PC The Steam Console

Slaine

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After the debacle that is the Xbox One and PS4, I'm seriously considering going back to PC gaming full-time. Steam seems to be the best solution, as you'll have a common friends list, very affordable games etc, and of course nearly 60 million users. Not wanting to splash out on a high-end PC, mainly because I dont have the money and I wouldnt be entirely certain that what Ive bought is fit for purpose, I am being drawn to the Steam console(s). All the benefits of regular console gaming, but with Steam embedded into it.

I know Steam has the same DRM that both Sony & Microsoft are desperately trying to implement on their new consoles, but it is a fraction of the price. Again, I am fully aware prices for the new consoles and their games havent been officially announced yet, but theres not many of us around that actually believe its going to be cheaper than current gen.

I'd dearly love to believe that Microsoft may still yet do a u-turn on their self-destructive policies, or that Sony will bottle it and stick two fingers up to the Publishers, but I think we're only kidding ourselves here. The Publishers seem determined to push for this DRM in line with the other platforms they support. So if all console gamers are now going to have to put up with this, and theres no benefit to us the consumers at all (ie vastly cheaper pricing models), I thought going down the Steam route seemed a good idea. Sure we wont be able to play the Sony or Microsoft exclusives, but to be honest you're only talking about a handful of games anyway. I forsee one of two things happening here :-
  1. despite peoples bluster, they cave and just buy the PS4/One and the DRM are here to stay forever
  2. Both Sony & Microsoft dig their heels in, both consoles fail to ignite sales to make it a financially viable proposition, meaning a possible withdrawal from the gaming market as a manufacturer or rethink on their DRM policies. I dont think Microsoft would get away with patching out their DRM at a later date, as the damage to consumer confidence wouldve already been done.
Anyway, my reason for posting is see what your thoughts are, and which side of the fence you guys are currently sitting. Whats your thoughts on a Steam console? Could Steam be a worthy replacement to the PSN/Live? What do you guys intend on doing with regards to the next gen? Early days I know, as I fully intend to milk my 360 and PS3 for as long as possible. But it pays to plan ahead for contingencies!!;)
 

Martok

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I won't be going down the PC route for gaming. I want the simplicity of a console - just stick in the game and play it without worrying about compatibility issues, faffing around with getting a controller to work on the PC (there's no way I'm using a mouse and keyboard to game) and the inevitable hardware chase that you'll end up in with PC gaming (and don't kid yourself, you will have to upgrade bits of your kit as time moves on).

I also don't see the same sort of 'community' on a PC that we get with console gaming. OK, you may get that with odd game here and there but do you really get the same thing across a range of games? I don't think you do (though I'm happy to be proved wrong). To me, gaming is more than just playing a video game, it's the social aspect as well, both online and on forums (one reason Halo & I set up this place). Yes, I enjoy single player games but I also enjoy meeting up with friends online and even seeing what they are playing when I log in (can you do this on Steam?)

I don't believe consoles will be any more expensive than buying a reasonably specced gaming PC. Yes, the games are always more expensive on consoles but that's a price I'm prepared to pay for the ease of just sticking in the disc and playing with no faff and for the community aspect that a console will bring.

Oh, and I'm likely to be going for a PS4 (unless there's some crap dealt by Sony in the coming weeks and months). I won't touch an XBox One after the current debacle and I want games like Uncharted and Killzone that won't be released on any other platform.
 

Jkrohn1

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I have a cheap PC which I like but Console gaming is so much better disc in game on. I'll also be getting the ps4 unless Sony pull a **** up tomorrow similar to M$. The steam console should be great but its only paper dreams unless its announced tomorrow ;)
 

Spruijt

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I'm with @Martok on this. When I play a game I want to sit in a comfy chair/couch with a controller in my hand. I don't want to (manually) install data, patches and drivers or having to adjust settings to get the stuff functioning properly.
As I mentioned in other threads before, I will stick with my phat PS3 when the next generation consoles turn out to be crap. The current games and 2013 releases will keep me busy for a long while.
 
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ColSonders

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Just to be different from the trend, I've recently built a gaming capable PC on the cheap and am looking to make it my primary gaming platform for the next generation.

I'm happier with the ability to upgrade my graphics ability as and when and I'm savvy enough with the tech to know what to do with upgrades and such.

