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Old 2013-01-09, 18:18   Link #41
Tong
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I'd like to think of Steambox as a gimped up "Big Picture".
We won't be able to format it even. Not even pop-ups or errors lol
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Old 2013-01-09, 18:19   Link #42
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I can't see this doing anything other than flopping.
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Old 2013-01-10, 03:34   Link #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
I guess it really depends on your standards. As you say most consoles render at 720p (possibly upsampling it to 1920x1080 if the HDTV supports it) and only get around 30-45 frames per second.
Minor point: quite a few console games are rendered at a res lower than 720P:
http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=46241

Quote:
This is pretty easy for a cheap computer to replicate--I could easily build a $600 PC, complete with monitor, that'd slightly exceed console performance-- at least 45 frames per second on 1600x900 resolution with moderate to high graphics detail settings.

But you have to consider, you're only just barely exceeding the capabilities of a console for over twice as much. Used 360s and PS3s are cheap, $200 or less. Add a cheap little LCD TV to that and you've got a "fire and forget it" gaming setup that you don't have to think about for around $300-350 altogether.

Granted, it's not great. The budget PC is better by every metric. But it's cheaper, and there are no "PC problems" to deal with, which a lot of console gamers would never put up with.

That's why I get the impression that the Steam Box will be an actual console, rather than a cheap HTPC with some gaming chops. I suspect it'll run a cut-down, totally customized and mostly locked-down version of Linux (similar to Android I suspect). I'm sure Valve will leave unlocking/rooting options open, but not by default.

If the Steam Box isn't an actual console (an appliance) and is a PC (a general-purpose computer) it will fail at its stated goal, which is to try to take a piece of the console market. People who use consoles exclusively aren't going to put up with upgrading GPUs, fixing driver and compatibility issues, dealing with glitchy PC ports, etc.
I do agree that the appliance approach makes sense if they're already going with Linux (if you're ditching support for Steam's library of Windows stuff, you'd better make sure you give people a good reason to switch), it just seems like a weird fit with the talk of third party variants and "good, better and best" tiers.

In terms of stuff carried over from the PC side, it looks like a certain degree of platform openess (ie. mod support) is in but they're going with a conventional controller rather than something Phantom Lapboard like, so PC control schemes are out (significantly reduces the appeal for me but probably not for some).

That and probably the hardware itself. Rumours are that Sony and MS are using PC derived AMD CPUs and GPUs in their next gen so I can't imagine Valve doing much different.

(BTW, I have to say, I wish someone trusted in the gaming industry like Valve would launch a certification program for OEM PCs - ie. "this box has a decent GPU and no bloatware".)
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Old 2013-01-10, 15:14   Link #44
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While it is true that buying a PC is more costly than your regular $200 to $400 console the price for getting games is much lower on the PC. You can get games for free and other games for 20 dollars or less, not to mention modding the options.

You save a lot of money by gaming on the PC. Hopefully Valve will make the PC much more competitive at this time when it is losing so much business to the mobile market.
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Old 2013-01-10, 16:47   Link #45
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mobile is for casuals lol
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Old 2013-01-10, 22:44   Link #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
The only reason you can go the "cheap 500 dollar gaming box" route is because mainstream gaming is tailored for consoles that are over six years old.

When the PS3 and the 360 first launched, you had to build a $2000 PC to come close to what the consoles could do. Now, PC components have progressed, but the consoles are pretty much the same in 2013 as they were in 2006.

So yeah, you can build a cheap gaming PC that'll equal/slightly exceed a console. But it'll still cost three times as much, minimum, even now. When the new generation of consoles roll out, PC gaming will get really expensive again.
When the PS3 and 360 were introduced, they were actually more powerful than most gaming rigs at the time. In addition, they were sold below cost, heavily subsidized so they could be brought to the market at a somewhat sane price. Plus, both suffered production issues due to their rush to market. The worse of the two was the 360, which actually had severe design flaws (commonly known as the RROD).

I wouldn't call either console a success for the companies bottom lines. People love to point at Nintendo and their few quarters of losses, claiming doom and gloom. Never mind that the Wii and DS made them a boatload of cash. Sony on the other hand has a junk credit rating and is bleeding money like crazy. The only reason the Xbox is still alive is because MS has huge coffers. The cost of bringing the 360 to market would have bankrupted most other companies.

That's the reason neither have really dropped in price all that much either. They're finally turning a profit, and they need those consoles to recoup as much as they can before the next ones come out.

Today is a much different world. I can state with extremely high confidence that neither next gen system will launch with specs higher than what a high end PC has today. Close, perhaps, if the companies stupidly throw their money at specs like they did last generation. Which I'm sure they will. However, in a few years time, PC will once again be a generation ahead, and mid-range gamers like myself won't mind spending the extra cash over a console because of all the advantages consoles don't provide.

The best advantages of a console are this:

1. Plug and Play. Not really much of an issue with PC's anymore, but consoles are still superior.

2. Closed environment. This not only helps 1, but also means that lower specs can be squeezed for more power. The 360 runs on antiquated PC hardware, but you won't find a PC with those specs running Hitman Absolution anywhere close to the level a 360 can. Consoles, by nature of being locked down, are simply easier to push harder because you know everyone has the same parts and specs.

3. Exclusives. Fair enough. That's why I buy Nintendo systems.

But yeah, people like their idiot boxes. That's why Apple sells so many products even when superior competitors exist. Market the "you don't have to know how it works, because there's a wizard in every box", and people who pretend they have no time to learn how shit works will line up at your door to pay overpriced amounts. There will always be a place for consoles as a result.

