoles are holding back PC gaming for anything cross platform.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518543)

Support for this varies by studio and even by game; but sometimes the PC side can at least enjoy the benefits of having minimum specs that are basically dictated by the console ports; but at least having the option to shove the sliders all the way toward 'overkill' or install a bunch of mods that each use more RAM than a PS3 or Xbox360 has available for its entire system...

The existence of consoles generally means that even your crap best-buy special is an $80 video card away from being able to play the game; but you also have the option of throwing a gloriously detailed gameworld across 2560x1600 if you feel like it.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (3, Informative)

suprcvic (684521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517677)

My PC is 5 years old and the only upgrades I've done are more memory and new video cards periodically. Build a beefy enough system up front and upgrades later are minimal.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517679)

PC's got good enough about 5-10 years ago that this specs chase is a distant memory. If you spend $500 every 5 or so years you will be a head of the game.

Valve might prefer you do that, it is why steam has a big picture mode after all.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517857)

The PC is not the current target of any AAA title with the sole exception of MMOs and the occasional Blizzard title, and those are designed for bare-minimum specs anyway. Any modern game is designed in exclusive for obsolete 10-years old technology such as those present in the XBox 360 and PS3 consoles, and even the most braindead box built today will massively outperform them. You couldn't go back to the specs chase even if you wanted to.

The situation may change next year with the release of next-gen consoles, but since Nintendo completely dominated the previous generation using incredibly obsolete technology, both Microsoft and Sony are likely to reevaluate their investment. I don't think you're going to see anything close to state-of-the-art tech in neither the PS4 or the next XBox.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517985)

There is no chase anymore. Gaming hardware advancement has far outstripped the speed of gaming software improvement now, with PCs up to 5 years old more than able to play the latest games (I only upgraded because my old PC died and parts weren't available anymore). I have a friend gaming on a QX6800 with 4GB DDR2 and an HD4750, and he plays the same games as I do on my i5 2500K with 16GB DDR3 and GTX670, and I played the same games on my Q6600 with 4GB DDR2 and 8800GTX until about 4 months ago.

I'm sure Modern Call of World of WafareCraft Duty 3: Special Mist of Black Panda Ops of looks just wonderful with everything on ULTRA on your 3x30" Eyefinity 3D displays, but the gameplay is no different. Besides, I need glasses; If I take them off, my eyes handle anti-aliasing for me!

Re:Nope, ain't happening (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518153)

Personally, I never have been a "gamer" from that sort of perspective, and yet since the days of DOS I was playing top titles within a year or so of their release. Hell, I played Quake on a min-spec Pentium with a Voodoo card within days of release and that was the first ever game to actually MAKE people into "gamers" to buy an upgrade card that serves no further purpose than to play games faster (back then, it was necessary, though unless you wanted flickbook framerates).

The problem with PC gaming is not the hardware, but the mentality. "I have to have 120fps on everything, in HD, with all the options turned on and all the latest kit to show off" - there isn't a console in the world that actually does the equivalent, and if there was it would cost a fortune or slow to a crawl and gamers would hardly notice the difference otherwise.

I have a laptop now - technically nowhere close to a gamer's laptop but it has nVidia Optimus graphics. It cost not much more than just about any of the current consoles has ever cost on release day. I can't find a game on my Steam list that it doesn't play. And from the current AAA-titles? Well, in a year's time when they are sensible prices I will buy them and try them and most of them will work just fine (if 9 years of Steam gaming is anything to go by, and years more of Counterstrike play before that) but I might have to turn down an option or two.

PC gaming isn't about upgrading every two seconds. Being a "gamer" is. I can name every upgrade I've ever done to every PC I've ever personally owned, and most of the time that was a one-time, never-to-be-repeated upgrade that doubled the performance for much much less than the price of an equivalent replacement (if you upgrade a machine, it's likely that it's to hit some bottleneck which costs more than the machine is worth to upgrade further). I have never upgraded a motherboard, or a CPU, in my own machines in all the time I've owned a PC precisely because the upgrades, and their associated prerequisite upgrades, were never worth it.

And I've probably personally owned about 3 desktops and 4-5 laptops in all my time playing, so I certainly get some use out of them (and, to be honest, the laptops die by physical breakage on the hinges more than obsolescence and I still have an IBM Thinkpad with a 90MHz processor that's going strong). And I do think of myself as a gamer, in terms of the amount of time I spend playing and the amount of money I spend each year on games, but not a "gamer" in terms of spending money on constant upgrades for my computers.

