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skippy's picture
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Alienware Steam box

Actually thought it was a streamer, but it's a gaming machine.

Apologies if it's already been posted

http://www.alienware.com/Landings/steammachine/

 

professorhat's picture
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RE: Alienware Steam box

Yes, Valve have licensed this so that different manufacturers can make different Steam machines. The idea I think is to try and put PC gaming in the living room and give the normal consoles a run for their money. The fact that these come in different specs though means that all Steam machines are not equal (rather like PCs), and therefore there's no level playing field i.e. in terms of people with better spec'ed Steam machines having an advantage over those with lower specs due to increased response times and the like. Also, I don't see how they can guarantee that "Steam" games will always work on all Steam machines, unless they force developers to develop for the lower common denominator - something I don't think they would do.

I'm not honestly sure who will buy one of these - I'm sure there is a small market, but I don't know why PC gamers would buy one (since they would surely just use their PC), and I don't think console gamers would want one since they're not really serving what a console gamer wants i.e. the simplicity of knowing you buy the console and you'll then be able to buy any game for it for its entire lifetime, knowing it will work okay and that every other console gamer has the same experience.

 

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landzw's picture
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RE: Alienware Steam box

It doesn't matter what spec the machine is professorhat it is still a level playing field the only difference is the quality of graphics, the responce time and lag etc will all be dictated by the internet connection just in the same way as all pc gaming, the actual game play is all equal regardless even if you compare a £600 pc to a £2000 pc , though things like loading may take a little longer.

I am also not sure who would buy one unless you don't have a pc and you want more of a pc gaming experiance though the costs are the same as pc's so why would you buy one? i guess they will have to come up with games that are only exclusive to a steam box.

 

professorhat's picture
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RE: Alienware Steam box

I'll admit I'm not a specialist in PC gaming, but my understanding was there is such as thing as "graphics lag". This happens whereby too much action occurs all at the same time within a game and your hardware is unable to render the graphics, resulting in a slowdown in frames per second and thus making it difficult to see what's going on. If the person you're fighting against has a faster PC, they don't experience this slowdown, and therefore see all the action, giving them time to see where you are and shoot you (or whatever is the equivalent in the game you're playing). By the time your PC has caught up, you're dead, and you didn't even see it. A quick google showed up this which seems to go into the problem (although obviously, being a graphics card manufacturer, I would take the importance of what they say with a pinch of salt).

I've experienced this on the original PS2 - the difference was, since it was the same hardware, it affected everyone at some point and was pot luck. With PCs of course, everyone doesn't have the same hardware, therefore giving the edge (albeit admitedly not a major edge) to those who have more powerful kit.

I'm not saying other forms of lag don't exist - I suspect internet connection and latency are far more important factors, but I'm pretty sure I'm not wrong in the fact that the above can have an effect sometimes.

If this is all bull, feel free to correct me, but it's certainly logical from what I can tell.

However, my second point about ensuring games run on all Steam machines seems like a much more likely issue for those who buy the cheaper, lower spec Steam machines, and one that would concern me.

 

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RE: Alienware Steam box

The point is that one would have access to a very respectable library of games at very competitive prices in the lounge, on the big screen, without the need for an expensive PC.

 

Steam has regular sales and one can grab some of the latest and greatest games for 66-75% off.

 

Besides with a Steam console you have access to your whole library of already purchased Steam games while with one of the new XBox/PS you are at the mercy of Sony/Microsoft and in some cases you will  have to re-buy your favourite titles in a compatible format if they will be compatible at all. 

 

 

professorhat's picture
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RE: Alienware Steam box

I understand the concept, I just don't know who would actually buy one. PC gamers already have access to this library of games through their PC, so the Steam box is an additional expense to them just so they can play these games in their living room. I'm sure some PC gamers will buy it just for this, but I also suspect they're in a very small minority. And console gamers are generally after something else (as indicated in my first post). Given I can't find any sales figures for any of the boxes, I suspect this means they're not selling particularly well at this stage - good sales figures are normally announced fairly frequently to make the point and drive sales further.

If Valve had come out with their own hardware (even if someone else had actually built it, in the same way Google get Asus and LG to build their tablets and phones) and said, this is the Steam machine - there's only one kind, it's all the same spec, it'll be supported by us for x number of years and it'll be guaranteed games will be available to play on it for all that time, then Sony and Microsoft might have had some competition on their hands. As it is, it just reminds me of the 3DO back in yesteryear, and that didn't work out too well at all... 

 

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RE: Alienware Steam box

Half Life 3 would be the ultimate exclusive.

With a good OS and plenty of games/apps this could be great for the living room.

I'm sure it will outperform consoles and Blu Ray players in terms of media capabilities.

landzw's picture
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RE: Alienware Steam box

You are correct professor though you can just turn down the graphics setting in pc's unlike console, you will have as standard low, medium, high and ultra settings and then you will also be able to change everything from things like shadows to how real the water looks

So its only when you have settings too high then you run into problems but most games come with an graphics auto detect setting which resolves this issue. 

Still at the end of the day day the game should play the same.

Not sure myself how well the games will play on the big screen but i am interested to see and that gamepad is going to take getting use too.

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