This year, the two worlds of PCs and Consoles will start to converge. Depending on how well Valve executes the Steam Box hardware and content roll out, it may happen almost overnight and with shocking speed.
Game consoles in the current generation (aside from the Wii-U) have been designed to prevent gamers from accessing their games and limit the power of their owners, however, the release of new, high powered, mobile gaming chips including Intel’s Haswell chip and NVidia’s Kepler may prove to be the tipping point into a new realm of high powered, console-like, PC’s.
Here are some laughable characteristics of the current crop of “hardcore” game consoles which leave them ripe for disruption:
- You can’t play games you bought for past console generations
- You must subscribe to nonsensical “services” in order to access features like internet browsers, Netflix, Hulu and online gameplay
- You cant / are limited (aka charged money) in your ability to share games with friends
- You cant play used games
- DRM is strictly enforced and requires an “always on” internet connection
- Indie game developers are suppressed or required to jump through onerous hurdles in order to publish or update games on these platforms
- There are limited integrations with mobile devices or limited streaming from computer or mobile tablet capabilities
- Games still cost $70
If the SimCity and Diablo III release debacles are not warning enough, the outcry against the XBox One release is the canary in the coal mine for what is about to happen to the console market: sudden death followed by soaring rebirth.
From what I have so far learned, the Steam Box will have all the positive aspects of PC gaming and none of the negative aspects of console gaming. In one word: Freedom.