Editorial

Sorry, Gabe Newell: Microsoft is the Steam Box's biggest threat

In a recent address to at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, Valve's founder Gabe Newell talked in general terms about the company's future hardware plans. In summary, Valve is working on its own and with third party PC makers on what's been called the "Steam Box", a gaming-themed PC that's designed to work in the living room.

PC maker Xi3 is working with Valve on the "Piston" PC that will run Steam's Big Picture mode

Personally, we are pretty excited about the prospect of a PC that has been created with the help of some of the best PC game designers in the world. Combined with the experience that Valve has gained with their Steam PC game download service, the Steam Box could end up being our next gaming PC.

However, Newell has a rather ... interesting viewpoint when it comes to possible competitors to the Steam Box. You might think that he would believe that the console companies (Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft) would be trying to keep the living room to themselves. Instead, Newell thinks that it will be Apple that's going to be the biggest threat to its plans for the Steam Box.

Newelll was quoted during the address as saying:

I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room.

Yes, Newell believes that Apple wants to replace all those Xbox 360s, PS3s and Wiis in the tens of millions of living rooms around the world. There's just one problem with that idea; Apple has shown no indication that they have any interest in such products.

Yes, Apple has its Apple TV set top box but it has pretty much treated it as its ugly stepchild compared to its iPhone, iPad and iPod family of products. Even its Mac PCs get more attention than the Apple TV, despite the fact that's it's actually a pretty cool add-on box that even allows users to stream content from their iPhone and iPad to their TV. That includes games, by the way.

The fact that Apple doesn't even bother to give the Apple TV a proper marketing and promotion budget, despite its cool feature list, shows that Apple doesn't care about the living room, or at least the living room that's centered around the big screen TV.

And what about all those rumors about a full fledged Apple television that have been going around the Internet for years? At this point, we will believe it when we see it. Apple's main focus seems to be on its iPhone and iPad lines, and there's no credible evidence that an iOS or Mac OS-based TV is even close to launching.

On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence that Microsoft will launch a successor to the Xbox 360 later this year. Microsoft started shipping the Xbox 360 to stores way back in 2005 (yes, that was well over seven years ago) and sold it as a game console, period. Over the past several years, Microsoft has added more and more entertainment and media features to the Xbox 360, turning it into a true entertainment set top box. In 2012, it even added a version of Internet Explorer which opened the console out of its closed sandbox and into the full Internet.

While Sony and Nintendo have offered up their own web browsers for the PS3, Wii and Wii U, the truth is Microsoft has done the most to introduce living room televisions to features that were unknown to most people just a few years ago.

While Microsoft may not want to talk about the next Xbox, the company is already preparing for it by launching a new Xbox Entertainment Studios division in the entertainment center of Los Angeles. In a press release issued on Monday, Microsoft said the studio will "create true interactive content for Xbox and other devices that will change the way entertainment content is experienced and delivered."

Hmm .. interactive content, eh? True interactive has been the dream of many a sci-fi novel, TV show and movie and the fact that Microsoft is working on these kinds of concepts gives us a big hint as to what the next Xbox will have in terms of content. If that kind of programming turns out to be popular, Microsoft may not be able to make enough of the next Xbox to meet demand.

We are aware that's a big "if". There are lots of questions about how interactive programming on the next Xbox will work and it could turn out to be as big of a dud as 3D TVs turned out to be. However, that doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is currently in the best position to pull it off, with Sony and Nintendo running behind and trying to catch up.

And Apple? Gabe Newell may be scared of what Tim Cook and the team at Cupertino are working on, but we think that he is chasing ghosts at this point. Could Apple make a push into the living room with a better Apple TV set top box or even a full TV? Sure. Are those efforts coming in the next 12 or 18 months? We highly doubt it.

There is no doubt on Microsoft's plans for the living room. They already have a foothold with the success of the Xbox 360 and the next version of the console will expand on those efforts. Microsoft may succeed or fail with those future plans, but they are in the works, and the fact that Newell seems to discount them is a mistake on his part.

We want to be clear; we really want to see what Valve has planned for its Steam Box hardware initiative. We think it could be cool. But Valve and Newell also need to be realistic on what their competition will be like for their plans. At the moment, the battle for the living room TV is Microsoft's to lose.

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And what makes Gabe think that all those game publishers are going to support Linux on top of the existing platforms. The amount of work they have to go through is amazing and I don't think OpenGL alone is the answer here.

Will the Steam Box feature a new system update to install on every boot like Steam for Windows does? I really love that feature because when I think about it, I don't want to just start playing my games anyway. Best to wait a few minutes, and then play.

In all seriousness, I love Steam and have a crap ton of games for it. Just wish that some of the features were more muted.

Personally, we are pretty excited about the prospect of a PC that has been created with the help of some of the best PC game designers in the world. Combined with the experience that Valve has gained with their Steam PC game download service, the Steam Box could end up being our next gaming PC.

Why is everyone so excited about this? It's a small PC running Linux that you plug in to your TV...if that was something people actually wanted, we'd see a bunch of guys building small PCs running Linux and hooking them up to their TV's.