I actually have, upstairs, an MSI gaming laptop that was bought as my last work laptop three years ago (my employer buys whatever I specify, and I specified nVidia graphics for various reasons and ended up with a gaming laptop that was vastly overpowered and half-the-cost of an equivalent business model). The screen hinge is shattered and it's being used as separate LCD / keyboard parts (blue-takked to the wall and the worktop appropriately). And it *still* laughs at 99% of the games on my Steam account after all that time. And that's a laptop, which can't really be upgraded at all (about the only thing I could do to it is increase the RAM but it's on a 32-bit OS and already at 4Gb, or change the HDD, but that's really not a bottleneck in anything I do on it).

Gone are the days where you have to have the latest bus that nobody else has got, with a massively overpowered card that churns through power, whirrs like mad, and sets the motherboard on fire, and some huge CPU and memory that's unheard of in anything else but video-editing, and some stupidly over-powered PSU to run it all, just to play a 3D game. Hell, a half-decent laptop laughs at anything for at least 3-4 years so long as you're not hoping for 120fps in stereo 3D at the highest resolution supported on the HDMI out, on full detail while encoding Blu-Ray's in the background.

And, to be honest, in all my time, I've never had a laptop that didn't break BEFORE it became obsolete (usually after 3-4 years), or a desktop that couldn't be upgraded every year for less than the price of a full-price game or two. Hell, in actual terms, if you added up what you spend on every console, accessory, subscription and game you bought, I probably spent less on laptops, PC's, upgrades etc. at the time and all the same games for them a year later (you're an idiot to buy games on release date anyway, and especially when there's NO NEED TO because any half-decent game will still be running a year later even multiplayer - hell, CS is still multiplayer after what - 10+ years? - even though it's dependent on Steam to do so, which it never used to be. And if the game is not half-decent, why would you want to play it online anyway?).

Seriously, go out. Buy a £500 / $700 machine. Play it until it dies (4+ years). Buy a new one. Now you have had 4+ years of gaming, have a new machine for the new games, and have a spare machine to show for it that's perfectly overspecced for anything you might put on it.

Don't buy upgrades. Don't buy cards. Don't change internal components unless they break. Buy a half-decent machine at the start, worry only about playability of games (i.e. don't fuss over 120fps or whether you can enable high-res textures and VSync, so long as you play the damn game and don't even notice a problem), and then upgrade to a NEW machine only when necessary.

If anything, I find PC gaming is SO MUCH cheaper than anything consoles can offer that I wouldn't consider anything else. And I have to have a half-decent PC anyway to do my job, go on the net, and get everyday things done - so might as well buy a slightly higher specced one whenever I change it and play games on it too in preference and save myself having yet-another-box.

And the Piston box obviously isn't aimed at you (or me). It's aimed at more casual gamers. I wouldn't have one, because it serves no purpose that I don't already have fulfilled anyway, but my parents would probably love it (they have Steam accounts, play games, prefer the TV, but hate managing a PC to have to do so - hell, I had to show them how to set fullscreen options on a game they bought because they couldn't work it out and hated the windowed version). Hell, if nothing else, they'd probably have one just to play their games at their holiday home and save taking the laptop with them.

If you can't tell me the current FPS of a game to within +/- 10, then you don't need to worry about it. If you aren't sitting there thinking "bloody hell, this is sluggish and jerky and I've turned all the options off already", then you don't need to upgrade or buy anything.

And if you do *need* to upgrade, don't. Just buy a new PC/laptop - it'll be cheaper, easier, higher-specced and you won't have to buy components and hope they are compatible and worry about power usage and air-flow and all the other shite that people fuss about.

I just got one of the latest PCI-E x 16 video cards from AMD through backing an unrelated kickstarter. I honestly didn't have a use for it, so I gave it to my brother for Christmas. He stuck it in an old business machine that had only onboard graphics that his wife uses to do office work (yes, that had compatible slots, which is about as high as you can go and have gone for YEARS), because his main machine (bought a few years ago) wouldn't have benefited from it enough to even justify changing the Windows drivers. Given that we're both heavy CS-players of old and quite heavy gamers in general, that's quite telling.

Do not buy a motherboard, ever. There's no need if you purchased properly in the first place. Do not buy a video card, ever. Buy a better-specced PC in the first place (and we're not talking anything even approaching £1000 / $1500 here) and make the most of it. Hell, I can't even remember the last time I had to insert an expansion card into a PC for anything but one-for-one replacement (and I manage networks for a living), but it was almost certainly PCI and, before that, ISA. I've seen AGP and PCI-E cards, but I've never had to touch them except to clean them, and never purchased one outside of a full PC purchase, and never suffered in terms of my gaming.