However, the barriers that used to exist: high price, conflicting hardware, lack of plug and play, etc., for PC gaming are just not really there anymore. Even crappy laptops can play decent games now. It's not just that graphics cards have gotten stronger, but the technology has reached a point where it can be tiny, powerful, and good looking. Like Nvidia's Tegra line. Combined CPU/GPU processors. That kind of thing. The tools are better. The engines are better. The sales and support tools are better. Comparing PC's from a decade ago to now is just a night and day difference.

It's just become a much more friendly environment for everyone, and overall the costs are about the same when you average it out. It just seems so different now because this console generation has lasted far longer than it should have.
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Old 2013-01-10, 22:51   Link #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugetsu View Post
While it is true that buying a PC is more costly than your regular $200 to $400 console the price for getting games is much lower on the PC. You can get games for free and other games for 20 dollars or less, not to mention modding the options.

You save a lot of money by gaming on the PC. Hopefully Valve will make the PC much more competitive at this time when it is losing so much business to the mobile market.
Well, this is true but only if you wait until any given title has been out for a year or so and you can get the "ultimate edition" or "GOTY edition" for $30 with all the DLC.

Early adopters, though, end up paying $80-130 for the game and all the DLC.
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Old 2013-01-10, 23:38   Link #48
Tong
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Applicable for consoles.
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Old 2013-01-11, 03:43   Link #49
0utf0xZer0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solace View Post
Today is a much different world. I can state with extremely high confidence that neither next gen system will launch with specs higher than what a high end PC has today. Close, perhaps, if the companies stupidly throw their money at specs like they did last generation. Which I'm sure they will. However, in a few years time, PC will once again be a generation ahead, and mid-range gamers like myself won't mind spending the extra cash over a console because of all the advantages consoles don't provide.
I'd tend to mark the release of the 8800GT as the point where the mainstream got access to GPUs far superior to those in the last console gen - so about two years after the 360's release. You could certainly get more powerful setups prior to that, but they were bloody expensive.

(Of course, getting an OEM machine with a decent GPU at a decent price is a problem to this day, which is an entirely separate issue.)

The main thing I've noticed about the next gen console rumours is that they suggest both MS and Sony plan to use PC derived CPUs and GPUs, rather than custom designs as were used for the CPUs of the current gen (and the GPU on the 360). So the main question is going to be what sort of power consumption/heat envelope they plan to work with.

In the PS4's case, there's the even more specific rumour about dual graphics (AMD APU + discrete AMD GPU). Probably a dual-midrange GPU setup - not exactly high end PC destroying, but nothing to sneeze at either.

To an extent though, I think this spec stuff (which I, as a geek, freely admit I love to discuss) is overrated in terms of what's important to a platform's supporters. Even were the spec advantage not present I think a lot of people would stick to the PC for mods (Oblivion mods are, IMO, were a "killer app" for the PC platform early in the 360's lifecycle), keyboards and mice, and not having to deal with 12 year olds on Xbox Live, as well as certain gameplay styles associated with PC-centric releases. If Valve approaches Steambox correctly, it will narrow that gap.
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Old 2013-01-11, 05:07   Link #50
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True on the 8800gt. That was a damn good card. I used a 9600gt around that time, it carried me until I replaced it with my GTX460 about two years ago. Of course, things have changed since the PS360 were in the design stages. CPU tech is no longer about raw hertz, and GPU's are more integrated into the system. GPGPU tech is now more common too. The Wii U uses it, and I suspect the new HD twins will as well. In terms of graphics capabilities, my wager is they'll be one card series ahead of the Radeon in the Wii U.

Power consumption is the biggie. The Wii U uses a ridiculously low power consumption for what it packs, but I can't see Sony and MS being so cheap.

I think specs are overrated, to a point. I certainly don't want a repeat of the gap between Wii and the HD twins. But if Nintendo had chased them this generation, that might have ended the company. I think they're in a better position now, specs-wise. At worst, I think it'll be SNES to Genesis in quality, but otherwise I see a repeat of the PS2/Xbox1/GC era.

One thing I do think needs to happen, is the costs of games going down. The industry is pushing out the b-tier of games rapidly, which isn't healthy in the long run. I think PC's might have an advantage here, especially with Steam. I also think if Japanese developers want to recapture some of the Western audience, PC might be the way to do it. I know a few of the bigger publishers, like Capcom, are pushing into it, but I think the niche titles that probably wouldn't get many sales on a console would do pretty well on a PC.
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Old 2013-01-11, 05:34   Link #51
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You can blame EA on the price of games. They've pretty much single-handedly raised the price of a new game from $50 to $60 and of Collector's Editions from $60-65 to $80+.

This isn't even counting their usual method of "DLC," in which pieces of the game are hacked off before release and then sold for $7-10 each at or shortly after launch...

Hell, half the reason EA pushes Origin so hard (and had Dragon Age 2 et al yanked from Steam) is because they didn't like Steam Sales dropping the prices of their games/DLC.

Edit: Speaking of niche Japanese titles on Steam, xseed has brought a few of the Ys titles to Steam, and I suspect they'll be releasing Trails in the Sky Second Chapter to Steam as well, especially considering how the Vita was pretty much a repeat of the PSP's failure in the West.
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Old 2013-01-11, 10:50   Link #52
Tong
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It would be hella cool if the new consoles were upgradable too.
Easy as changing a Hard Drive.
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