Ever since #Valve announced its three-tier approach to bringing PC gaming to the living room — Steam OS, the #SteamMachine, and the Steam Controller — people have been divided on whether or not it’s a sound idea. #JohnCarmack , a man who changed the face of PC #gaming at #IdSoftware, thinks the Steam Machine’s odds of succeeding are “a bit dicey.”
Once upon a time, Carmack — though regularly heralded as a PC gaming genius and visionary to this day — thought Valve’s digitial distribution platform, Steam, wasn’t the greatest of ideas. He points that out himself, but maintains that despite his previously incorrect prediction regarding one of Valve’s ambitious ideas, the Steam Machine still won’t be an instant hit. Rather than think the Steam Machine will travel down a rocky path because it’s basically just a regular PC, or because Valve has gone a little crazy, Carmack feels the biggest hurdle the Steam Machine faces is Linux.
Speaking at Nvidia’s Montreal conference, Carmack noted that trying to force PC gaming over to Linux seems a bit crazy. Pushing developers to also develop a Linux port — or even crazier, to develop games with Linux as the main platform — is certainly asking a lot, and seems more like Valve is betting on its pedigree alone to pull developers over to aubergine color schemes and penguin logos. Though Carmack has been wrong about Valve in the past (and is fully aware of that), he’s not the only high-profile games developer that feels the Steam Machine’s future is murky. Tim Sweeney, a founder of Epic Games, also can’t predict the Steam Machine’s success, saying the open gaming platform is an interesting concept and could at least pave the way for more open gaming console standards in the future.
Sweeney does have a point: The dominant gaming consoles for the next decade or so appear to be the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and considering how poor Android gaming devices have been received, the dominant mobile gaming platform will likely continue to be iOS. Apple’s mobile OS is notorious for being tightly closed, and while Sony has scooped up a ton of popular indie developers and Microsoft has corrected its indie game self-publishing policy, those two platforms are much more locked down than the wild wests of PC gaming and Linux. If developers truly feel the closed approach to gaming Sony, Microsoft, and Apple have taken is harmful to the industry, Valve’s open gaming console might pick up some steam.
However, as Carmack specifically noted, Linux might be the Steam Machine’s downfall — not because an optimized, specialized distro couldn’t handle games well, but because developers may not flock to the platform. As it is, thanks to Steam, PC gaming on Windows (and to a lesser degree, OS X) has experienced a recent surge in popularity, so even if Valve’s Steam Machine makes development easy enough for Linux, the time-versus-reward may just not be there for developers to focus on a tiny fraction of the PC gaming market.
Reblogged from: extremetech.com