Let's just weigh the pros and cons of this thing:

Pros:
1. It's Steam in your living room!!!

Cons:
1. It's Steam in your living room...
2. There's no way they're going to cram the power of a real gaming PC into a box that size
3. You lose the control of the keyboard and mouse
4. Their solution to media is Chrome
5. One of the big advantages of Steam is the huge catalog of games. By switching to Linux they're effectively starting from scratch
6. No game publisher in their right mind will devote resources to developing games for Linux, meaning Valve will have to pay for development of 3rd party games to get going
7. Valve does no quality control for 3rd-party games on Steam (all the other console companies do), so unless they start doing it for Steam Box, you won't even have the ease of use that come with a console
8. Due to Valve Time we probably won't see anything until the next next-gen consoles arrive

They're effectively taking the advantages of PCs and throwing them out the window (top-notch performance, more accurate controls, huge backlog of games, etc...), while at the same time adding none of the advantages of consoles (ok, you do get to sit on your sofa, I'll give you that).

You've summed it quite nicely.

I would add to the list of Cons - #) Valve has no understanding of Multimedia options. Which was exemplified by Gabe himself offering the browser as an option to consume other forms of media.

I don't know if he is just too narrowly focused to see what a big deal other forms of multimedia are, or just doesn't care. For all his criticism about consoles (or anything else that isn't a PC) he fails to see the fact that the moment a user has to leave Steam to consume other content, it immediately fails as an entertainment platform. No average Joe user is going to buy a Steam Box over an Xbox, PS3, Apple or Android device.

You probably could also have added #) HTPC's have already been tried, and never achieved mass market penetration & #) Anyone who wants to hook up a PC to TV is probably already doing it.

Of course it won't be a PC. At the same time to claim it wont sell because it isn't a real PC is about as foolish as saying no console could ever or will ever sell period.
Along with that logic nobody in their right mind would develop for PlayStation or Nintendo. They aren't as similar as a Xbox is to a PC so why would any publishers bother?
Nobody will develop for Linux. That obviously explains the success of Android and why Blizzard is investing resources in developing a Linux client for one of their IPs
If Valve wants to create a console and have a library cross compatible with a PC client it only makes sense to go with Linux. After the product is in place and games start rolling out what is going to stop gamers with a growing Steam Box library from installing Linux and running their favorite games they already own.
Sorry but a strong successful game console along with open source is Microsoft's greatest threat not the other way around. The single thing keeping gamers on Windows is games, move the games the gamers will follow.

Valve has mentioned Steam Box supporting local streaming, meaning it would be like onLive, but within a local network. The steambox would be able to stream games from a powerful PC located elsewhere in your house. Basically, 90% of your 'cons' list is wrong.

Adasan said,
Of course it won't be a PC. At the same time to claim it wont sell because it isn't a real PC is about as foolish as saying no console could ever or will ever sell period.

Consoles have their own advantages both to consumers and developers. Consumers get ease of use (just pop in a disc and play), no worries about compatibility or performance issues, driver updates and such, and in the past couple generations, backwards compatibility with the last generation of games. Developers have the advantage of having a single (or limited, for cross-platform releases) set of hardware to develop, optimize, and test. Other than the fact that Valve will undoubtedly include some kind of auto-update for drivers, Steam Box has none of these advantages. Unless of course Valve gets devs to specifically target the specs of the Steam Box...then PC games will suffer from lowest-common-denominator syndrome just like the consoles (it's already bad enough for PC gamers thanks to the popularity of consoles).

Adasan said,
Nobody will develop for Linux. That obviously explains the success of Android and why Blizzard is investing resources in developing a Linux client for one of their IPs

People started developing for Android after it became popular. Not the other way around. With an install base of 0.5% of PC gamers (which is already smaller than the console gamer crowd), the only way that Valve will get any kind of support is to pay off devs and publishers. Microsoft had the added advantage of being their own publisher and very deep pockets and it took them years and billions of dollars before they started to turn a profit.

giantpotato said,
Valve has mentioned Steam Box supporting local streaming, meaning it would be like onLive, but within a local network. The steambox would be able to stream games from a powerful PC located elsewhere in your house. Basically, 90% of your 'cons' list is wrong.

So now I have to buy a gaming PC and a Steam Box? Where's the advantage there? Oh yeah, I get to give up my mouse and keyboard for a controller just so I can sit on the couch. I think I'd rather just buy a more comfortable computer chair...

giantpotato said,
Valve has mentioned Steam Box supporting local streaming, meaning it would be like onLive, but within a local network. The steambox would be able to stream games from a powerful PC located elsewhere in your house. Basically, 90% of your 'cons' list is wrong.

Uh, so in order for the Steam Box to work I need a PC. How does that invalidate his cons list? And how does that make it worth buying when I could just hook my PC up to my TV?

Hello... HDMI

JonathanMarston said,

Why is everyone so excited about this? It's a small PC running Linux that you plug in to your TV...if that was something people actually wanted, we'd see a bunch of guys building small PCs running Linux and hooking them up to their TV's.

You mean like that Ouya console that got $8 million in funding on Kickstarter?