I'm pretty sure you'll be able to get a mid range PC better than what some of us have recently built that will roughly match the PS4 on launch for about the same price as the PS4, which will obviously need upgrading in 3 years or so to keep up, but to "keep up" with the advances in games on console will probably equate to a £100 graphics card every few years....so i'm good with that.

The fart on with compatibility is almost a none issue with current PC's from what I can tell, but the input method is the clincher for many....an XBOX control pad just works, no messing at all and is fully compatible in the vast majority of games now giving you console like experiences but with potentially better graphics.

I'm not sure this steam console will ever make the light of day, or be reasonably priced if it ever does, but what will be interesting is the control input they go for, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a bog standard 360 controller.

Anyway, i've got me a controller working, a nav controller and mouse setup for shooters and have just dropped a fair bit of money on a graphics upgrade that will see off the competition of the consoles for the foreseeable . I'll consider a console once they come down in price if things don't spiral the way i'm expecting.
 

Plaxinator

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@Martok yes with Steam you can see what games your friends are playing, have recently played and recently bought. You can also look at their profile and see what games they own etc.

With regards to PC gaming, I started off pretty much as a PC gamer (OK when I was little I had a C16, C64 and mega drive, but from 18 - early 20s I was just a PC gamer which was fine as I never played multi player games as we never had an internet connection). PC gaming is okay but I got fed up with constantly having to upgrade and tweak stuff etc. I've gone back to PC gaming but not as my main platform.
I am a social gamer now, and base much of my purchases on what games I can play with others. Single player I get easily bored with and hardly ever complete. Like Martok, I have found PC gaming to be not very social per se. Also I usually have trouble with playing multi-player games, unless they are turn based. I had no end of problems with BFBC2 and whereas BF3 is better it's not great. BF3 is shit hot on my PC single player mind. I tend to play simulation / strategy games on the PC as I think they are shite on the current consoles.

I'm not going to rush out and buy one of the latest consoles, I'll probably sit back and see what happens whilst trawling through my backlog. I expect I would probably go the PS4 route if I did. Xbox 360 is okay but I don't love it as much as much PS3 and the recent Xbox One kerfuffle has turned me right off the idea.
 
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Acegadgets

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I think the steam console may be quite expensive. As you will have read, three of us on here made new PCs recently for less than the price of one of these new consoles that are coming out.
The only downside for me is the fact that I havent really tried hard enough to get used to the mouse / keyboard control or got drivers working to use a control pad. This makes FPS games harder to play and thus less enjoyable.
On the plus side though you can get a huge variety of games for the PC that dont really work with a console too well , such as stratergies and simulations. racing games can be controlled by my PS3 USB wheel. I can use my USB flight stick for flight sims, and my sony headset worked straight away.
The prices of games are so much better. for example, GRID 2 just released, £36 - £40 on console. £22 - £28 on PC. Not only can you download games pretty cheaply on steam, you find that older games to buy NEW are often just £5 - £10. I've had some great games at £9.99 from Amazon and Zavvi.
When I do download from steam it seems to take a lot less time to do so, even with my slow speeds. I usually get a game downloaded in a few hours on steam, where as last night I set my PS 3 to download a playstation network game at 9 pm. I went to bed, got up at 7 am and it was still downloading.
For less money you get a game with much better graphics and vast amounts of players to play with online.
I havent had lag issues when online like I do with the PS3. Dont know why, but I dont.
Theres also a lot of free to play and Beta games downloadable such as Planetside 2, microsoft flight, race room , warframe.
I suppose all of these will be out next year on the new consoles by which time there will be a new batch of free to plays on steam.
You can also do pretty much what you want with the games, there lots of mods to enhance or change the games which can be fun.
Really glad I built my next gen games gaming machine a few months back, like I say it will be pretty much perfect once I get round to getting a controller to work.
 

Dogstar

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Like some others I'm unlikely to go PC gaming. I'm not keen on the technological arms race. I'm with @Martok and @Spruijt I like to stick a disc in and go.

Unless Sony drop the ball big time tomorrow I'm likely to pick up a PS4 for launch. Currently I have no interest in Xbox One but Microsoft are still being pretty light on specifics about used games. They're are a lot of unanswered questions. Maybe they will answer these tomorrow?

