September 10, 2012
Could Valve's Steam TV be the Apple TV's Console Solution?
Kotaku has an article about Valve bringing Steam to the TV that is due to be released in Beta today. The argument is that Consoles are great, but they are walled gardens and Valve wants to create an environment that can be used on any box, at any time. The timing is interesting, and the more that I read about Valve's Steam TV, the more I realized this could be Apple's way into console gaming without having to court high end developers to try and develop for the Apple TV platform. Not that I think there would be a big fight to get into the Apple TV market, even though it is very small. But Steam already has a huge inventory of games that would work given the right interface. I've long believed that Apple would find some way to get gaming to the TV through the Apple TV. The most commonly believed avenue would be bringing your iOS apps to the TV, with the controller being the iPad or iPhone. It seems reasonable, and very likely. It wouldn't be at the same level as most of your console games, but then it wouldn't need to be since the expectation would be that of your iPhone gamer. But console gamers would want more. So now, enter in Valve's Steam TV. Here you have very common PC games that already run on the Mac (thanks to the Mac release of Steam). Making an iOS compatible version of Steam shouldn't be that different from the Mac (depending on the software development platform they used), and it could be released to a broader audience than just the Apple TV in the very near future (iPad Steam, perhaps?). Another argument for the release of Steam TV Beta on the Apple TV would be the current saturation of the Apple TV: a few million boxes are out there, but it's not as widespread as many other devices. Add a restriction to perhaps the latest Apple TV with the A5 processor and 1080P resolution, and you have even less. It's a perfect testbed for Steam TV. Of course this is all supposition, as I don't have any contacts with Apple (who wouldn't say anything anyway, even if I did), and I don't have any contacts with Valve. But the idea is so interesting, so exciting, and so possible, I think it could happen. Perhaps this could be the "one more thing" for the announcement on Wednesday. What do you think?