3 March 2012

Steam in a box?

As you’ve noticed from my postings about Apple, I don’t believe in locked-down hardware. People have asked me what I do about video game consoles. My answer is that I buy them, even though they are locked down, because there’s no good alternative. Yes, there’s PC gaming, but then you’re financially supporting the Microsoft empire, and that’s even worse. Plus there are the endless DRM and driver problems, the software updates, the periodic reinstalls, and all the other things that make Windows miserable.

So I have a Wii and a PS3, until such time as someone makes a decent open console.

Now a new report claims that VALVe is planning an open console. This makes me very excited. Team Fortress 2, Portal and Portal 2 are some of my favorite games. (The original Half-Life was good too.)

There have been leaks suggesting Steam for Linux. I’m thinking those leaks are related to this Steam Box project. It wouldn’t make sense to require a full Windows license for every console and introduce DLL hell into console gaming; game programmers don’t want most of Windows anyway, they want access to the bare metal. It would make sense to have a standard Linux or BSD image to support Steam, and then provide direct access to a standard set of hardware components for the games themselves.

Anyhow, if VALVe does release a Windows-free open gaming console, I will definitely buy one. Even if it doesn’t come with a copy of Half-Life 3.

© mathew 2017