Welcome back, boys and girls! It’s time for more poll results and this time we asked you if you felt ZOS truly listened to its fanbase and also whether or not you were interested in the Steam Box (a.k.a Steam Machine). Let’s do it!
Something that has been lacking with big development companies is the direct feed from the people who will inevitably purchase the game. Who knows what the cause is? Maybe it’s that the company thinks it knows best and puts millions into research instead of simply asking the masses. Whatever the cause, it’s nice to see a change from this when you find a company that really does listen to its fans and sees what it can do to implement change where needed.
First-person perspective was the first big change I can think of. FPV was initially going to be in ESO but after a failed prototype it was scraped all together. But after several play-throughs from individuals, press and internet personalities, they found that the lack of FPV was keeping ESO from feeling like a true Elder Scrolls game. So instead of shipping it without the feature anyway, they worked hard to make FPV work in their game and we now have a working and beautiful first-person perspective we can use and enjoy as we explore Tamriel. Regardless of whether you’ll use FPV or even deem it necessary to have at all, you should be glad that ZOS listened and changed as this is a sign of a great developer.
Guild Stores for non-members, chairs to sit in for the Role-playing crowd, better player models, compass system and the list goes on. All things that could have stayed the same but this company had the insight to listen and follow through. Now all you have to do, Zenimax, is add my pygmy Silt Strider mount!
So some news has come out about the Steam Machine, formerly known (and probably will always be known) as the Steam Box. So what is this thing and why should I be interested in it?
You may have heard of this piece of equipment from time to time when expos hit or your overeager gamer friend talks your ear off as you do your best to ignore him. The easiest way to explain this is as a hybrid between a console and a gaming PC. It has all of the components straight out of a PC put into a compact sized shell of a console unit. There’s plenty of specs to choose from and even after you get the thing, you can crack it open and start upgrading and modding to your hearts content. Not only does Valve (the company behind Steam) allow this: they encourage it!
The real power behind the throne however is the SteamOS. SteamOS is a FREE linux-based operating system that is fully open, modifiable and did I say free yet? The best thing about this OS is that it links straight to your Steam application on your PC. So if you have a large Steam library and have always wanted to take those games to the couch in the living room, you will now be able to do so.
I’m not going to lie to you. The Steam Box will be expensive. Likely, it will be at least twice the cost of the next gen console. It does boast impressive components like the Intel Core i7-4770, Nvidia Titan, 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a hybrid 1TB/8GB hard drive with the top model, but will probably be around $1500. The low spec model might be around $700. It would be hard to see people buy that when they could make their own PC with the same components at a discounted price, though those same people may not want a big tower sitting in the living room.
The savior of this whole thing is the lower-cost streaming solution. If you already have a decent gaming rig and have wanted to play your games on the big TV, why buy an overly expensive, beefed up gaming console? With the open SteamOS, there will be gaming solutions like the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and things of that sort that can run the new operating system and allow your computer to do all of the work and stream the gameplay live to your TV where you can play all of your Steam games on the couch to your heart’s content.
Pretty interesting stuff. Even if you’re not interested in shelling out the cash for something like this, keep your ear to the ground on this one. This could be the next step to gaming in your house. No longer would you need to purchase games separately for each gaming platform. No more having to update to the next gen console or having to deal with a billion wires throughout your house. One gaming PC, one small streaming device, one wireless home network and you have all of your Steam library in any room of the house with a TV and the streaming SteamOS device hooked up.
I will finish off with one bad thing about this Steam announcement. Damn, that controller is hideous!