JonathanMarston said,

6. No game publisher in their right mind will devote resources to developing games for Linux, meaning Valve will have to pay for development of 3rd party games to get going

Except they have, and are - at an increasing rate now that Valve are spearheading a push to improve gaming on the Linux platform.

JonathanMarston said,

Consoles have their own advantages both to consumers and developers. Consumers get ease of use (just pop in a disc and play), no worries about compatibility or performance issues, driver updates and such, and in the past couple generations, backwards compatibility with the last generation of games. Developers have the advantage of having a single (or limited, for cross-platform releases) set of hardware to develop, optimize, and test. Other than the fact that Valve will undoubtedly include some kind of auto-update for drivers, Steam Box has none of these advantages. Unless of course Valve gets devs to specifically target the specs of the Steam Box...then PC games will suffer from lowest-common-denominator syndrome just like the consoles (it's already bad enough for PC gamers thanks to the popularity of consoles).

You have condemned a system you have never used and its "functionality" that you have simply assumed and you base it all in no real fact. I don't see why anyone is opposed to keeping an open mind. Comments like this is like looking at the specs of the 1st Xbox and simply saying, "Hey its a crap PC with an old Pentium 3 You will have to update drivers and it wont even play any of my current PC games."
As far as developers targeting consoles, that's not much different than now. One benefit of Steam could be since it is running Linux and the same CPU architecture as a consumers PC running steam and Linux, it may result in easier more high quality port. If you want to blame someone why not blame Microsoft for the Xbox 360 running PPC and Sony for the PS3 running Cell and creating a development cross platform cluster, you know what.

Adasan said,
Of course it won't be a PC. At the same time to claim it wont sell because it isn't a real PC is about as foolish as saying no console could ever or will ever sell period.
Along with that logic nobody in their right mind would develop for PlayStation or Nintendo. They aren't as similar as a Xbox is to a PC so why would any publishers bother?
Nobody will develop for Linux. That obviously explains the success of Android and why Blizzard is investing resources in developing a Linux client for one of their IPs
If Valve wants to create a console and have a library cross compatible with a PC client it only makes sense to go with Linux. After the product is in place and games start rolling out what is going to stop gamers with a growing Steam Box library from installing Linux and running their favorite games they already own.
Sorry but a strong successful game console along with open source is Microsoft's greatest threat not the other way around. The single thing keeping gamers on Windows is games, move the games the gamers will follow.

Yet in 20 years the games did not move to GNU/Linux. The reasons are of course obvious. Utter fragmentation on the technical level and the absence of an audience.

Now some people seem to think that the fact that there is an Ubuntu client of steam (which is JUST a distribution mechanism, nothing more) all of a sudden major game developers will start developing their games for this platform. I really wonder why. I mean, the lack of an audience is still present so is the utter fragmentation. Not to mention the fact that the steam client on OSX did not lead to that platform becomming a major gaming platform, and yes I believe considering the target audience and market share, OSX would have been a much much more likely candidate than Linux.

Fact of the matter remains, there hardly is any commercial software development and publishing happening on GNU/Linux and the chance that big name game developers are going to try is next to zero. Hell we as gamers are praying and hoping they still are for Windows (which does not suffer from lack of audience), the cold facts are that major games are developed for xbox or Ps/3 first and Windows a distant third.

sjaak327 said,

Yet in 20 years the games did not move to GNU/Linux. The reasons are of course obvious. Utter fragmentation on the technical level and the absence of an audience.

Now some people seem to think that the fact that there is an Ubuntu client of steam (which is JUST a distribution mechanism, nothing more) all of a sudden major game developers will start developing their games for this platform. I really wonder why. I mean, the lack of an audience is still present so is the utter fragmentation. Not to mention the fact that the steam client on OSX did not lead to that platform becomming a major gaming platform, and yes I believe considering the target audience and market share, OSX would have been a much much more likely candidate than Linux.

Fact of the matter remains, there hardly is any commercial software development and publishing happening on GNU/Linux and the chance that big name game developers are going to try is next to zero. Hell we as gamers are praying and hoping they still are for Windows (which does not suffer from lack of audience), the cold facts are that major games are developed for xbox or Ps/3 first and Windows a distant third.


Apple?
They still sell LGA 1366 (discontinued socket) systems with Radeon HD 5770s for over $3000.
You seriously expected that to take off as a major gaming platform?
You have got to be kidding me.
AMD just announced that they are adding open source driver support for the HD8000 series and only recently nvidia got their crap together on Linux.
Valve has been porting titles and Blizzard is currently porting a title to Linux also. They seriously aren't big?
There is a push to open source in gaming and a Linux based console from Valve will have an effect.

Adasan said,

Apple?
They still sell LGA 1366 (discontinued socket) systems with Radeon HD 5770s for over $3000.
You seriously expected that to take off as a major gaming platform?
You have got to be kidding me.
AMD just announced that they are adding open source driver support for the HD8000 series and only recently nvidia got their crap together on Linux.
Valve has been porting titles and Blizzard is currently porting a title to Linux also. They seriously aren't big?
There is a push to open source in gaming and a Linux based console from Valve will have an effect.

