Microsoft Exec: Valve is not a Console Competitor

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Microsoft Exec: Valve is not a Console Competitor

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Don Mattrick isn't concerned about the Steam Box, saying that other companies offer "richer" product offerings.

Valve's Steam Box prototypes are set for customer testing in about three to four months, which suggests that the company's initial entry into the console market is drawing near. However, Microsoft's head of Xbox is unfazed despite the buzz surrounding the Linux-based machine, saying that he doesn't consider Valve to be a competitor at this point in time.

Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, addressed Valve's upcoming console at this week's Microsoft TechForum during a discussion about the future strategy for Xbox. Even though he "loves Gabe" and acknowledged that Valve is pursuing some innovative avenues, he stated that Valve is no competition. "The scale of products and things that are being brought to market are probably a little bit richer when I look at Sony, Nintendo, Apple, and Google," he explained.

One of Steam's strengths is its considerable product catalog, with plenty of contributions by indie devs. When asked whether Microsoft would fully open the Xbox platform to third-party developers, Mattrick responded: "There's a certain level of technical and production competency that people have to get through because we're trying to curate great experiences.

"We're trying to make sure that what exists upon our service on our system is done to a quality level and has interest for people who are likely to use it," he said.

Earlier in the year, Newell claimed that Apple was the Steam Box's biggest threat instead, saying that "Apple rolls the console guys really easily" with its stream of market-disrupting devices.

Microsoft Studios exec Phil Harrison also spoke out on the Steam Box in January, cautioning Valve that the game hardware market is a tough business, and that any ventures necessitated "great fortitude", "deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet". We'll see if the Steam Box will be able to stake out a place in the living room soon enough.

Source: The Verge
Image: Steam

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that any ventures necessitated "great fortitude", "deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet".

Id say Valve has those. Gabe certainly is not a stranger to pushing into new markets, and i doubt the people behind Steam have much want for cash.

Timothy Chang:

Don Mattrick isn't concerned about the Steam Box, saying that other companies offer "richer" product offerings.

Well I sure as hell hope he isn't thinking of the Xbox when he says that. The Xbox is nothing more than a console of convenience. It is straightforward and allows to to just buy a game, get an online account, no fuss.

Beyond that it has nothing worthwhile to offer. Or rather, nothing uniquely worthwhile.

Well, at this stage, Valve isn't a competitor in the console market. They need to, you know, actually have a console available for people to purchase before they can claim to be a competitor.

A console that looks like it might actually concentrate on gaming rather than Netflix, ads and linking everything to social networks? I'm more interested in the Steam console than my 360 at the moment.

Legion:
Well I sure as hell hope he isn't thinking of the Xbox when he says that. The Xbox is nothing more than a console of convenience. It is straightforward and allows to to just buy a game, get an online account, no fuss.

There's a strong argument to be made that this is what the average consumer wants. I know it's why I own a 360, and will be buying the new Xbox rather than investing in a gaming PC, and I'm probably what the people who care about such things would call a hardcore gamer.

I'm a frequent gamer with enough of an investment in the hobby that I not only visit forums like this one but write articles for a different site about video games, and I prefer a straightforward no-fuss machine, so what do you think the average Joe Sixpack who is looking for nothing more than a way to play CoD or pass the time after work will prefer?

TimeLord:
A console that actually concentrates on gaming rather than Netflix, ads and linking everything to social networks? I'm more interested in the Steam console than my 360 at the moment.

no physical media on a steambox though

I dont know...it looks like the negatives of both without the benefits of eather

Timothy Chang:
"We're trying to make sure that what exists upon our service on our system is done to a quality level and has interest for people who are likely to use it," he said.

Sounds about right... Microsoft sure does concentrate on the games on their gaming platform.

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The only annoying thing about Steam in that way is the Facebook integration. They really, really didn't need to do that, much less promote it during their Sales events.

Good thing Microsoft is even asking for a Subscription for their "exceptional" services...

didn't sony say the same thing about the xbox?

TimeLord:
A console that looks like it might actually concentrate on gaming rather than Netflix, ads and linking everything to social networks?

