Microsoft Xbox exec on Steam Box: selling console hardware "is a really tough business"

Valve made waves this week when it announced that it was investing in PC maker Xi3 with the goal of creating a PC that would dedicated to running Valve's Big Picture mode in Steam. While the company is in talks with many other PC makers to launch a "Steam Box" PC gaming-based console, Valve founder Gabe Newell also confirmed that Valve itself would launch a Linux-based Steam Box of its own.

Today, Microsoft corporate vice-president Phil Harrison, who has also had experience with Sony in the game console business, gave some advice to Valve and other companies like NVIDIA that are planning to launch a console-like hardware product. Eurogamer.net reports that, according to Harrison, making a mark in the industry is not for the faint of heart.

Harrison stated:

Entering the hardware business is a really tough business. You have to have great fortitude to be in the hardware business and you have to have deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet. It's not possible for every new hardware entrant to get to scale.

Harrison said that any company that enters this particular industry should also have a way to set up a good supply and manufacturing model as well as a good distribution system, adding, " ... it takes thousands of people to make reality."

Harrison did say that he admired Valve and their Steam PC game download service, but added, "... I'm not sure we would choose Steam as a benchmark of success. We would always seek to innovate and push beyond. Xbox Live as a foundation, the reach we have and the experience we deliver is a great place to build on."

In related news, Polygon chatted with Valve's Greg Coomer at CES 2012. He said that part of the reason for the company's push to launch a "Steam Box" came from Steam users themselves. He said, "They were already clearly playing games in the living room, they had all this stuff that they loved about Steam and it was frustrating for them to not be able to access it in a place that seemed like a natural fit for the kind of content that they were playing."

Ultimately, Coomer said that Steam was, in his words, "broken" when it came to playing games on a big screen living room television. The Big Picture mode is the first step towards fixing that issue and now Valve is working with PC makers to offer better living room PCs. Another element is the operating system and Coomer claims the current solutions are not meant for a TV environment.

Source: Eurogamer | Image via Engadget

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