You know full well that Apple not only sells expensive mac pro machines. And yes, when commercial developers are concerned OSX is much more viable than Linux. There are far more big selling commercial titles on OSX than there are on Linux. Despite twenty years of "this is the year of Linux" ********. Up until now no serious commercial developer has ever bothered for desktop Linux and without a change in the two problems I have mentioned, there is a slim chance this will change. Commercial developers like to make money not loose it.

Wake me up when Rockstar (a real developer unlike Valve..) brings GTAV to Linux ! Maybe they show you some love and port some of their old stuff to Linux, they did so for OSX as well.

So the less expensive Mac SKUs with Intel HD graphics or nvidia and AMD mobile chip sets were supposed to become the major gaming platform. That makes much more sense.
Steam easily has as many users as Microsoft has across Xbox live and Games for Windows Live. There will be money to be made from creating a game for Steam Box / Steam Linux.
Implying Take-Two Interactive is bigger and more influential than Activision-Blizzard and Valve is also ridiculous.

"Steam easily has as many users as Microsoft has across Xbox live and Games for Windows Live. "

Probably more, yet the vast majority of those steam users are on Windows (94%) the reason is just as Obvious as the reason why gaming on Linux doesn't have a chance.

"Implying Take-Two Interactive is bigger and more influential than Activision-Blizzard and Valve is also ridiculous."

I did not imply such a thing. I said Rockstart (just Rockstar) is bigger and more influential then Valve. There is nothing ridiculous about that statement at all.

All of Take-Two Interactive including Rockstar is worth less than Valve. Take-Two Interactive nor anyone else come close to Valve for digital distribution besides Apple.
PC gamers don't game on Windows because they love the operating system, they game there due to lack of choice. Valves goal is to introduce a new option to gamers.
If given the choice I am willing to bet most gamers would stick the cash they put into Windows licences into better hardware if they didn't need it to play all their games.
Gamers are more than capable of installing and using Ubuntu.

Adasan said,
All of Take-Two Interactive including Rockstar is worth less than Valve. Take-Two Interactive nor anyone else come close to Valve for digital distribution besides Apple.
PC gamers don't game on Windows because they love the operating system, they game there due to lack of choice. Valves goal is to introduce a new option to gamers.
If given the choice I am willing to bet most gamers would stick the cash they put into Windows licences into better hardware if they didn't need it to play all their games.
Gamers are more than capable of installing and using Ubuntu.

I did not talk about their digital distribution system, I am talking about their games, I thought that would be obvious. Of course gamers aren't on Windows because they love it, but indeed because the os offers them options to play games. These games aren't going to disappear overnight. Neither are they going to toss Windows for an os where they are extremely limited in terms of gaming titles and throw away their existing titles in favour of it. The argument of the Windows license is laughable, that hasn't stopped over 1.2 billion people from running Windows, not to mention a very large percentage of these people simply get the os with the machine they buy.

My stance remains simple, in 20 years we have not seen much commercial development for GNU/Linux and just the fact that a game distribution mechanism (which actually runs for 94% on Windows and 5% on OSX) now has a client for one distro is not going to change this. For this to be changed, the platform needs users, but users will not come in absence of titles.

Your stance is you are looking to the past and have no vision for the future. Windows isn't going to be #1 for all time. Linux has a large share and big impact in every other market except the desktop. Google has come out and said they want to grab 90% of Office users. Valve, Acti-Blizz, Indy devs, ect want to push gaming to Linux. All of these things will start to have an impact. Gamers can always dual boot for older games and a transition would take time. Doesn't make it impossible.

giantpotato said,
Valve has mentioned Steam Box supporting local streaming, meaning it would be like onLive, but within a local network. The steambox would be able to stream games from a powerful PC located elsewhere in your house. Basically, 90% of your 'cons' list is wrong.
Which goes to show how clueless Valve is being about streaming. Consumers don't want their content being tied to down to a single device, nor do they want to have buy a PC to house it and require them to manage it. They want everything to connect seamlessly out of the box with no configuration necessary. Cloud services already do this, and users are comfortable with that. Steam connects to none of those services.

Valve wants everything to be PC centric. Consumers however do not.

So if someone owns 200 games on Steam and wants to play one on their Steam Box in front of a couch and it hasn't been recompiled for Linux or released on Steam Box giving the user an option to enjoy that content in a new way is a massive negative.
I think a vessel just popped in my head.
I have never seen so much FUD spread on a product on the Internets in my life.

Adasan said,
Nobody will develop for Linux. That obviously explains the success of Android and why Blizzard is investing resources in developing a Linux client for one of their IPs

Correct me if I'm wrong but developing Apps / Games for Android isn't really developing them in Linux. IIRC, the only thing Linux about Android is that Linux is used to run the Java VM Dalvik runtime, you program in Java. So in theory all the apps of Android can run on any OS as long as they have a Java runtime that has the extra additions that Google added to Dalvik (which is similar to what Bluestacks does).

