Steam and nvidia Join the Party
So steam along with Nvidia have joined the console market, one must ask is it really appropriate for them to join the market with what they are going to provide?
so lets break this down into different parts and talk about the individual parties and what they will be providing.
Lets start with Steam and “Piston”
Firstly as great as the concept is for allowing their consumers to hook up their console to their TV, wait there a moment.
Its already been done with other consoles like Playstation, Xbox 360 and all other Game Manufacturers out there, so this seems a lot like Onlive with their on demand service of streaming games to their console or through the PC.
Now most websites are predicting that this will harm Game manufacturers, this is utterly nonsense as proven by how badly Onlive have done and back then leading industry figures were bragging about how this technology would change the face of gaming and to be frank that was the worst test of judgment I have seen or read.
As Most people who play Games on steam, I have a accustomed to building my PC to last a long time and to be able to upgrade the components to run the latest games which are launched to their maximum performance.
Now with Piston it would just be like any other console, apart from lacking the optical bays
it does have the advantage of being upgradable with the latest parts, Steam have also made it so you can send your older working parts back when upgrading to get some credit in return to use on purchases.
Unlike Onlive which was a on demand PC gaming which you basically rented the games for life (Well while it was being streamed)
the Steam Piston Stores your games on its hard drive allowing you to play from the console in which are from your steam library.
So it’s a shrunk down version of a PC and its more aimed at casual gamers and not really at us hardcore gamers which like Performance and power.
Now we know the casual Gamers like social games which are interactive and pretty much laid back and easy to play, something that can be done in groups.
This is where I see the problem with Piston.
* Majority of Steam users who purchase through steam do so in Bulk during steam sales, so accumulate a vast library which can run into hundreds or even couple of terabytes of data storage,
now you can argue that they can always uninstall and install games they want to play, which is a fair point.
*As the steam console is upgradable and is as I said from my view mostly aimed at Casual gamers,
I find it hard to see anyone that just plays casually taking the Piston apart and upgrading it.
*Its aimed at the wrong market, I say this as the market has been flooded with consoles over the years and as a company Steam should stick with what it is good at, this is selling games through its portal to end users.
I don’t mean to be that person, but I don’t see this as a viable console which will replace the consoles on the market which already cover almost all areas for casual gaming.
*The only people I can see purchasing this console are those that would like the ability to take their gaming from their Bedrooms, Office to the Living room.
One thing that I really hope they have sorted for people who purchase this is the licensing of games, as the account will need to verified each time a user signs into a different place,
Hopefully they will have a system in place where you can have different consoles assigned to your account.
This would get rid of having to verify yourself each time you sign into your PC or your Piston.
So end of the Day it’s something I wouldn’t really purchase and for the following reasons
*Lack of Hard drive space
*Lack of Power
*Lack of Optical Bays (not that big deal as serial can be used to obtain game)
*Aimed at wrong Market
*its small for what it provides
*Allows Users to play their steam Library other then PC
And Now we come to Project Shield
Nvidia entrance to the Gaming Market.
Now we all know Nvidia as the giant which provides companies and users with Graphics cards which allow us to even play the games we have on hard drives.
Now one must ask is why? why would they enter a market which they practically run with their high end graphics cards.
Their entrance is a handheld device with the most Powerful portable Chip on the market, the TEGRA 4 (Custom 72-core NVIDIA GeForce® GPUQuad-core A15 CPU)
Its designed what looks like a Xbox 360 controller with a small monitor stuck on, which is quite a good thing from one point of view as the 360 controller is pretty much sweet and most comfortable to use.
The Screen is touch screen and the console itself is android, which means it’s pretty much an open system allowing more applications to be released for it, Game wise I am sceptical as I don’t see many Major gaming industry leading designers and producers making Games for the Android platform as they make their Bread and butter from companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
So at the end of the day I can only see Indi developers mostly releasing games for this console, only when it and that’s a Big If, it Lifts off and they get the audience and people take this console seriously do I see the Big Boys on the block coming along and producing Titles which are compatible with this console or solely for this console.
As a Handheld console the shield looks pretty sweet but as mentioned before it is entering a Market filled with Handheld consoles and even they are being replaced by Mobile phones like the Galaxy and Iphone as they can pretty much can be used as handheld games consoles as they are getting more powerful as the time passes, and in most cases pack more power and performance then the consoles themselves.
One reason I am sceptical about Nvidia coming into this market as a company which deals in components, I find it hard to believe they will do any better than the current leading Industry leaders in Handheld consoles who are losing ground to the rise of Free Mobile Games and the Use of mobiles as handheld consoles.
At the End of the day we have two great companies which specialize in different fields and provide different services to the end consumer.
They both have crossed this path and come into the same industry which is already flooded and suffering from decline due to tough competition and fall in sales.
So the Main Question or Questions must be asked
*How do they expect to Sell these devices on already flooded Market.
*How do they expect to survive against established companies which are struggling themselves with falling Sales.