Tag Archives: game console

New Steam Controller replaces touchscreen with analog face buttons

New Steam Controller look and button layout

Valve revealed the rest of the #details for its new steam controller Friday, a few months after the company released a digital sketch Ars Technica reported.

“The latest version refines #ergonomic aspects of the Controller by adding two diamond-patterned button #layouts in the area previously designated for a touch screen display,” Valve told Ars Technia. “These analog buttons are offered in addition to the touch pads featured in the original prototypes.”

The Steam Machine is compatible with Valve’s Linux SteamOS operating system, and is considered the company’s initial big push to separate from Windows, the main system for playing computer games, on operating systems Venture Beat reported Dec. 1.

The machine has 16 gigabytes of random access memory, 12 by 12.4 by 2.9 in measurements, and a power supply of 450 watt 80 plus gold.

The updated image has individual buttons users that allow users to go to two different areas when playing video games on the device Ars Technica reported. The new arrangement has four buttons with either the letter X, Y, A, or B located on the right side of the controller that resembles one that comes with Microsoft Xbox 360’s game console in color and design Ars Technica reported.

There are now also two controls on the upper center part of the device, which before just had a touchscreen. The new options have signs for when gamers to stop something, or play it.

The controller, which Valve plans to put in all Steam Machine boxes, and individually will be on display during the Game Developers Conference Monday through Thursday Ars Technica reported.

Three hundred gamers tried out Valve’s game console in December according to a previous report from Cinema and Gaming Blend.

Several businesses were then scheduled to unveil a variety of set-top boxes Venture Beat reported.

Reblogged from: franchiseherald.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title=

Connect the dots: Valve’s Big Picture could be a Linux game console

How Valve could steal the thunder from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo

By Sean Hollister

Valve’s Big Picture could be a Linux game console
The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii are nearing their end. As powerful as they have been in the living room, gamers want more. They want better graphics, new user experiences, and more mobility, as much as those things can be at odds with one another. A new wave of game consoles is rising to meet some of those challenges, but perhaps not all: the Nintendo Wii U doesn’t seem to be that much more powerful than an Xbox 360, and the next Xbox and PlayStation are rumored to use what amounts to mid-range PC hardware in order to save costs.

Meanwhile, PCs haven’t stood still. There’s never been a better time to build a gaming PC, thanks to cheaper components and the amazing catalog of inexpensive games you can find on digital distribution platforms. I say “digital distribution platforms” because I don’t want to be unfair to the likes of Origin, Impulse, and Good Old Games, but I’m really talking about Valve Software’s Steam, which has steadily become a juggernaut of gaming. Steam now has 50 million users, of which five million are simultaneously active at the peak of any given day. Xbox Live has somewhere north of 40 million subscribers, by comparison. Admittedly, you don’t have to pay $50 a year for a Steam account, and both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have each sold about 70 million units in total, but it sounds like Steam could also have the audience of a game console.

With Big Picture Mode, Valve’s designing specifically for your TV

Now, Valve’s trying to give Steam the leanback experience of a game console, too. With Big Picture Mode, a new feature in the latest Steam beta release, Valve’s adding an interface designed specifically for your TV. The company is also actually building game controllers in its labs, and has already produced three different prototypes. Theoretically, you could simply run an HDMI cable from your desktop or laptop to a TV (something that was rather difficult a number of years ago), flop down on your comfortable couch with a controller and play your favorite titles.

But Big Picture Mode isn’t enough to turn Steam into a game console, because it doesn’t own the platform. Steam currently runs on Windows and Mac, both of which are becoming closed ecosystems with built-in app stores… app stores which also include games. Not only is Valve beholden to its competitors in terms of the way Windows and Mac evolve, but the traditional Steam business may also be at stake. When a game developer can offer their games directly through the Windows Store or Mac App Store that’s built into every new computer, why go with Steam?

When a developer can offer their games through a store that’s built into every new computer, why go with Steam?

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is calling Windows 8 a “catastrophe.” Perhaps that’s why Valve is building Steam for Linux.

Earlier this month, Valve opened up a beta of Steam for Linux to 1,000 lucky users. Valve didn’t do it quite alone: the company enlisted the support of Nvidia to write Linux drivers, and is working with Intel and AMD as well. According to the company, Valve’s own games are running faster on Linux than on Windows right now. Still, getting gamers — and game developers — to switch to Ubuntu might be hard.

But what if Ubuntu Linux wasn’t the target here?

What if instead, Valve was building its own Linux-based operating system? You could call it Steam OS. Rock Paper Shotgun‘s John Walker proposed the idea a few months back, and it makes sense. Valve could take the same approach that Google took with Android by licensing the operating system to hardware manufacturers, and create a new platform in the process. Perhaps the Amazon Kindle Fire makes for a better analogy: where Amazon crafted a lightweight, purpose-built system that revolves around shopping, Steam OS could revolve around games.

When you buy a PC game, there’s no guarantee that it will work

And one of the things that Valve might ask of its licensees is a minimum hardware spec. In March, we reported that Valve was working on a “Steam Box,” a prototype for a hardware baseline that manufacturers like Alienware would follow in order to be part of the program. One of the problems that has dogged PC gaming for years is that the hardware is always a moving target, one that’s difficult for game developers to hit. When you buy a PC game, there’s no guarantee that it will work, or work well. Game consoles, on the other hand, have a fixed spec that’s easy to build for and guarantees proper playback. An organization known as the PC Gaming Alliance once promised to solve the issue by instituting a baseline spec that would be updated every few years, and we’ve heard that Valve may pursue the same idea.