I keep wondering if they realise that TVs are going to move to that focus, and that consoles that plug into TVs will always lose to TVs

SonicWaffle:

Legion:
Well I sure as hell hope he isn't thinking of the Xbox when he says that. The Xbox is nothing more than a console of convenience. It is straightforward and allows to to just buy a game, get an online account, no fuss.

There's a strong argument to be made that this is what the average consumer wants. I know it's why I own a 360, and will be buying the new Xbox rather than investing in a gaming PC, and I'm probably what the people who care about such things would call a hardcore gamer.

I'm a frequent gamer with enough of an investment in the hobby that I not only visit forums like this one but write articles for a different site about video games, and I prefer a straightforward no-fuss machine, so what do you think the average Joe Sixpack who is looking for nothing more than a way to play CoD or pass the time after work will prefer?

I don't disagree. Personally unless the PC version has a lot of mods available, or works better using a mouse (strategy games for example), I prefer to buy a console version because it's so much simpler. Put the disc in, wait for 20 second and straight into the game.

The point I was making is that Microsoft do not offer a quality product, they just offer a convenient one, that doesn't really have any better alternative. The PS3 after all is more or less the same thing except the controller and a few different exclusives. Which one you own is often more down to what one your friends have than anything special about the consoles themselves.

Microsoft on the other hand, are trying to act like their sales are down to them doing something right, as opposed to other people simply not doing better.

The steam box has interesting launch titles that aren't just current gen remakes/sequels.
I think I know now which of the current (and also last) gen consoles I'm gonna buy when I need to choose.

EDIT: yeah it's overgeneralized, but still, just look at how convenient a steam box will be compared to xbox or ps3 D:

"great fortitude", "deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet".

Looks at the 9 year old Steam juggernaut.

I think they have those covered Mr Exec.

gigastar:

that any ventures necessitated "great fortitude", "deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet".

Id say Valve has those. Gabe certainly is not a stranger to pushing into new markets, and i doubt the people behind Steam have much want for cash.

Valve is small compared to the console kings. The market values Sony at $ 162 billion, Microsoft at $66 billion and the estimate of value of valve comes in at $5 billion. The big boy already have world wide physical distribution networks setup, Valve use EA to distribute physical media.

TimeLord:
A console that looks like it might actually concentrate on gaming rather than Netflix, ads and linking everything to social networks? I'm more interested in the Steam console than my 360 at the moment.

You missed the big question is the console bigger on the inside than the outside?

It'll be interesting to see how the Steam Box does affect the market. It'll be pretty fun, I think. ;D

I guess the real comedy here is that Microsoft isn't a competitor in the PC game industry with their god awful Games for Windows Live despite numerous reboots.

Snotnarok:
I guess the real comedy here is that Microsoft isn't a competitor in the PC game industry with their god awful Games for Windows Live despite numerous reboots.

It's like Steam kicked them out of their ancestral home and Microsoft are still saying "They won't find us here!"

albino boo:

gigastar:

that any ventures necessitated "great fortitude", "deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet".

Id say Valve has those. Gabe certainly is not a stranger to pushing into new markets, and i doubt the people behind Steam have much want for cash.

Valve is small compared to the console kings. The market values Sony at $ 162 billion, Microsoft at $66 billion and the estimate of value of valve comes in at $5 billion. The big boy already have world wide physical distribution networks setup, Valve use EA to distribute physical media.

Do those market values include Sony's non-Playstation parts? They have fingers in many pies, so their worth is spread across various industries. Microsoft is a similar story, they make software as well as the Xbox. Valve make games and run Steam. They clearly know how to make a profit from that whilst keeping gamers happy and entertained. Also, simply having a high market value doesn't mean you are better otherwise EA's Origin would be a raging success compared to Steam. EA are bigger than Valve and yet Steam is more popular than Origin despite EA being able to throw more money around.

I'm just waiting to see how long it takes for the Steambox to become a huge success so Microsoft can eat their words.

Legion:
I don't disagree. Personally unless the PC version has a lot of mods available, or works better using a mouse (strategy games for example), I prefer to buy a console version because it's so much simpler. Put the disc in, wait for 20 second and straight into the game.

