CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES
So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.
Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.
Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.
The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,
The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.
This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?
The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!
A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.
Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2012 - 01:47 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: valve, steambox, Steam Box, steam, htpc, gaben, Gabe Newell, big picture mode
Well it finally happened this week - Gabe Newell confirmed what we all assumed was going to happen - a Valve software branded and controlled PC for gaming and computing in the living room. We first started grumbling about the "Steam Box" back in March at GDC when Valve announced the Big Picture Mode for Steam and rumors of the hardware platform first began. The next moth, Valve's Doug Lombardi denied the rumors but fell short of saying it wouldn't happen in the future. In September the Big Picture Mode for Steam went into beta bringing the Steam interface into the world of TVs and 10-ft design, followed this year with the full release.
And let's not forget the Linux client beta currently on-going as well as the capability to buy non-gaming software on Steam. Valve has been a busy PC company.
Big Picture Mode was the first necessary step
Based on an interview with Gabe at Kotaku, there are a surprising amount of details about the hardware goals that Valve will set for the "Steam Box" in addition to the simple confirmation that it is a currently running project.
He also expects companies to start selling PC packages for living rooms next year—setups that could consist of computers designed to be hooked up to your TV and run Steam right out of the gate.
HTPC builders have been making "Steam Box" computers for some time...
Interestingly, Valve is saying its contribution will be more tightly controlled than we might have thought:
"Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," he said. "If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room.
No time tables were discussed and we are left once again with just a hint of what is to come. I think its pretty obvious based on the direction Valve is going that we are going to see a Linux-based small form factor PC with Steam pre-installed available for consumers in 2013. If Valve starts pushing Linux support as hard as we expect it could mean quite a bit of trauma is ahead for Microsoft in the enthusiast community, one that is already reeling from the problems with Windows 8.
If you were to potentially add to the "Steam Box" a pre-configuration tool like NVIDIA's GeForce Experience that sets game options based on your hardware for you, the PC could easily turn into a solution that is nearly as simple as the console for gamers. And because Steam is already accepting non-games, it won't take much for there to be Netflix and Amazon apps in addition to anything else you currently have running on HTPCs or tablets.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 20, 2012 - 08:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, piracy, Gabe Newell
Ben Kuchera of Penny Arcade caught an interview with Valve Software’s managing director and co-founder, Gabe Newell. The topics were quite typical for a Gabe Newell interview and involve working at Valve, the future of gaming, and DRM. Gabe also joined the beard club; welcome Gabe!
Photo Credit: Giant Bomb
A little over halfway through the interview, Penny Arcade asked Gabe whether they believe that they sidestepped the problems of used games and piracy with Steam. Gabe instead responded to the premise of the question, rather than the question itself:
You know, I get fairly frustrated when I hear how the issue is framed in a lot of cases. To us it seems pretty obvious that people always want to treat it as a pricing issue, that people are doing this because they can get it for free and so we just need to create these draconian DRM systems or ani-piracy(sic) systems, and that just really doesn’t match up with the data.
This quote echoes a problem I have had with the piracy discussion for quite some time. The main problem with the concept of piracy is that people wish to frame it in a context that seems intuitive to them rather than experiment to discover what actually occurs. Piracy is seen as a problem which must be controlled. This logic is fundamentally flawed because piracy is not itself a problem but rather a measurement of potential problems.
Gabe continues with an anecdote of a discussion between a company who used third-party DRM for their title and himself:
Recently I was in a meeting and there’s a company that had a third party DRM solution and we showed them look, this is what happens, at this point in your life cycle your DRM got hacked, right? Now let’s look at the data, did your sales change at all? No, your sales didn’t change one bit. Right? So here’s before and after, here’s where you have DRM that annoys your customers and causing huge numbers of support calls and in theory you would think that you would see a huge drop off in sales after that got hacked, and instead there was absolutely no difference in sales before or after. You know, and then we tell them you actually probably lost a whole bunch of sales as near as we can tell, here’s how much money you lost by bundling that with your product.
Gabe highlights what a business should actually be concerned with: increasing your measurement of revenue and profits, rather than decreasing your measurement of piracy. You as a company could simply not develop products and completely kill piracy, but that would also entirely kill your revenue as you would have nothing to gain revenue from.
Before we begin to discuss piracy, the very first step is that we need to frame it as what it really is: a measurement. While violating terms of a license agreement is in fact wrong, if you focus your business on what is right or wrong you will go broke.
If you believe that there is value in preventing non-paying users from using your product then you will only hurt yourself (and if SOPA/PIPA taught us anything, innocent adjacent companies). It is possible that the factors which contribute to piracy also contribute to your revenue positively as well as potentially negatively. It is also entirely possible that increased piracy could be a measurement of a much bigger problem: your business practices.
You know, it’s a really bad idea to start off on the assumption that your customers are on the other side of some sort of battle with you. I really don’t think that is either accurate or a really good business strategy ((…)) we’ve run all of these experiments, you know, this has been going on for many years now and we all can look at what the outcomes are and there really isn’t – there are lots of compelling instances where making customers – you know, giving customers a great experience and thinking of ways to create value for them is way more important than making it incredibly hard for the customers to move their products from one machine to another.