My understanding is one of the benefits of Ubuntu phone is that it's actually running Linux all the way through and does away with the need for coding in Dalvik runtime. Less overhead, more standardized. So in theory Blizzard and other companies looking for AAA game performance would be making Linux game clients that can run on the Ubuntus of the world not Android.

I personally dont see how the success of Android gaming = the success of Linux gaming as they are not the same.

Adasan said,
Your stance is you are looking to the past and have no vision for the future. Windows isn't going to be #1 for all time. Linux has a large share and big impact in every other market except the desktop. Google has come out and said they want to grab 90% of Office users. Valve, Acti-Blizz, Indy devs, ect want to push gaming to Linux. All of these things will start to have an impact. Gamers can always dual boot for older games and a transition would take time. Doesn't make it impossible.

Hahaha. So long as Linux has the fragmentation and the free software ******** mentatlity, it has absolutely zero chance of ever being able to even surpass OSX. It has nothing at all to do with living in the past, but yet knowing exactly what the platform has to offer NOW and what others have been doing the past twenty years. Microsoft has an advantage over Linux when it comes to application compatibility and when it comes to enterprise managment that it is impossible for Linux to change this without drastic change and merging of some of the best distros, so they can start trying to code away the massive disadvantages. Of course that will never happen, and they will still be busy with the gnome/kde/unity debate, which of course is completely inconsequential in the great scheme of things.

Look I don't study the game market or industry but In what dimension does Apple "roll the console guys" gaming on smart phones might be a profitable and ever expanding platform but the games on your smart phone are a completely different experience and leauges away from console gaming experience.

Apple could slap an app store with gaming access on their ATV and give them away, not going to make consoles extinct nor any less profitable it would just be competing in the space of consoles becoming a digital multimedia hub with a lot of interconnectivity. That at least appears to be what I see MS aiming for, seemless experiences and connectivity across your windows products > xbox, phone, tablet, computer, server right through to your (non MS) tv and ht system.

The biggest threat to everyone is Android, I just got my Nexus S and I found that it has WiDi (unadvertised by Google), which means I can download any game on my phone, play it on my phone, use my phone as a controller, and display the game on the TV (if the TV is WiDi compatible, or using a WiDi box from Amazon for 60 to 90 USD), all at the same time.

Now It is just a matter of time when game makers will start making multiplayer games that utilize the full power of today's modern smartphones, for example, one person starts the multi-player game on his phone, broadcast it on the TV, and his friend visits him at home and joins the game, then in the middle his friend can leave the house but he will still be connected to the game from his phone, etc.

The old boxes are unfortunately over, or about to be over.

have you never played a console game before in your life? is your tv like 22 inch? android and ios games have crappy graphics. low polygon count,low res textures,dumb AI,short play time. the crappiest wii game is even better than any of these games. Theres a lot of people like you who like to compare to another product that you're never actually used,or used much.

wait what? um, Widi is an intel technology and as far as I know the phone or computer/tablet would need to have intel chip inside.
I think you're mistaking Widi Direct for DLNA. almost every high end phones now-a-days supports dlna. if a TV is WiDi Direct compatible then it most definitely is DLNA compatible (however, some TVs supports DLNA but are not Widi Direct compatible)

correct me if i'm wrong though. i'm also guessing you have an LG tv right?

ctrl_alt_delete said,
wait what? um, Widi is an intel technology and as far as I know the phone or computer/tablet would need to have intel chip inside.
I think you're mistaking Widi Direct for DLNA. almost every high end phones now-a-days supports dlna. if a TV is WiDi Direct compatible then it most definitely is DLNA compatible (however, some TVs supports DLNA but are not Widi Direct compatible)

correct me if i'm wrong though. i'm also guessing you have an LG tv right?

WiDi is not hardware, it's software. You just have to license the tech from Intel.

Major Plonquer said,
Android? Hahaha! That's funny. Games running on Java? Hahahahahahaha!

The biggest threat isn't Android at all. No. It's morons.

LOL Agreed.

I bought the ID pack some time ago to play on Win7. The results so far:
- Quake 1/GLQuake require steam to be run with administrator privileges (and is sold without any background music, same for Q2)
- Quake 2 main game and expansions cannot be saved/loaded (Function pointers have moved error, requiring using patched DLLs)
- Quake 3 required the Steam overlay to be disabled or it'd show screen corruption everywhere
- Doom 1/2/extra levels don't work without replacing DOSBOX with a newer version
- Wolfestein 3d came with smaller screen size by default (a true 8086 experience!)
And this only for the games I've played so far, maybe it's time Valve starts thinking about getting the game they already sell to work before moving to new platforms?

What I find funny is every single one of those games came out before Steam even existed, and they were all made by a company that's not called Valve! Try running them in a 32-bit WinXP VM...

Breakthrough said,
What I find funny is every single one of those games came out before Steam even existed, and they were all made by a company that's not called Valve! Try running them in a 32-bit WinXP VM...