The point I was making is that Microsoft do not offer a quality product, they just offer a convenient one, that doesn't really have any better alternative. The PS3 after all is more or less the same thing except the controller and a few different exclusives. Which one you own is often more down to what one your friends have than anything special about the consoles themselves.

Convenience denotes quality to some, though. Perhaps you'd get a prettier game on the PC or, as some argue, have tighter controls with a mouser (not me, I'm far too cack-handed) but it simply isn't as convenient as a plug-and-play games console.

I'm not saying that the Xbox is amazing and we should all be bowing down to it (though I absolutely loathe the shitty Playstation controller, mumble grumble) but I do think that for many people the convenience of it is what makes it a quality product.

Legion:
Microsoft on the other hand, are trying to act like their sales are down to them doing something right, as opposed to other people simply not doing better.

Speaking again from the perspective of a technological incompetent, they are doing something right. They've given me a console which has worked non-stop for over four years and will play whatever game I put into it without giving me the hassle of trying to alter settings or hunt for patches. The fact that they could be doing it better doesn't really matter to me so much when I weigh it against the fact that they're doing it at all.

Oh man, this exec is going to be eating his words o.o it almost hurts to think about.

Is there any point to acknowledging this man's opinions when he criticises on something that doesn't yet exist and apparently doesn't have sufficient information on it?
And btw since when is Nintendo know for great variety of things?

SonicWaffle:
They've given me a console which has worked non-stop for over four years and will play whatever game I put into it without giving me the hassle of trying to alter settings or hunt for patches. The fact that they could be doing it better doesn't really matter to me so much when I weigh it against the fact that they're doing it at all.

Yes, because games on XBox don't get patched...ever. The only "hunt" you have to do is usually the good hunt where you find a better or faster software solution to some issues.

Besides that, if we're comparing it to Steam, it updates the game automatically as well. Even when formatting Windows, I still just need to activate/start Steam (it does everything after that, no matter that the registry files have been deleted). And boom, I have all my games available (if they were already on my hdd, I don't even have to download anything).
And after all that I can still make a mod if I want to.

I sure hope that he's got clean shoes, because when the steambox comes out he's probably going to have his foot in his mouth.

Steam has facerolled the digital distribution market, and is continuing to grow even as competitors pop up. Ignoring Valve's entry into the console market just sounds like a bad idea to me.

When asked whether Microsoft would fully open the Xbox platform to third-party developers, Mattrick responded: "There's a certain level of technical and production competency that people have to get through because we're trying to curate great experiences.

"We're trying to make sure that what exists upon our service on our system is done to a quality level and has interest for people who are likely to use it," he said.

Which is PR speak for 'not happening".

I think convenience just denotes convenience, nothing more, nothing less. Certainly many things are more accessible but I can't certainly say they're necessarily higher quality, as much as I could not claim that something of higher quality would definitely be more convenient.

CriticalMiss:

Valve is small compared to the console kings. The market values Sony at $ 162 billion, Microsoft at $66 billion and the estimate of value of valve comes in at $5 billion. The big boy already have world wide physical distribution networks setup, Valve use EA to distribute physical media.

Do those market values include Sony's non-Playstation parts? They have fingers in many pies, so their worth is spread across various industries. Microsoft is a similar story, they make software as well as the Xbox. Valve make games and run Steam. They clearly know how to make a profit from that whilst keeping gamers happy and entertained. Also, simply having a high market value doesn't mean you are better otherwise EA's Origin would be a raging success compared to Steam. EA are bigger than Valve and yet Steam is more popular than Origin despite EA being able to throw more money around.

I'm just waiting to see how long it takes for the Steambox to become a huge success so Microsoft can eat their words.[/quote]

Thats the whole point Microsoft and Sony are much bigger companies with much deeper pockets because they have many products The cost to rival the big boys with product development and advertising campaigns is going to be around $250-$350 million. Which basically means that Valve is going to have to bet the house on competing with the big boys who can survive if the product fails The cost distribution drops per item drops with volume, so if you only have 1 product its more expensive to move around the world that 1000s.

The reality is that the steambox is going to be niche product and not a competitor to the console kings because Valve can't afford to spend the same amount of money on developing and advertising as the others.