Re:Nope, ain't happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518401)

Bad news. You're already back in the chase with HD upgrades, fan upgrades etc. Not to mention paying for patches (DLC) and all the things that Desktop PCs do. It's not a console in the sense that you don't need to patch it or be connected to the Internet like a REAL console (PS1 SNES) all you have is a glorified PC. Get serious here.

Author quote (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517479)

...when SGI used to be cool.

"Captain, I'm sensing a bitter old man. I suggest caution."

Re:Author quote (4, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517849)

Captain, I'm sensing a bitter old man. I suggest caution.

It's not bitter old man, but it is a little sad. SGI used to be the epitome of cool in the computer world. Cast your mind back to 1994. You had most people running DOS and Windows 3.11. A few people were running UNIX (tm) workstations with CDE.

Many of those systems were slow, clunky, had at most 8 bits per pixel of palletted horibleness, weak graphics ugly user interfaces and so on.

Then you had SGI.

1280x1024 trucolour displays with accelerated texture mapped graphics. Holy crap that 3D asteroid blaster game looked sweet. Oh and a really cool UI with scalable vector icons, webcams, TV out, video chat and excellent sound built in. In 1994.

Oh and you could get portable systems with a TFT screen back when they more or less did not exist for all practical purposes. And certainly not at that kind of resolution.

Seriously, SGIs were something out of the future.

How long did it take for PCs to get webcams built in?

Re:Author quote (1)

theurge14 (820596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518247)

An Indigo station ran about, what, $12 grand in 1994? I think the cheapest Indy was about $5000, but I may be way off here.

Re:Author quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518317)

1280x1024 trucolour displays with accelerated texture mapped graphics.

texture mapping was always slow on classic SGIs (indigos, indys, even some indigo2/octanes), they lacked any texture memory. i ran an SGI lab from about '88 to 95, fond memories.

Re:Author quote (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518649)

Isn't SGI one of those companies that has achieved eternal coolness by (like any self-respecting rock star) dying horribly before it could really ruin its reputation with a string of pathetic comeback attempts at 3rd string clubs?

My sense is that SGI's last gasp of genuine relevance was over a decade ago; but that they are forever enshrined in the datacenters of Valhalla(and every system today that uses OpenGL gives them praise)

Well (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517485)

if this means more games for linux on the desktop then yeah it could be big.

Otherwise - it's just another locked down console and I'm not sure what benefit it will have for linux on the desktop.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517549)

Don't worry. I'm pretty sure that it means more games to the Linux desktop too.

Re:Well (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517817)

It seems that way - but I've gotten too jaded to just count on it.

Linux + DRM (-1, Flamebait)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517493)

Linux + DRM : Missing the point of Linux, entirely.

Re:Linux + DRM (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517661)

Parent: Missing the point of Steam entirely.

Steam itself is not DRM. My library contains lots of DRM free games. On the other hand it also contains certain games which come with the same DRM as the boxed version. If you want to make a point buy the DRM free indie games on Steam and and don't buy the DRM ridden ones.

Don't dismiss something just because it can do more than what you need. Nobody forces you to pirate with bittorrent or murder your wife with a kitchen knife either.

Re:Linux + DRM (-1, Flamebait)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517781)

You realize Steam is itself a DRM platform?

Granted it's DRM done right, and is for the most part not a headache like other schemes, but ultimately it restricts your use of the games.

Re:Linux + DRM (5, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517933)

Steam is a delivery platform with optional DRM. No game is required to use the DRM, and many indie games and older games do not. Once you purchase those games, you can move them wherever you wish and even delete Steam and still have usable games.

Re:Linux + DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517965)

> DRM done right

No such thing.

Although I suppose you could say it's "DRM done less wrong."

Re:Linux + DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518023)

Oh, how? I can just start the game from the games own folder if I want to. No need to have steam even running. I guess that's DRM done right then... actually, it is!

Re:Linux + DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517969)

Steam by its very nature is a form of DRM. It is admittedly one of the better implementations though.

Re:Linux + DRM (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517987)

Don't dismiss something just because it can do more than what you need.

When "more than I need" includes randomly blocking access to things I paid for, I damn well will dismiss it!

I am one of the unfortunate people who learned to hate DRM through experience. Are you aware that Steam locks you out if you play in "offline mode" for too long?