Of course everybody knows those games weren't made by Valve (hence ID pack) but they're the ones selling them. My point was that maybe Valve should set some minimum standards for the games that they let the publishers release on Steam, there are games put on sale quite recently (2-3 years at best) that don't work with multicore CPUs or with Vista/7. When you have to go looking for DLL patches from 2002, set CPU affinity or turn off compositing/set 256 colors for a recently published game when on consoles (that they want to compete with) you just slap the disc inside and play, something just doesn't feel right.

francescob said,
And this only for the games I've played so far, maybe it's time Valve starts thinking about getting the game they already sell to work before moving to new platforms?

The games you've noted, as others have already said, is by ID software, hence the name of the game's bundle. ID Software have control over what updates are sent to the steam store.
Depending on how you look at it, it's unfortunate for those games you've mentioned, As ID Software will not be releasing anymore updates.
The problem is they're very old games, for most companies they'd let the games go to waste. However ID software has released the source code to every single one of them games and while they themselves don't provide any updates, the community does. For example, you can get updated versions of WinQuake, or even versions that do per pixel shading (tenebrae was a good example back in the day).
As with older games that came on CD, the music was an actual CDA track not a digital file. So while it might have been nice to have them as a OST for download with the game, it wouldn't have been able to play it in the background by the game.
The music was actually by nine inch nails if you want to grab it,

As for Quake 3, if you can, you'd be better off playing on http://www.quakelive.com were you can play for free and they have a lot more maps from the expansion and extras they've made/updated.

Valve just do the distribution. They have no control over the content of third party games. The onus is on you, the user to make sure the product you're buying will work. If you want to complain, email ID not Valve. All of Valve's in house games work perfectly with Windows 7

sagum said,

The games you've noted, as others have already said, is by ID software, hence the name of the game's bundle. ID Software have control over what updates are sent to the steam store.
Depending on how you look at it, it's unfortunate for those games you've mentioned, As ID Software will not be releasing anymore updates.
The problem is they're very old games, for most companies they'd let the games go to waste. However ID software has released the source code to every single one of them games and while they themselves don't provide any updates, the community does. For example, you can get updated versions of WinQuake, or even versions that do per pixel shading (tenebrae was a good example back in the day).
As with older games that came on CD, the music was an actual CDA track not a digital file. So while it might have been nice to have them as a OST for download with the game, it wouldn't have been able to play it in the background by the game.
The music was actually by nine inch nails if you want to grab it,

As for Quake 3, if you can, you'd be better off playing on http://www.quakelive.com were you can play for free and they have a lot more maps from the expansion and extras they've made/updated.

Why did you skip my previous post? I know perfectly that those are not Valve games, my point was that Valve doesn't do any quality control on what is released on THEIR store: why do they still allow publishers to release and sell games that don't work with multicore CPU, with desktop compositing enabled or anything newer than XP (even though some games ALSO have problems on XP) in 2013? How can it become a proper gaming platform when buying games on it can still be a no-refund russian roulette? With each new versions of Windows the problem is just going to get worse and the publishers just don't give a damn.

Javik said,
Valve just do the distribution. They have no control over the content of third party games. The onus is on you, the user to make sure the product you're buying will work. If you want to complain, email ID not Valve. All of Valve's in house games work perfectly with Windows 7

I understand perfectly that they don't have control over the content and I never said they should mess with the game content, only that they should at least make sure the games released meet a certain minimum standard and are not just simple repackaged games install folders straight from the 2000s. If Amazon kept receiving complaints from one of their sellers they'd kick them out of their store, why shouldn't Valve? Publishers releasing and still selling broken outdated games hurts their company image too.

Edited by francescob, Feb 12 2013, 2:35pm :

francescob said,
I bought the ID pack some time ago to play on Win7. The results so far:
- Quake 1/GLQuake require steam to be run with administrator privileges (and is sold without any background music, same for Q2)
- Quake 2 main game and expansions cannot be saved/loaded (Function pointers have moved error, requiring using patched DLLs)
- Quake 3 required the Steam overlay to be disabled or it'd show screen corruption everywhere
- Doom 1/2/extra levels don't work without replacing DOSBOX with a newer version
- Wolfestein 3d came with smaller screen size by default (a true 8086 experience!)
And this only for the games I've played so far, maybe it's time Valve starts thinking about getting the game they already sell to work before moving to new platforms?

I own 159 titles on Steam, including the ID Pack. Your example is an exception and not the rule.

Empyrean Glow said,

I own 159 titles on Steam, including the ID Pack. Your example is an exception and not the rule.

For many older games it has become quite the rule. I had problems with Fallout 1/2/Tactics, Deus EX (and the everybody-denies-its-existance Invisible War), KOTOR, Far Cry, Monkey Island and these are just the ones I can think of right now (if I kept a list I'm pretty sure it'd be quite long), almost every old game I bought was shipped in worse conditions that you could find them on abandonware websites with the only exception I can think of being games from Double Fine that not only were patched for newer versions of Windows but also included achievements and steam cloud support. I understand that Steam simply sells the games, what I was just suggesting is that they should set some minimum standards just like the App Stores on other platforms do or the situation is just going to get worse with time, especially with Microsoft trying to match Apple's release schedules (on OS X with so many frequent OS releases the backward compatibility has become almost non-existent).

Edited by francescob, Feb 12 2013, 4:13pm :

francescob said,
when on consoles (that they want to compete with) you just slap the disc inside and play, something just doesn't feel right.