What is Microsofts target audience? If they are shifting from gaming to streaming movie watchers there's better, simpler, and cheaper ways to do it than having to double dip on subscription costs on antiquated hardware. I think Sony, Nintendo, Valve, and the mini-consoles are going to be the ones competing this next season unless the next box is going to shift the whole overblown marketing on the dashboards issue.

To be honest I'm not very excited about the Steam Box at this point.

But I do hope they help to knock Microsoft on their arses.

So those tauting convenience... I think you're missing the point.

The Steambox is being designed to deliver your PC Games in a convenient user friendly manner. I.e. You boot it up, steam loads, your games are there. It's probably a lot more convenient, given your entire PC Gaming catalogue will be there in your living room, you probably already have software for it. It just saves you dragging around your behemoth gaming rig into the living room.

Why do people keep going on about the convenience of console gaming especially when microsoft is involved when you have to buy their console at least twice? not including the 4 wireless controllers that died on me for no reason. How is that convenient? microsoft should just charge 800$ for a console that comes with 2 controllers that actually WORK and be honest rather then make their products out of whatever they find in the dumpster.

There is nothing convenient about it.

I think the Steam Box will be a large success, They have their pockets covered, constant deals, the convinience of just being able to download games when you want (even from a phone app) but i think one of the largest things they have going for them so far is playbackability. One of the most often asked questions and eventually largest complaints is "Will I be able to play last gen games on the new console?" followed by "I wish i could play my old games on my new console." respectively. Steam allows gamers to play decade old games for nostalgic purposes or to give newer gamers the opportunity to play some of the classics older gamers are still talking about. At the same time they are allowing indie devs to thrive by supporting them which can only help the gaming community and indusrty grow while it sounds like Microsoft only wants to release products from the tried and tested titans of the indusrty. I dont own an Xbox but judging from the screen shots posted by Dexter they don't seem all to interested in gaming at all.

TL;DR
Steam Box seems aimed at hardcore gamers, Xbox seems aimed at casual gamers.

Steam has facerolled the digital distribution market, and is continuing to grow even as competitors pop up. Ignoring Valve's entry into the console market just sounds like a bad idea to me.

Not quite they had a good five year head start so while some say they steam rolled it other would say they got themselves so deeply entrenched that you really have no option but to use Steam. Believe me I have looked for ways to not use Steam but with over 80 games on the client it is impossible for me to find ways to launch every game I have without having to also launch Steam. I am now at a point where I have to use Steam because I have no other option. The main question though is given the option, given what I know and if I had to start over would I use Steam? No I wouldn't I would do everything possible to not use it. When new games come out I actively look for other DD systems to use over Steam.

The reality is the issues that make Steam a pain in the arse on the PC will no doubt carry over to the console market and console gamers are not the type of folk who are going to sit around waiting for the client to load, sit around waiting for the slow arse updates that Steam has, looking at a message saying the game is not currently available. These are all issues Steam has and have had for the last several years and despite many client updates don't seem to be getting better. It's stuff that PC gamers will put up with because, fuck that's what PC gaming has always been about but console gamers won't and Valve have proven that they just don't seem to be able to sort the problems.

The reality is that the steambox is going to be niche product and not a competitor to the console kings because Valve can't afford to spend the same amount of money on developing and advertising as the others.

This, along with Valve time which I just can't see working in a full on console market war. The Steambox is going to require a lot of word of mouth and more than a little bit of Steam fanboy stupidity to sell.

Zeckt:
Why do people keep going on about the convenience of console gaming especially when microsoft is involved when you have to buy their console at least twice? not including the 4 wireless controllers that died on me for no reason. How is that convenient? microsoft should just charge 800$ for a console that comes with 2 controllers that actually WORK and be honest rather then make their products out of whatever they find in the dumpster.

There is nothing convenient about it.