You know what else attracts developers? Crazy tools to develop for, and a store that promises to help them profit from their work. Valve is already hard at work on the first: in addition to game controllers, the company’s prototyping virtual reality headsets. Leaks suggest that the next-gen Source Engine 2 is on the way, and it’s probably a safe bet that it will support Linux. Meanwhile, the company’s also experimenting with a program called Steam Greenlight that has the community vote to publish indie games on Steam, possibly attracting innovative, desirable diamonds in the rough that would otherwise appear first on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade.

The viability of a Steam store on Linux would depend on how many gamers Steam attracts, but Valve has additional ways to help bring them on board. When the company first launched Steam in 2003, the gaming community didn’t embrace it right away. When Valve made Steam the best, quickest way to get the hotly anticipated Half-Life 2, though, the platform picked up speed. Now, Valve has a whole set of potential sequels that could convince gamers to try Linux, including Half-Life 3 (or perhaps Half-Life 2: Episode 3), Portal 3, Team Fortress 3, Left 4 Dead 3 and perhaps an eventual Dota 3 as well. And don’t forget that Steam isn’t limited to games anymore.

Don’t forget that Steam isn’t limited to games anymore

Recently it’s come to light that there are all kinds of experiments going on at Valve. Because the company doesn’t have a traditional chain of command, employees can propose whatever project they want, and assemble their peers to work on it. In order to be sure that Linux support wasn’t just an experiment, I asked Valve’s Anna Sweet to tell me a bit about the project. The response was heartening. She said that they “believe Linux offers another destination for Steam games and services,” and that “Linux is a logical next step as it offers an open environment for development.” While she couldn’t tell me how big the Linux team was, she said that it is growing. She also confirmed that the Linux beta won’t be limited to 1,000 people for long. “The goal is to add, test, refine, and repeat until everyone is in,” she told me.

Would Valve consider making any games exclusive to Linux? “Never say never. But we generally try to bring our games and services to as many as people as we can and, in some cases, as the design fits with the platform,” she said.

Certainly, it would be a little out of character for Valve to put all its eggs in one basket, and Newell has been adamant that a closed console platform isn’t the way to go. But Valve and PC gaming itself could benefit from just the right amount of control.

If Valve can own the software and hardware stack with Steam OS and the Steam Box, it will be able to offer a single platform with better specs, a dedicated fanbase, intriguing new hardware, games that just work, and proven delivery mechanisms that get gamers to buy and buy often. If Valve pulls it off, it could be enough to win the living room from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

Reblogged from: theverge.com

”linux-game-gaming-gamer-news” title="Linux Game Gaming News

EA 4th Generation Games Console on the Way: $80 Million Investment

There could be a trade-off with Linux.

Electronic Arts are looking to branch out of being a pure gaming software company. They now want to be a major player in the hardware market, by investing heavily in their own 4th generation console, which will make them the fourth major player. They are doing this, as they see the console market as being a strong growth area. The other three major players are Microsoft (Xbox 360), Sony (PlayStation 3) and Nintendo (Wii).

To achieve this, EA CEO John Riccitiello made a prepared statement that his company will be investing $80 million to develop a competing console, “We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013. We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan.” Note that EA are not fazed by the drop in retail sales of boxed games, because online services such as Steam are taking off, making this a strong growth area.

This ties in with previous news that EA are to start making games for Linux. This makes even more sense for consoles, because their new console will need an operating system and by using Linux they avoid licensing fees that a proprietary OS like Microsoft’s Windows would demand.

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Of course, with the top AAA titles exceeding $80 million in overall development costs for a title, the $80 million commitment may not actually translate into very many next-gen titles. EA would not go into detail about the platforms, the number of titles or when we might expect them.

When EA is ready to dive fully into next-gen development, Epic Games would love to “help” them. We observed a tweet from Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski regarding EA and next-gen titles: “We have just the engine for them!” Bleszinski is no doubt referring to Unreal Engine 4, which was already being demonstrated to some developers behind closed doors back at GDC.

So what good news do you think this potential union could bring to Linux?

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Commodore’s New Gaming PCs Will Transport You Back to the 80s

There was a rumor back in 2010 that Commodore was planning to relaunch the Amiga. Now the retro computer brand has gone and done it, launching this high-end, small form factor gaming PC—as well as a new reissue of its classic C64.

OK, so it looks like a fairly hideous reworking of a Mac Mini. But, but… it’s an Amiga! Shadow of the Beast and Lemmings will never have looked as good. Commodore has managed to squeeze a 3.5GHz Sandy Bridge Core i7 CPU, a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 GPU, 16GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, and a 1TB hard drive into its shiny little aluminum case.

The best—or weirdest—bit is that the thing actually runs a Linux-based Commodore OS called Vision, which includes remakes of classic Commodore software. At $2495, despite it’s novelty, I can’t imagine too many being sold.

Commodore has also launched a new reissue of the C64, called the C64x Supreme. It packs a 2.13GHz Dual Core Intel Atom CPU, 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 graphics card, 1TB hard drive, and 4GB of RAM. Starting at $1295, it’s also a bit of stretch. But with both computers, you’re buying into a retro brand as much as you are a user experience. The new models ship in 4-6 weeks. [Commodore]

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