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518075)

I think he means if you don't use that feature you will be safe.

You do not need offline mode if you only buy indie DRM free games on steam.

Re:Linux + DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518179)

Safe? GP's use of 'lock out' is misleading. After a few months, offline mode fails to start, and requires signing in to be able to access offline mode again. IIRC, this is a bug. You are not getting your Steam account banned by playing in offline mode.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518213)

So do not use offline mode.

To play the DRM free indie games you don't need to launch steam at all. You can launch them right from their exes.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518257)

After a few months, offline mode fails to start, and requires signing in to be able to access offline mode again.

And the sign-in fails, and you have to contact tech support, and wait days for a response. Twice now. "Lockout" is the word I use to describe that.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518197)

If I only buy indie DRM free games, I don't need Steam. I'd rather cut out the middleman and give the indie developer a bigger chunk of the sale price.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518387)

Good point, it would be nice to have something like steam though.

My preference would be to get the games into a repository and just pay for a CD key or something. The typical brain dead each application has its own updater is one of the most annoying things about windows/osx.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518427)

That's a worthy intent, but requires the indie developer to run some sort of store, do all the marketing, etc. which they quite likely have little interest in doing. A decent publisher actually earns their piece of the pie. Things like Steam or the various App stores allow developers to focus on developing, and let someone else do all the annoying sales work. Okay, they probably need to do at least a little marketing too just to reach critical mass for the automated recommendation system to come into play, but then they're good.

Not that I don't admire the self-publishers, but do you really want to deprive Indie developers of your dollars completely because of their choice of publisher? Now the DRM thing is completely separate, I can understand refusing to support that, but as others have pointed out DRM isn't mandatory on Steam (though I haven't noticed if they tell you up front whether it's included or not)

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518479)

Incorrect. Steam is a DRM and distribution scheme, in that it binds your purchase to your account, and you need to be authenticated to access that account. Your non-DRM games are inaccessible unless you are logged in to Steam, either Online or Offline. I know, from personal experience, that Offline Mode isn't for when your connection fails, as it requires you to cache your credentials prior to going Offline to work. You're SOOL if your router craps out and you can't tether your smartphone to enable Offline Mode. It's for when you're taking your library away from your network connection in a planned fashion, e.g. your laptop on holiday.

Saying this, I am going to go home now and close Steam, then try and browse to Braid in the file structure of my Steam installation. If I can run it without logging in to Steam, I will take all I've said about it back. I don't think that will be the case, though.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518645)

Saying this, I am going to go home now and close Steam, then try and browse to Braid in the file structure of my Steam installation. If I can run it without logging in to Steam, I will take all I've said about it back. I don't think that will be the case, though.

Quite a few games check by location whether they're supposed to run Steam or not, so try copying it to a different directory if it does try to start Steam.

Re:Linux + DRM (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517721)

Linux is an operating system, not a belief system. It lets me use my computer how I want to, and the day it gets in the way of that I will swap to something else. If I want to install DRM laden software onto Linux, who are you to judge?

Re:Linux + DRM (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518063)

Linux is an operating system, not a belief system.

That's strictly true, but Linux only lets you use your computer the way you want to because of the belief system that underlies it.

Re:Linux + DRM (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518495)

Unless Valve somehow gets Linus to infect the kernel with their DRM and close up the source, that is not going to change. I put the odds of the esteemed Mr.Torvalds doing that at about 1 in infinity.

Re:Linux + DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518403)

Mandatory Correction: Linux is a kernel. Android, GNU, and similar are sytem apps that help it become an Operating System.

No, it's not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518477)

Linux is not an operating system, it's a kernel.

Re:Linux + DRM (4, Funny)

dkf (304284) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518483)

Linux is an operating system, not a belief system.

Heretic! Heathen! Infidel!

If you repent and say three Hail Stallmans we'll let you off this time...

Re:Linux + DRM (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517779)

If you think linux's only purpose is to create DRM free games, or anything else for that matter, you're kinda missing the point. The purpose of linux afaik is to create freedom....to do whatever you want with the OS. If I want to play DRM games on my linux install, then its doing its job because its what I want to do with the OS.

Re:Linux + DRM (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517841)

When Linus made Linux he did not say "it is going to be DRM free", he even said that DRM is ok with Linux not too long ago.
How is "Linux + DRM" a point? What is the point of Linux then?

You are able to run DRM software on Linux right now anyway. Even if Steam is going to be big, it doesn't require DRM for the games which are distributed on it.