Horrible analogy because systems have largely changed over time. It's good to do research on the product you buy, before you actually throw them your money. The fact that you can still tinker with PC games and get them to work is better than having zero options at all.

Furthermore, no, it's NOT that easy because what you are trying to do is the equivalent of sticking an N64 cartridge into your Xbox 360 or Wii U. Good luck with that.

dead.cell said,

Horrible analogy because systems have largely changed over time. It's good to do research on the product you buy, before you actually throw them your money. The fact that you can still tinker with PC games and get them to work is better than having zero options at all.

I don't think it's a bad analogy because we're talking about games that you can still buy but that unfortunately won't work properly. Steam allows publishers to warn if the game is not going to be compatible (a few games have warnings in the store page and also warn you when you add them to the shopping cart) but except for a few cases no publisher cares, they try to pass the system requirements as "minimum" when the games won't work at all on newer systems.

I knew what I was getting when I bought those games/packs, from forum informations of course, not from the store pages that blissfully avoid giving any hint that they may not work. I was sure I was going to get them to work in any case but for anybody unexperienced that doesn't know where to patch some random DLLs with an hex editor to get the savegames to work or setting up another dosbox instance just to launch some old SETUP.BAT to configure the mouse or audio settings it certainly wouldn't have been an easy task.

dead.cell said,

Furthermore, no, it's NOT that easy because what you are trying to do is the equivalent of sticking an N64 cartridge into your Xbox 360 or Wii U. Good luck with that.

I think a more appropriate equivalent would be buying a virtual console game from the Wii store and getting a .NES file instead. Of course you can mod your Wii and install an emulator to run the game but it certainly isn't a well expected surprise. That's basically what they give you, barely more than repackaged folders from the last couple of decades. Being able to download a game that won't work well for some can certainly still be better than nothing, indeed I bought the games mainly to have the data files quickly available in case I wanted to play them with third party engines but for all the other people that wanted to simply play those games getting them to work would have been nothing but a nightmare.

In the end, Steam can certainly do whatever they want and let the publishers sell whatever PKZIP/LHARC files they can ravage from their dying 8086 hard drives but I think they should do something to protect users from buying broken non-refundable games and also to encourage publishers to keep their games that are still on sale working on newer hardware and newer versions of Windows. Let's not forget Steam kicked War Z out of the store for being a broken mess, some of those games quality-wise aren't really much far away from that.

I didn't have any problems with the ID Pack, all games run perfectly, I never launch Steam with administrator privileges, I've played Wolfenstein, all the Doom, DeusEx, Far Cry, KOTOR, I still have all my saved game from Quake 2 and 1 (played without music), I don't have any corruption problems with Quake 3, ...

In fact few games don't work or have problems in my collection (http://steamcommunity.com/id/sxcnn/), so maybe the problems you have come from elsewhere ...

However I'm agree with you I can find better version on abandonware website (complete audio, French version, etc.)

PS: I'm using Windows 7 Pro 64Bits

Sxcnn said,
I didn't have any problems with the ID Pack, all games run perfectly, I never launch Steam with administrator privileges, I've played Wolfenstein, all the Doom, DeusEx, Far Cry, KOTOR, I still have all my saved game from Quake 2 and 1 (played without music), I don't have any corruption problems with Quake 3, ...

In fact few games don't work or have problems in my collection (http://steamcommunity.com/id/sxcnn/), so maybe the problems you have come from elsewhere ...

However I'm agree with you I can find better version on abandonware website (complete audio, French version, etc.)

PS: I'm using Windows 7 Pro 64Bits

Those are certainly not some issues I imagined in my dreams, those issues are very common and there are several threads on the steam users forums about them, some like the Deus Ex speed issue even having a dedicated sticky thread on its steam forum (the Quake forum instead has a stickied thread dedicated only to tell users to use third party engines!) so I think you either forgot you installed some updates/used third party engines or you have one of the few rare configurations that works (single core with nvidia graphics?).

Anyway, you can just try googling for "Quake 3 steam overlay", "Quake 2 function pointers have moved steam", "doom colors steam", "deus ex speed steam", "quake audio not looping steam", etc. If you don't want to search just read one of the always similar threads that are created when the game is put on sale: http://forums.steampowered.com...ms/showthread.php?t=1688828 , I think that's a pretty good indicator about the several issues those games have when played without patches or third party engines, when they work it's more likely to be an exception rather than the norm: the dosbox they used is from 2007 and was never updated (it already had issues with Vista at the time, it's worse with Win7) and the "native" Windows Quake games (WinQuake/QuakeWorld/Quake2/Quake3) are the same exact versions straight from the Win95/Win98 days (Quake3 didn't even come with the latest patch), it's already a miracle they can still work on some systems, somehow.

I have issues with or without Steam. Just look at Microsoft's latest GFWL blunder, knocking people off for a couple days.

I'm not saying it's justified, but I'd rather put up with a few bugs and hiccups with the ability to mod my games and have a much better overall experience than I ever could on consoles. I'd also enjoy the convenience of distribution.