Because if there is one thing that every human is good at other than turning food to dookie, it is deceiving themselves :>

Hmm... That's reminding me something.
Back in 2005 after the E3 of that year where the big 3 showed of their consoles,a Microsoft executive went out and said "Wii is not going to be our competitor. People will buy 2 consoles. One will be ours or SONY's and the other one a Wii".
And guess what ? While it didn't directly competed,it got double the sales than xbox360. Hm...
I wonder if Steambox will be another Wii,in the sense of getting multiple sales than the other platforms because it actually doesn't competes them face to face,but instead offers an alternative nowhere else can be found.

anian:

SonicWaffle:
They've given me a console which has worked non-stop for over four years and will play whatever game I put into it without giving me the hassle of trying to alter settings or hunt for patches. The fact that they could be doing it better doesn't really matter to me so much when I weigh it against the fact that they're doing it at all.

Yes, because games on XBox don't get patched...ever. The only "hunt" you have to do is usually the good hunt where you find a better or faster software solution to some issues.

On the Xbox, patches are largely automated - an inform pops up as the game opens asking whether you want the patch, you select that you do, and it takes a few seconds you're done. Convenience, see? Again, I'm not saying that the Xbox or consoles in general are perfect, just that they make things very simple for the end user, which to a technophobe like myself is a definite bonus.

anian:
Besides that, if we're comparing it to Steam, it updates the game automatically as well. Even when formatting Windows, I still just need to activate/start Steam (it does everything after that, no matter that the registry files have been deleted). And boom, I have all my games available (if they were already on my hdd, I don't even have to download anything).
And after all that I can still make a mod if I want to.

See above. I'm not knocking Steam. I'm not saying that the Xbox is objectively better than PC gaming. There's really no need to compare the functionality, because all I'm doing is pointing out that a console is currently of great convenience for gamers who just want to plug-and-play.

Colt47:
What is Microsofts target audience? If they are shifting from gaming to streaming movie watchers there's better, simpler, and cheaper ways to do it than having to double dip on subscription costs on antiquated hardware.

I imagine the target audience are those who want all of those things to come from one device with the minimum of fuss. There are probably a whole host of better ways to get access to these services, but the fact I can run them all through a device I was going to buy anyway to play games on is certainly a bonus. A lot of people comment on this sort of thing seemingly under the assumption that everyone is as tech-savvy as them, whereas I think to the average consumer the questions are more akin to "Does this work? Can I still play my games on it? Does it involve any extra dicking around on my part? It doesn't? OK, cool, I'll take it"

Rellik San:
So those tauting convenience... I think you're missing the point.

The Steambox is being designed to deliver your PC Games in a convenient user friendly manner. I.e. You boot it up, steam loads, your games are there. It's probably a lot more convenient, given your entire PC Gaming catalogue will be there in your living room, you probably already have software for it. It just saves you dragging around your behemoth gaming rig into the living room.

Yes, but we're not just talking about convenience for "serious gamers". We're talking about people who probably don't mentally pigeonhole themselves as gamers, who'd likely never come to a forum like this to chat in the depth we do, and who in all likelihood are scared off by the difficulty (whether real or perceived) of PC gaming.

Those people probably don't have a PC gaming catalogue. What they want is a machine that's simple to hook up to a TV, and will run the games they buy for it. If it does other stuff too, bonus, but the plug-and-play nature is the major selling point IMHO.

Zeckt:
Why do people keep going on about the convenience of console gaming especially when microsoft is involved when you have to buy their console at least twice? not including the 4 wireless controllers that died on me for no reason. How is that convenient? microsoft should just charge 800$ for a console that comes with 2 controllers that actually WORK and be honest rather then make their products out of whatever they find in the dumpster.

There is nothing convenient about it.

Why do some people always assume their single bad experience is uniltaerally shared by others? :-P

I've owned my xbox for four-and-a-half years now. I also still own my original wired controller, and while my spare wireless one is on the fritz now, that's less an inbuilt hardware fault and more because a mate was so pissed off about losing Pro Evo he threw it across the room. In these four-and-a-half years my machine has endured near-daily use and run hundreds of different games as well as being used for DVDs and streamed content. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but it's worth remembering that not everyone will have shared that experience.

Desert Punk:
Because if there is one thing that every human is good at other than turning food to dookie, it is deceiving themselves :>

Hey, I resent that remark!

I also make a pretty good shepherds pie :-(

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