I've been reading lots about used games lately and I want to hear what Sony have to say tomorrow.

Either way I'm not going to make a final decision yet. There's loads of time. We don't yet know launch times (and slippage) or prices of Steam box, PS4 or Xbox 1.
 
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Acegadgets

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Todays PCs dont have to be upgraded every few months to make things compatable. You pretty much do stick the game in(or download it) and play. Everything just kind of works automatically. The only difference is the control method.
 

ColSonders

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There's loads more to consider with PC gaming:
Operating System
Graphics Settings / Frames Per Second
Control Method (yes you can use a gamepad, but online on many games that puts you at certain disadvantages.

There's loads of little things to consider like drivers and such too.

The other big thing to consider is that you just can't put together a gaming PC that can compete with a console for the same price.

Those of us who have recently built PC's have spent £250 or so and got ourselves something a little better than the PS3/360, both of which you can buy for half of that price. These PC's are not going to stand up well against the new consoles, though they may be able to compete with some of the launch titles that are just slightly overhauled reincarnations of previous generation games it's not gonna be the same a year after launch.


Don't ever kid yourself that PC's are more powerful than consoles, I mean of course they are, but performance per pound the consoles win outright every time. I've just bought the final pieces to my gaming PC after selling all my old toys on ebay, got myself a pretty high end graphics card that should see me for the next 3+ years and an SSD drive to compensate for poor loading speeds...my total system cost is now above £500.
 

The_Carpet_Frog

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Biggest issue for me is, Can I sit on my settee in front of the TV and play it? With a PC that's a no. I don't want a Xbox (I hate the controller, I find it so uncomfortable to hold) Steam box holds no interest for me at all so that really leaves the PS4.
Depending on price and what they announce at E3 and how things go in the future I may (or may not) get one sometime. At the moment it looks like I will be giving up gaming altogether and will have to find something else to do.
 

ColSonders

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Biggest issue for me is, Can I sit on my settee in front of the TV and play it? With a PC that's a no.
I do with my PC.

I sit on my sofa in front of my TV the same as I do with my PS3....using the same PS3 controller that I use on the PS3.

The differences are basically the way I boot the game, the quality of graphics and the noise of the system (my PC is silent, my PS3 isn't). And currently I have my PS3 controller wired to my PC as i've not bothered buying a bluetooth dongle for it.

So for example playing Assassins Creed 3, the difference is that on PC I get better graphics and a quieter system, on PS3 I have a much more streamlined loading into the game as I don't need to select the game using a mouse.
 

The_Carpet_Frog

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I haven't really got the space for a PC in the front room and I don't think it would go down well with 'she who must be obeyed':rant:

If I can hear the PS3 then the volume isn't turned up enough :D
 

ColSonders

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Well you don't have to go for something hugely eye catching like a lot of people do (like the big white thing Acegadgets has).

Mine is fairly subtle, this is the one i've got:

Which is bigger than the new XBOXONE console, but probably not a massive amount bigger.

It's certainly not on a par with consoles for how compact they are, but you can certainly play games on a PC exactly the same way as you do on consoles bar a few differences in loading up the game and system performance.
 

The_Carpet_Frog

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I like that Col, looks a lot like my sub (without the speaker in the front) and is probably about the same sort of size.
 

ColSonders

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My subwoofer basically didn't ever get used, I have bookshelf speakers which are already quite adequate for that, so this has actually take the place of my subwoofer....it's roughly the same size but a bit thinner.

But yeah there's been big strides in making the PC a living room gaming system, no longer are you required to have a desk as you can use controllers and hook it up to the TV.

I boot mine up without keyboard/mouse/controller hooked up and can administer the system (i.e. set game downloads or updates running) using my macbook to control it via VNC. I would advise this for anyone with a living room gaming PC and either a tablet or laptop. Much less mess!

Then I hook up whatever control inputs I want to use for gaming...joystick for Street Fighter, dual shock for action/racing games and mouse/nav controller for FPS.
 

Acegadgets

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@ColSonders I like my BIG ONE.
I also sit in front of my BIG TV as PC cards all have HDMI leads that just go into one of your HDMI sockets.
You will need a mouse to navigate , which i put on the armrest of my chair but thats the only difference once you have a controller set up which i now have,
 
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