September 26, 2013

Generation 8 Will Be the Final Console Generation for Gaming

With Sony's announcement that they want to do more with Gaikai and make it available on other devices (that are not Sony's), coupled with Valve's announcement of its brand new SteamOS- it's not hard to figure out where gaming is headed.

We could be on the cusp of a revolution in video games.

Valve's SteamOS will be free and is based on Linux. It can be installed fresh on any custom machine- and just for the console gamers who don't want to be involved with computers- which is a sort of oxymoron since consoles are specialized computers- Valve will be releasing the Steam Box- a sort of console/computer that will run the SteamOS and allow you to play games made available through Steam. If Steam keeps its current policies- that means you can play offline too in the event of an internet service outage.

Steam is known for a fantastic selection of games from many developers who have some control over their prices. Additionally, older games are made cheaper and most titles are featured in some kind of special sale. In short, Valve is now rolling around in dough. Coupled with the Steam Workshop, many games will have custom add-ons that can probably be downloaded on the Steam Box (HINT: I am making a guess!). What's more- if I wanted to stream within my network from my computer to a set box which is connected to my TV- I might be able to do that.

Steam has been doing fairly well with PC Gaming- and they have been making strides to make your purchased games tradeable. One could argue that Steam is getting into the console market- but it is not. "Boxes" will be built that will run Linux and the OS yes, but those parts will be upgradeable for the future, and Valve has plans on making systems modular. So 10 years down the road if I want my Steam Box to play a new game that it can't handle, I can go out and buy a boxed graphics card as an upgrade, go home, take the old one out, put the new one in, recycle the old one, and wallah.

If console gamers bitch right now that taking hardware out to be replaced is too hard or inconvenient, especially if you are sliding one thing in and another out, you are cordially invited to get off this blog. In effect, you get a "box" that is upgradeable at certain points in the future instead of buying a completely new system and a new OS. And HEY! that new card you put in the box? it will play all of those older steam games too.

My god. o____o

These "boxes" sound an awful lot like a PERSONAL COMPUTER. That's because that's exactly what they are- just streamlined, made modular and running the Linux OS. I am sure in time the SteamOS will be able to play DVDs and internet browse, etc etc.

One OS to end them all, so to speak. This is why Sony has been moving forward with Gaikai and making their games available to a broader range of hardware- from phones to tablets and maybe to PCs. Console manufacturing can be a risky business when it comes to costs- and I am sure they won't mind focusing more attention on making better games and new IPs. It would be silly for SteamOS to not work on a range of hardware as well- and I am sure the intelligent folks at Valve already know that.

If Gaikai (which is streaming; SteamOS would probably be download) is moving and I can play it on my PC? game over for consoles. Game over. This leaves the ball in Nintendo and Microsoft's court. Do or die. Because competitive pricing (for the love of Heyzoos Kristobel I hope there isn't price fixing among platforms- Valve is known for cock blocking that) will spur growth in the market- with the addition of buttloads of potential DLC, streaming of retro games, etc- we could see a new golden age in gaming.

So what about intrusive DRM? If the OS companies and publishers give me more control over my purchased product and offer fair prices after time has passed, and/or allow me to trade my digital copy to another account, and keep up with a good Steam model- then I can accept that. But what has been going on for years- the constant authentication, the kinect 2.0 always listening and watching; the logins and accounts, cut that shit out but leave buying the game through the new OS in. Give me control over my product, but enough control in your hands to prevent piracy. You happy, I is happy. No more big brother; no more remembering log-in IDs, no more downloading distribution platforms for each and every developer. Let the OS platform handle it. Let the OS platform worry about becoming a name brand for video games- and the people will come- and they will browse- for good deals.

As long as gamers tell Microsoft and their constant online authentication to fuck off.

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