ValveTime TalkTime - Episode 1: SteamBox

Uploaded by ValveTime on 16.01.2013

Hello, and welcome to the first episode of ValveTime TalkTime.
It's an introduction to the people behind the YouTube channel for ValveTime.
Not only that, but we'll be talking about some of the biggest topics of the week
and giving you some insight from us, the people who know the most, perhaps, about Valve topics.
We spend all week...
who's laughing? Come on, we do know a little bit!
So yeah, first we'll start off by introducing the team, the people behind ValveTime,
the YouTube channel, the website, the art, the recordings, everything,
so let's start off with James.
James should be someone familiar to all of you.
Hi, James.
Hi! So, I guess we decided I'm presenter.
I also do occasionally writing, sometimes behind the scenes stuff,
so a little bit of script-writing and whatnot.
Yeah, I obviously...well, obviously to some...
I do the ValveTime News Round-Ups and also, if we do a special presentation of something,
if there's need for someone to be presenting and talking during it,
then I go ahead and do so.
That's really about it.
Yeah, I recognize your voice, James, I've heard it before.
Oh, hi! Thank you.
So, yeah, James. Everyone should already know James.
He's basically all of ValveTime to you guys,
but there are actually more people behind it, surprisingly.
Surprise, surprise.
Nick; Hi, Nick.
Yeah, I'm the video editor, I do a lot of the writing for the YouTube channel,
I do a lot of reporting for the front page.
I sort of edit everything together. I work with James and John,
whom you're going to meet in a minute,
sort of produce all the shows and getting everything done on time, and all that sort of stuff.
And you've been around the community pretty much since
when we used to be called, since 2003.
2007 is when I started playing Steam games, so I started playing Gmod then and I was like,
"What is this Half-Life?" and then I started playing it and I was like, "holy ****!"
From Gmod you came, yeah?
Yep. Yeah, because my friend used to play it at his house, and
I said, "Oh, I need this game!"
That's Nick.
So the last guy with us here, today anyway, is John.
So, John, want to introduce yourself?
You saved the best for last. I like this.
Well, let's see here.
I do all the art for the website. That's basically it.
Not just the website.
And the Facebook.
Yeah, you do the cover pages.
Yeah, I do everything for the YouTube, Twitter, the banners. Most artwork is done by me.
I think you're selling yourself short.
Yeah, well, maybe...
I will occasionally, though, do a news post here and there,
but most of the time I'll just work on my art.
Or when Nick yells at me every day to get something done.
Not yell, but quietly....
No, all caps "JOHN, GET THIS DONE NOW!"
Yeah, so that's the core team on the YouTube channel essentially.
And then there's myself; I should have introduced myself.
I'm Glenn, a.k.a. Hectic Glenn.
I've been on the site since about 2004, but I wasn't staff until about 2005 or 2006.
I'm lead editor of the... well I mostly work on the website.
Mostly AFK is what you are.
And...yeah, basically, I sort of just dabble in the YouTube stuff as well,
do some of the scripts, most of the earlier scripts, but not so many recently.
Thank god.
Go watch the Half-Life Alpha video; it was brilliant.
Doesn't everyone think it was excellent? Wasn't it really well-written?
Wouldn't you agree, James?
Not for lack of your script-writing abilities...
I had to rewrite everything in that!
There were a lot of problems.
I appreciate that; I wrote that very late at night.
But yeah, perhaps we'll go a bit more into that later in terms of how much James knows
about what we send him.
That might come up at some point.
Yeah, we'll bring that up in, maybe, later episodes
when we ask you about his Dota 2 knowledge, which I think is fairly thin, is that not true?
Uhm... I may have never played it or the original even once...
To be fair, I haven't played the original either.
James is like, "What's Dota? What is that?"
I'm pretty sure I pronounced it "dah tuh" for a while;
I had a lot of problems with that one.
I think James doesn't have Dota 2 on his Steam account,
so if anyone has any free Dota 2 invites, we'll put a link in the description
to his Steam account, so please all your invites to him.
James, why didn't you just ask me? I have 6 of them.
Yeah, well if you have 6, guys, or more, please send all of them to James,
because he's looking for invites.
Open trading window...send 9. There you go.
So that's all of us, guys, here. We have a lot more people
who also work on the website, supposedly.
Some great guys we'll introduce in later episodes who will come on in cameo appearances
and introduce themselves.
They mostly work in the forums, they do news posts, and some other stuff.
Perhaps the people who made the music and other things will come on in the future as well,
so you'll get to meet a couple more of them.
But that's just a general introduction to the people who actually work
on the YouTube and you can perhaps expect to hear from us most weeks.
So the general subject, we're going to talk about
the biggest talking points in the week, generally.
We'll pick up on things you'll see in our Round-Up.
And this week, we're going to talk about the Steam Box.
There's been quite a lot of talk about that this week.
There's a couple of other topics as well, but we thought we'd pick up on this one first.