If you don't like fooling with all that though, buy a console and quit worrying about it. It's a PC gaming issue really, because no game is perfect with or without Steam. The fact that many of us might run into an issue, yet still PREFER Steam speaks volumes for the service. It's unmatched, unrivaled, and myself and others will go out of their way to get it on Steam.

I'm not saying it's the cheapest either, I'll buy through Amazon just the same. Key difference is that those that buy elsewhere often look for a Steam key too. $10 for Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Spec Ops? Yes please. Show me where I can get things like that on a console at prices like that, and I'll happily switch.

Now...I'm right there with the Games for Windows Live hatred.

I've been locked out of my Dawn of War 2 account for over a year now, for doing nothing more than switching between a Hotmail.com to a live.com account on my GfWL account. Even though the accounts are linked everywhere else, GfWL says they are separate and I attempted to pirate the game. Dealing with Microsoft support is like trying to navigate through a minefield and night, while drunk.

dead.cell said,
I have issues with or without Steam. Just look at Microsoft's latest GFWL blunder, knocking people off for a couple days.

I'm not saying it's justified, but I'd rather put up with a few bugs and hiccups with the ability to mod my games and have a much better overall experience than I ever could on consoles. I'd also enjoy the convenience of distribution.

If you don't like fooling with all that though, buy a console and quit worrying about it. It's a PC gaming issue really, because no game is perfect with or without Steam. The fact that many of us might run into an issue, yet still PREFER Steam speaks volumes for the service. It's unmatched, unrivaled, and myself and others will go out of their way to get it on Steam.

I'm not saying it's the cheapest either, I'll buy through Amazon just the same. Key difference is that those that buy elsewhere often look for a Steam key too. $10 for Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Spec Ops? Yes please. Show me where I can get things like that on a console at prices like that, and I'll happily switch.

I never said I cared that much about the games not working, indeed, I repeat myself, I bought them for the game files rather than for the games themselves, but for anybody else it may have easily become a little too much overkill to get the games to work due to all the issues they have. I also never said that a console or an app store is overall better than Steam, I doubt you'd ever find most of the steam prices everywhere else, however if Valve wants to compete with consoles and app stores that are slowly eating the gaming market it certainly isn't a wise idea to let publishers still sell unrefundable broken games, that rarely happens on app stores/consoles, they should raise the bar a little to ensure publishers don't just slap their games on steam and never care about them again while still leaving them on sale. This said, just because I don't like an aspect of Steam it doesn't mean that everything else becomes automatically better.

About GFWL I liked the concept and UI but like anybody else I had a pretty big share of problems with that too (corrupted savegames, unrecoverable savegames after changing computer, DLC nightmares from hell) but I'm more annoyed by the publishers releasing GFWL games on Steam instead of doing a proper Steam port rather than by GFWL itself (it's not like Origin or Uplay have been flawless either though).

Just saw your message and nope I don't have installed anything else (I like to play old game like I played them when they come out), I even uninstalled them, delete theirs folders and download them again ... and it work without problems (except that my resolution is not supported in some of them like before)

My config:
CPU: AMD ATHLON II X3 450 - 3.2 GHz - Socket AM3
Ram: 8 Giga DDR3
GPU: ATI Radeon 4890 1 Giga
Screen: ViewSonic 22" 1920*1080 + Sensy 19" 1280*1024 + Samsung 20" 1600*1200
OS: Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit

Maybe I'm lucky

Sxcnn said,
Maybe I'm lucky

I just tried reinstalling and running Quake 3 but despite having changed computer and installed Win8 since the last time I played it the result is still the same: http://i.imgur.com/0siN4CI.jpg . With the dosbox games it's the same, ultimate doom starts with all color messed up while the other games work fine at first then the color screws up there too. Maybe the games prefer your AMD CPU?

francescob said,

I just tried reinstalling and running Quake 3 but despite having changed computer and installed Win8 since the last time I played it the result is still the same: http://i.imgur.com/0siN4CI.jpg . With the dosbox games it's the same, ultimate doom starts with all color messed up while the other games work fine at first then the color screws up there too. Maybe the games prefer your AMD CPU?

After looking at your screen shot, it looks like an Open GL problem rather then Quake.

I just downloaded Quake 3 from steam and tried it on my system and it worked fine.
My spec: win8, gtx 280, i7

EDIT: http://www.psu.com/forums/show...&viewfull=1#post5690753
Looks to be an AMD/ATI have OpenGL driver issues. You might want to get that looked at, or indeed try turning off steam overlay.

Why not just release a Steam app for the next Xbox, which can play games from your library? After all, that's what Steam is at the moment. Just an app on Windows.

Could also take advantage of the Big Picture mode, stream games from your PC to the TV via Xbox.

Oh its more than that its a crap app for windows, One which uses over 9000 non standard ports just for bog standard http and all this to run even single player games.

The_Decryptor said,
That would require Microsoft to open up their service, which will happen the day after hell freezes over.
Actually that would require steams service to do more than just be a DRM wrapper around regular PC games. Steam couldn't offer this service because steam would have to port the games or get the games ported. Which won't happen.