Re:Linux + DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517905)

I fall to see how what you say matters. This could single handedly become the vehicle Linux can use to gain a foothold in the gaming industry. Combine that with the fact it also could put Linux in the hands of more users than ever. I'm thinking you're missing the big picture entirely. This is a big move for Linux. The fact valve is behind it even gives it done credibility.

2013 (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517539)

Maybe won't be the year of the linux desktop, but with that, and a few android based gaming consoles could be the year of the linux game console.

Re:2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518211)

More like 2007. PS3 runs Linux. Pretty sure Wii does too.

Ports overload (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517607)

What's with all the ugly ports and "USB port dedicated for keyboard". They better have bluetooth for all the inputs, wifi, and miracast. Only wire you need should be for power.

Re:Ports overload (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517765)

Miracast is too laggy for these kinds of video games. No one wants to play an FPS and deal with compression artifacts and latency from miracast.

Bluetooth would be simple enough to add with a usb adaptor. Real gamers will probably want a wired connection anyway. No fun in losing a match when the wireless gets fritzy.

Re:Ports overload (0)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518245)

Miracast is too laggy for these kinds of video games. No one wants to play an FPS and deal with compression artifacts and latency from miracast.

"These kinds of games"? None of the games I've bought from Steam are FPSs.

Re:Ports overload (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518425)

Well it is too laggy for anything but casual games, is that all you buy on steam? Would you like to see them after they are compressed poorly to minimize that latency?

Re:Ports overload (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518721)

Is there a correlation between "casual" and "latency-sensitive"?

I imagine Civ V would work fine. As we learned when all that fuss about OnLive was going on, Xbox GTA4 has more latency than a typical OnLive game running on a server on a WAN.

Re:Ports overload (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518253)

Ugly? This thing ataches to the back of the TV, you won't ever see it.

Those ports look like very good news, a keyboard will make the box PC-like (wireless keyboards still need a USB port), those SATA ports mean you'll be able to use it as a nice media center, and a network port means you'll be able to use a reliable high speed wired connection. Also, more ports won't hurt, less ports will.

But yeah, you are rignht in a point. If it requires those wires, it will be bad. It's great to make the ports available, it isn't good to require using them.

Re:Ports overload (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518615)

Not all wireless keyboards need a USB port, bluetooth units for example.

I think requiring HDMI is fine, nothing beyond that. Miracast nor any other solution like it is truly suited to playing anything but casual games.

I hate the case (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517609)

Wake me up when people start making consoles that stack again

Re:I hate the case (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517787)

They make too much heat for that.
If they let you stack it, it would have to be bigger and actually have adequate ventilation. That would cut into their margins and not look cool.

Re:I hate the case (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517981)

Besides, having steam come out the top is probably a marketing feature.

Re: I hate the case (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517801)

Like what? When was there ever a console that would stack? I've never seen one...maybe you could claim the original X-box, but that's all I can think of and even that wouldn't work all that well. Most of the others I know of, for CDs or cartridges, were all top-loading....

Re: I hate the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517917)

There was the original NES (not the Famicom, which was more like an SNES, or the later top-loader revision), which was boxy enough to stack in theory.

Re: I hate the case (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517929)

There was a slot-loading SegaCD, too. It was a POS but that was Sega's fault, not an inherent problem. And the 360 stacks, believe it or not, just don't cover the holes.

Re: I hate the case (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518315)

The Wii also stacks. The PS2 stacked, but the PS3 doesn't.

Re: I hate the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518021)

PS2.

Re: I hate the case (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518271)

When was there ever a console that would stack?

Well, obviously the PS2 stacks. The slim version is top-loading though.

Re: I hate the case (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518301)

PS2, NES, Colecovision if you took the controllers out, and most top loading CD systems if you were willing to unstack them to change games.

Re: I hate the case (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518501)

I can think of 3 consoles that stack:
NES front-loading model
PS2 (up until the PSTwo)
Wii
The Xbox 360 to a certain extent.

Re:I hate the case (1)

macs4all (973270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517885)

Wake me up when people start making consoles that stack again

The "Piston" is anything but new. IIRC, it was originally marketed as some sort of "alternate form-factor" "business" computer. I saw the literature for this thing (under a different name) about two years ago. At that time, the "selling point" was that it was a semi-modular, semi-single-board sort-of "industrial computer", where various "options" could be BTO-ed, and that had some sort of proprietary "multi-user-clustering" feature baked-into the OS and hardware, that would allow multiple KVMs to be hooked up to one of the "satellite" units, and then those would share actual computing resources in a "cluster hub" box. Seemed like kind of a good idea; but it ended up being no cheaper than using a bunch of generic PCs. The "Piston" looks exactly like one of the "satellite" boxes. I wish I could remember what it was called that time it failed...

