Valve have been wanting to bring PC gaming to the living room for a while now and with their Steam Box hardware, which is currently at many game developers all around the globe, are on the way to making this happen. But what if Google decided, due to the success of Android OS they themselves could get in on the home console market?
Valve are kind of the like the shining white knights of gaming. Have you ever heard a gamer say that they hate Valve? They are one of the few video game companies that have crazy amount of goodwill with all of their fans, unlike say, Electronic Arts. They really did revolutionize PC gaming with their incredible Steam platform. And if this Steam Box of theirs is the real deal, then Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft could have some serious competition on their hands.
Well you really would have to say not a great deal, but Google do have a ton of cash they could throw at this. Remember who would have thought that Microsoft could have made a video game console all those years ago? Google though could decide to build an Android based console or maybe they would go the other way and make a dedicated gaming platform.
It has been said that Valve will be releasing various Steam Boxes of different specs. And their Steam Boxes can be upgraded as a gamers wants and needs changes. This is a very odd decision. If their goal was to bring PC gaming to the living room then making it so much like a PC is sure to turn off console gamers who already are not into PC gaming. Many console gamers see PC gaming as a huge load of hassle as well as being very expensive. And while it is important to note it is very early days, the Steam Box is sounding like it is going to have many of the same features that console gamers already do not like about PC gaming.
The Android system really is cool, but no doubt many gamers will still have thoughts of the Android based console the Ouya. However, it's fair to assume that a console from Google even if it was Android based would be far more powerful than what the Ouya offered. The problem with Android devices is that there are just so many different ones out there. Would Google take the Valve route and make different variations of the hardware, where some are more powerful than others? This again goes against what console gamers love about consoles. A game console should be a case of hooking it up and playing your games. No worrying about needed new hardware upgrades or anything like that. If Google where to use Android then they would need to try and just have one piece of hardware if they wanted to lure console gamers to their side.
Valve raised some eyebrows with the controller design for their Steam Box. Instead of having the standard analog sticks, D-pad and buttons they have gone for a weird two touchpad system on their controller. Now to be fair you really cannot pass judgment on a controller until you play it, but it certainly does look odd (or perhaps in many years to come revolutionary?). Google would have to get the controller right. Hopefully, rather than trying to be innovative for the sake of being innovative they would stick to the basics of what makes a good controller, the tried and tested method.
Make no mistake about it that Valve is a huge deal, but are they big enough that they can win over console gamers? No doubt many PC gamers will flock to the Steam Box. But will the regular console gamer who does not like hardware upgrades or who thinks PC's are too expensive still be put off and just see it as a PC you plug into your TV? Google really could be a dark horse with a console. With the right care and effort they could make something special, but taking any market share away from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo is going to be very hard.
One thing us as gamers have to ask ourselves is do we really have space under our TV's for two more game systems?
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