Apple is Steam's greatest rival, claims site co-founder

News Jane McCallion Jan 31, 2013
game pad in the shape of a cloud
game pad in the shape of a cloud

Steam Box must get a foothold 'in the living room' before Apple takes over, claims co-founder

The greatest threat to Valve’s Steam Box cloud gaming system is not Microsoft or Sony, but Apple, its co-founder Gabe Newell has said.

Speaking to a class at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, Newell said: “The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform.

“I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is, can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?” Newell added

Valve’s cloud gaming platform, Steam, was launched nearly a decade ago and has long been popular with PC gamers.

The system has grown in wider popularity and is now estimated to have between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of the digital distribution market for video games. As of December 2012, it had 54 million active user accounts.

Steam Box is a yet-to-be-revealed piece of cloud gaming hardware that will let users experience Steam’s offerings from the comfort of their living room.

It has been preceded by ‘Big Picture’ mode, which is optimised for displays such as HD televisions, rather than computer screens.

In his lecture, Newell hinted that Steam  Box could be launched this year, which would likely bring it into direct competition with Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox 720 gaming systems.

"There are going to be a huge set of products [released in the next 12 months] that say, 'If you want something that's incredibly cheap, at a price point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you're going to take advantage of the PC that's running somewhere in your house',” said Newell, adding Valve are “happy to do it if nobody else will.”