Gabe Newell Sees Apple TV as Threat to Living Room Gaming

Gabe Newell at the 2010 Game Developers Conference | Wikipedia

Gabe Newell at the 2010 Game Developers Conference | Wikipedia

Valve Co-founder and Software Engineer Gabe Newell sees Apple TV as more threatening than console giants Sony and Microsoft. During a talk at the University of Texas, he said that the growing presence of the Cupertino-based company has become a danger to the Steam Box.

Apparently, Newell is also attempting to create a new era of open-source gaming with the Steam Box project. This project is Valve’s upcoming Linux-based gaming platform that will provide user-generated content at an affordable price.

Market Shift towards Cheaper Hardware with PC Integration

According to Newell, Apple TV remains somewhat of a dark horse compared to Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox. However, he believes that the market is about to change. He sees a shift towards cheaper hardware that features PC integration.

The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles. I think the biggest challenge is that Apple’s moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.

Apple TV does not officially support gaming apps as of the moment, as it still lacks the necessary hardware such as the capable processor and traditional controller to effectively run such software.

However, it is expected that Apple will release a redesigned set-top streamer soon. The said tweaked Apple TV will feature a Broadcom wireless chip that supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. There were also reports that an A5X SoC was included in the hardware to boost performance.

The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform. I think that there’s a scenario where we see soft 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?

In relation to this, companies are trying to make that jump with the PC platform need to sell the strengths of their hardware to find a place in the living room. According to Newell, factors like increased hard drive space, customizable form factors, as well as the ability to use hardware that consumers may already own will emerge.

There are going to be a huge set of products that say, “If you want something that’s incredibly cheap, at a prince point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you’re going to take advantage of the PC that’s running somewhere in your house”.

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