I have heard some philosophers claim that the laws of entropy in chemistry – which dictates that all matter progresses towards a state of perfect thermodynamic equilibrium, in which matter and energy is evenly distributed – also applies to everything else in life. Some say this is evidence that the ultimate state of the universe is chaos and disorder, and all attempts to enforce an arbitrary system of order is futile and pointless, such as only having three major console manufacturers, if you get where I am going.
Thus, at least there is some evidence that would support the claim of universal entropy in the gaming industry, namely Valve developing a new gaming console that is not complete shit, to counterbalance Sony’s and Microsoft’s virtually identical gaming aparatus’ hegemonic market position, and quite possibly the continued existence of EA, which itself sits on the gaming industry like a concrete bowling ball on a rubber sheet, dragging affiliates and developers in its stinky, irresistible field of gravity. A brief sparkle of reliable service and regular seasonal sales, in a bleak and oppressive industry otherwise weighed down under dubious business practices, complete disrespect for the end-user and depressing, blatant, neocapitalist micro-transaction greed.
Nah, Valve’s console, Steam Machine, looks pretty awesome so far, and according to the Steam Website, is already moving into hardware beta. It’s announced to feature several hardware configurations and remain fully customisable with individual PC components, and set to run a Linux-based SteamOS. It’s also announced to feature a Steam Controller, that does apparently leaves out the PS/XBOX-style knobs, in favor of two track pads.
After reading two articles half-way and using fanboy intuition and shameless extrapolation to deduce the remaining content, I’m already exited as fuck about this. The last generation of consoles with Nintendo Wii, XBOX 360 and PS3 was a very well rounded and functional generation, which preppy much overshadowed PC gaming for almost ten years, but based on what we’ve seen so far, the current generation has stagnated to a gridlock, where all the consoles, and quite a good proportion of the big titles are heading towards a completely homogenized mass. This all heading to a grim point where all gaming fuses into some quantum event that punches a hole in space-time, and a message pops out telling you to get your credit card out and buy more DLC and seasonal passes.
The Steam Machine could not only be a big contender on the market, bridging the gap between the sinking ship of HMS Console Gaming and the impenetrable, pricey fortress of the PC Gaming Master Race, but virtually dominate it. Being a flexible console on both terms of software and hardware for developers, as well as offering very decent prices on the actual bloody games, could seriously turn the tables in Valve’s favor and leave the rigid, cumbersome monsters of current industry leaders in the shit, who have so far been free to plaster their walls with money and spend their afternoons thinking up new ways of being a dick about things.
Based on what could be told at this time the price tag might waver around $500 or less, setting it around the same sort of level as Xbox One and the PS4.
If this console is really all set and ready to come out in Summer 2014, I will be genuinely surprised. The schedule and concept seem somewhat ambitious, but hopefully realistic, because I will be the first in line to throw my money at this machine. So far it looks better than a robot prostitute that dispenses money, chocolate and cats, and I promise to never do another ‘Half-Life 3 confirmed’ joke if this system delivers. But then again, I also lie compulsively. Hope they’re going to have a companion cube chassis special edition…