Re:I hate the case (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517939)

Would you like them all to have the same dimensions so that you're not building an oblong pyramid with every addition of device, too?

As much as I prefer nice perpendicular-angled boxes myself, that is more of an aversion to convex sides that make it impossible to stack anything on top of them - or them on top of anything - than it is about the actual angles. Looks like this thing's X shape will happily let it stand on a flat surface on all 4 sides, and anything else will happily lay flat on it.

Most likely, though, I would just put it in the furniture meant for all the audio/visual and the odd book - which currently only has 2 devices stacked (PVR/DVD combo and DVD player (plays all regions, no hacky firmware for the PVR/DVD available)).

Re:I hate the case (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518047)

I quite like the case; It wouldn't offend the lady of the house to have it sat near the TV, which is exactly where it would be.

They show it mounted to the VESA mounting on the back of the monitor. How am I supposed to mount the TV to the wall mounting bracket?

Re:I hate the case (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518181)

There's precedent for that. For example there are Raspberry Pi cases which mount on the VESA screw holes. It's a good option, but you do need alternative options, if you want to use the VESA mounting for something else.

Re:I hate the case (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518415)

Oh certainly, and the VESA mount goes unused on my PC monitors. However, if this is to be a games console, and it is to be linked to a TV in a living room, I know more people with TVs that are wall mounted than not. I can't help but think that this is an oversight on their part.

Re:I hate the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518119)

Enjoy your coma.

Re:I hate the case (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518343)

I hate the case

I love it! The mini-Tezro makes a nice package. A little minus comes from its grilles of shiny aluminum -- if I owned one I would soon paint them matte black, like the rest of the case.

Not *the* steam-box (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517675)

This is just *a* steam-box, just a few days ago Ben Krasnow (Valve hardware designer) said that steambox would appear at GDC.

999$ for a console? (1)

Skinny Rav (181822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517687)

X7A, on which Piston is based, costs 999$. Good luck gathering adoption at this price point.

Re:999$ for a console? (2)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517749)

Make enough of them, and that price will come right down.

Re:999$ for a console? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518065)

Even at half that price the "Steam box" would fail against the established console market on just about every level if not every level.
 
I hate to say it but I think we're going to see this be vaporware within a year. I can buy a good mid-grade PC for half the price and have every Steam title open to me, not just the ones that valve decides to port. Tell me again why I'd want this console?

Re:999$ for a console? (1)

slim (1652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518385)

I was thinking more like a quarter, or less. It's the difference between niche market, limited production runs, versus mass market and huge production runs.

These should be cheaper to churn out that $300 beige boxes.

Re:999$ for a console? (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518593)

As much as I respect Valve, if they can't push thing under $200, it's DOA. And to be honest I thought this was going to be a Console like a PS3 or Xbox; not a PC, I have a nice Linux box already.

Sony and Microsoft have opened themselves up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518117)

To this kind of thing by waiting too long for a product line refresh. Gamers, like myself, are looking at the graphics and capabilities of modern PCs and seeing their consoles (a PS3 in my case) looking slow and antiquated. With no prospect of a new console generation from either of the two major manufacturers why not try to move into their space with a fresher platform, same development process as for PC games and much more power than the current consoles. If it ran BF3 I'd order it as soon as I could.

Not the console you were looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518177)

The concept is surprising because it is more a PC and less a console. With several hardware configurations, a luxury price ($500 - $1000) and upgradeable components, the Steam Box is not a fixed development target, but simply another form of PC. A fixed configuration would have been a more attractive target for a publisher. Many of them shy away from PC due to the QA nightmare of supporting an infinite variety of graphic cards and hardware configurations.

Emulator (1)

djscoumoune (1731422) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518205)

I hope an emulator gets made soon.

tsk tsk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518225)

And here I thought valve were serious. This thing is D.O.A.

Possible $1000 price point? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518459)

I think they have a serious problem if they think a device costing anywhere near $1k will compete with the likes of Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii U. It would be a high end niche device only for folks that are also buying giant screen 4k tv's this year. I think they'll need to target $300 or less to have a chance of it taking off. People put $1k or more into PC's because you can (and most do) use them for a hell of a lot more than just video games.
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