Maybe it’s time for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to really worry about what Gabe Newell’s got up his sleeve.
The ‘Steambox’ (or ‘Steam Machine,’ whatever you want to call it. But that sounds like it’s going to clean my curtains) goes out today, along with Valve’s ‘Steam OS,’ a Linux-derived operating system. I won’t pretend to understand kerneling, since I use Windows for work (converted from OSX thanks to Adobe Premiere 6), but here’s a very basic breakdown:
Normally, to play video games, you either enlist a specialized console (a PS4 or Xbox One, for example) and hook it up to a television and use a controller of some sort (whether it be physical or motion-sensed) to play. Or, if you’ve got a decent PC, you play anything from the ‘Games for Windows’ library. Alternatively, there were digital games on both Windows and Mac OSX on Valve’s “Steam” service. If you’ve played ‘Counter-Strike’ (which, if you’re an FPS gamer, you must have) you know exactly what I’m on about.
Steam has done well, despite the well-known issues.
What the Steam OS strives to do is use your existing hardware to stream the games onto your television, eliminating the need for a dedicated gaming console - theoretically, you’d dual-boot your computer with the Steam OS and Windows or OSX so you could still use it as a normal machine.
How well this works remains to be seen, but the 300 beta testers should be quite vocal.
Now, to get you out of the computer chair. ‘Blue Goji,’ a new gaming company founded by Charles and Kai Huang (two of the guys behind Guitar Hero), released ‘Goji Play’ today. It’s a series of iOS games packaged with a small Bluetooth receiver and two oddball game wands that you can hold or attach to the treadmill/stationary bike/etc. you want to use. The idea is that, by distracting your mind with games and setting visual goals, you won’t concentrate on how much a three mile run sucks. Personally, I enjoy those ... but diff’rent strokes.
$99 gets you the peripherals and a set of games to get you started, but you’re out of luck if you don’t have any iOS devices to run them on.
And in uglier news, Twitter has reversed course on their new blocking policy; the blue bird’s update let blocked users see their blocker’s tweets and interact with them. Kind of defeats the purpose of blocking someone if they can still tweet at you. Thanks to the Internet’s temper tantrum, Twitter’s back to its old ways only a day later.
I guess Internet activism does actually change things, sometimes.