Today Valve announced Steam Machines: PC gaming consoles. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, Valve also revealed they are partnering up with multiple companies to create these consoles. Theoretically this means there could be a Philips, Panasonic, Samsung, or even, albeit a far stretch, a Sony Steam Machine. Is this the next step toward the theorized one console future? Okay, maybe not a theory, but this is what the Internet is clamoring for.
What if the big three, i.e. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, stop making consoles and instead focused on software like SEGA did years ago? They could make an OS, like Valve, and license it out to other companies, again, like Samsung. Third party game consoles may seem like a funny notion, but look at DVD and Blu-ray players along with TVs, radios, cameras, etc. Do Blu-ray players suffer from being made by anyone besides Sony? Of course not. While some may argue dismantling the big three into software companies would weaken them, there’s another argument to be made.
For one, each company would gain a profit from licensing their hardware, or OS specs to other companies. Plus this would theoretically free up more money to invest in new projects and allow game developers to take bigger risks. Gasp, perhaps even a future without fifty new shooters each year. And again, these are all pie in the sky hopes and dreams, but it’s a nice thought to ponder on. If it works for other pieces of electronics, why not give it a shot?
For now though it'd be crazy for any of these companies to abandon hardware sales. If Valve succeeds however, the big three may have to react in a similar manner. With that and everything else in mind, the next year is going to be an interesting one for the game industry indeed. Valve, all eyes are watching.