It's 5 months after the console battle that started between the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but I haven't gotten either one yet. I just can't seem to commit myself to either of the console's because I feel like they are next generation dinosaurs. The games that they have, still 5 months end, all look and feel likes games I could have played on my Xbox 360, regardless of the amount of extra power these next-gen consoles have.
I've been eye-balling the Steam Machine ever since I heard of it's inception, but I was never into PC gaming and was dead set on getting an Xbox One, along with a Windows 8 phone, and a Windows Surface Pro. However, since November of 2013, my feelings have drastically changed. While I firmly believe that Microsoft is going in the right direction of it's product designs & branding, I just don't agree with what Microsoft stands for anymore. What I want to do is support Free Open Source Technology. I say that because when you really think about it, the only thing in mankind's history that has truly helped the people is technology. If the world were to share it's technology(the know-how, not the resources) freely & openly, be collaborative and not competitive, the whole world would be a better place.
So in my life as part of my new years resolution, I have started dropping support for paid technology, and increased my support to free technology by applying my time, skills, and usage of such products. I'm doing things like drop windows and adopt Free & Open Source Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Linux based distro, that can actually be used as a server, desktop, laptop, tablet, and even smartphone. I've dropped Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Lightroom and replaced it with things like Inkscape, Gimp, Zed, and RawTherapee.
So I became more interested in SteamOS because of this, as SteamOS is a Linux Distro which is also Free & Open Source. Although I wasn't completely sold on it yet, because rumor has it that EA's Origin will not work on Steam. This eliminates games like Madden, Burnout, Need 4 Speed, Battlefield, Medal Of Honor, and other great games. However, today I found out that Valve's own Gabe Newell says he would have no problem loading EA's Origin onto Steam(Source).
Guess what, now I'm really interested. If I compare the costs, it seems I would save money on using a Steam Machine rather than an Xbox One. IBuyPower will be releasing a Steam Machine for $499 that will be slightly more powerful than the Xbox One hardware wise, but slightly smaller in size. Alienware will be releasing a Steam Machine is that is rumored to be $599, a hundred dollars higher than the Xbox One, but marginally more powerful and marginally smaller. Although, the thing to keep in mind is that the Xbox One cannot have it's hardware upgraded, while all the Steam Machines can. Both IBuyPower & Alienware will also have Steam Machines that will be double the power of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but also at twice the price. This gives me the option to buy twice the power now, or buy the necessity and upgrade in 2-3 years from now. Which in my opinion is waaay better than waiting another 8 years to get my upgrade with a next generation console.
* Honestly though, I think the software matters more than the hardware. I think Xbox One flat out has the lead here, but PS4's is utter crap. SteamOS falls short in so many areas that it's not funny, but then they are still in beta and I think they've gotten off to a wonderful start. I could go into details here, but I'd rather not to maintain the size of this article.
Looking at game costs, Steam comes way out on top. Steam keeps track of your purchased games online. There is no DVD to scratch or lose. Do you have any idea how many times I've had to re-purchase a game because the disk kept getting scratched, cracked, lost, stolen, or traded? Believe it or not, but this kinda happens when you have kids & pets in your home you know. Anyway, with Steam you buy the game and it's yours forever. Microsoft & Sony are just now catching on to this concept, but Steam as been doing it for years. As far as game costs, Steam games tend to be cheaper, and avidly have more sales that save you dinero.
Then there is the account costs. A Steam account, Xbox Live Account, and PlayStation Account are all free. However, Xbox One charges you $60 a year or $10 a month to play games online, or use certain Apps like Netflix. Being a person who pays for Netflix and watches it daily, I kinda feel ripped off by Microsoft & Sony because an additional subscription is required to use the Netflix app. No other devices charge extra, why should Microsoft & Sony? Steam will let you do all this at no additional costs.
Some bitch that it's not fair because the Steam Machine is a PC. Well so is the Xbox and PlayStation. They all have CPU's, Ram, Harddrives, Graphic Card's, USB Ports, etc. The only difference between a console and a PC gaming is that with consoles you can use a controller and play on your couch using your 60" television. With a Steam Machine, you can now have your PC in the living room with a controller, as the Steam Machine is being designed with this as it's main purpose: to move the PC into the living room. The advantages that the Steam Machine gives you in the living room is that while it's made for the use of the controller first, you can still use a mouse & keyboard if you want to. This means you can play those MMORPG's you've been itching to play on the big screen. Not only that, but you can still use your Steam Machine as a PC, where as with a console you cannot.
Many tech companies are planning to build Steam Machines of all sizes & shapes. Meaning you can get one looking the way you want it. Or grab an old PC and throw SteamOS on it and viola! So far, I like the IbuyPower black Steam Machine, and the Alienware Steam Machine.
Do I think that the Steam Machine is a Xbox Killer, not quite. Do I think it's a PlayStation Killer, hell no. Do I think I think in the long run it will be superior to the Xbox & PlayStation, on Hell Yes.
On a side note, I just want to mention Steam's sales relationship. Steam splits sales 30/70 with the game's developer. Meaning Steam get's thirty percent of the sale and the developer get's 70 of the sale. However, with retailers it's the opposite. Retailers typically get 70% of the sale, while the developer's get 30% of the sale. This is another reason I want to support Steam, because they are more fair with the guys that make the games, instead of trying to rip them off.
I'm Thinking About Getting A Steam Machine
Draven Vestatt - Monday, March 24, 2014
About The Author
I’m Draven Xarcell Vestatt, a Freemason and owner of Xarcell Studios. There, I offer my services as a Business Developer, SEO Consultant, Web Host, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, and Photographer.I interests include: family, art, music, reading, museums, opera, cooking, gardening, fishing, politics, philosophy, religion, physics, technology, prepping, and more efficient sustainability techniques. My turn-offs include: bars, clubs, drugs, bigots, and big government.