So our question this week, and you guys are welcome to
comment and tell us what you think as well,
but is there a place in your life for the Steam Box? Would you have one? Would you buy one?
Would it replace your gaming computer? Would you rather game in the lounge?
I don't think I would, personally.
Do you have a lounge? I thought you lived in a flat.
No, I do have a living quarters, but everything's on suite,
so that you can touch the sink from the bed isn't always a bad thing.
Sounds nice.
Yeah, I don't know. I'll throw that out you want to start, Nick?
Uhm...I don't know. depending on price, maybe.
I think the one that's been shown so far, the "Piston," what is it? $1,000, no.
There's no way.
Is that $1,000?
I think one of them, generally the Xi3 setup is usually three price brackets or whatever.
I thought the idea behind that was the equipment inside accounted up to about $1,000,
but a lot of consoles sell at a loss, so it very well could be significantly lower than that.
Yeah, well I mentioned Valve would sell it at a loss just to get people on Steam
and experience the Steam sales, but back to the original question:
Yeah, I'd probably get one, not as a main gaming PC or anything like that
because I've just bought a big proper gaming rig, so I don't need one,
but I do play the occasional game on an Xbox or whatever for whatever reason,
but that's generally just sitting down next to it, but I would replace the console.
I wouldn't replace the PC, but I'd be more willing to play, say,
an Xbox or whatever else with an additional little console,
which I just have to use with a controller, play all my existing games on it
and just have it somewhere where it just kind of lays around rather than sitting
in a big office chair all day. You know, where I can sit on a big sofa or an arm chair
That's probably how I'd do it.
We should clarify that this device is meant to be modular,
so that $1,000 price bracket will vary based on which mode you go for and how modular it is.
And we should also clarify that we incorrectly reported this week that this was *the* Steam Box.
It's one of many. As far as we're aware, it's sort of a tendering process
where Valve are making their own, almost like what Google did,
where they have their own device, a flagship device,
and perhaps they tender out the concept for the companies to try their hand
at a couple of variants of it as well.
So yeah, this isn't the fixed one.
To look at this one and say this is what you'd base your decision on would be wrong.
Yeah, that's what I was saying about the price. I mean,
this one's apparently based on a $1000 model that Xi3 already sells.
If it was at that price, there'd be no way.
For one thing, I'd maybe use it once a week.
...who's playing music?
Turn your phones off, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyway, I think $1000 is a little bit too hefty for something that's essentially
carried around in your bag or a living room console;
it's a bit too much, personally.
Yeah, what about you, John? Would you have a Steam Box? Is there a void in your life for it?
You don't have a console anymore, do you?
The console I have is a Dreamcast, so yeah...
Going WAY back!
We're going WAY back.
So are you ready to replace the Dreamcast with a Steam Box?
Well not since I just bought my new gaming PC, no.
So this seems to be the problem: everyone's got new PCs.
But I think, eventually, when I have the extra cash and all, I think it'd be worth looking into.
I mean, especially...
Like, if you want to take it somewhere, that's the easiest thing;
you don't have to haul your huge PC around with you.
That's the one positive about it. If you want to go to a LAN party,
maybe people will start bringing their Steam Boxes.
Now we've got good PCs between us, but let's see...
James, how good is your PC?
How are those hamsters running, James?
Maybe it was his phone that went off.
I think it was his phone, yeah,
so we'll leave him and he can just be in the intro and then...
James, being so professional right now!
Says you two who arrived, what was it, an hour late, apparently?
It's basically: the people at home, if you ever feel like working with Glenn or John here,
don't expect them to arrive on time or do any work by the deadlines you give them.
Because, see, we run by "Valve Time,"
get it?
That is true, actually. That's probably our own fault for putting it in the slogan.
Thank you, John, you bowed me out. I have no excuse,
but I can always use that one to rely upon.
The general question I was going to go down the line of is,
for people to have good PCs, I recently rebuilt my PC as well, so us three have very good PCs.
For someone who can't afford that, perhaps this...
I'm looking for the person this is meant for--
that's what I'm trying to say. And it's obviously not meant for us three,
but there must be people out there who perhaps prefer consoles.
But they're quite a locked-down system.
Perhaps people's eyes have been opened to the concept of Steam and being on the PC
that you don't have to necessarily take that role of having a locked-down system;
a Steam Box is going to be far more open, as Gabe said.
James, are you back?
Uh, maybe...
No, no, I'm back.
I was going to say something, but let James speak first and then I'll say something.
I just want to make a major announcement that my Chinese food smells really good.
James, my question for you is how good your PC was because we determined
the Steam Box isn't really something that we'd have; our PCs are too good.
So is your PC any good?
It's not terribly great, but that's not why I like my PC and I feel like that's the reason
why I won't really like...
I just, I just don't have a purpose for having a Steam Box of any kind.
It's this weird combination between, like, this plug-and-play, just-go, casual
aspect that they're going for and the much more, like...
I guess what people would consider "hardcore,"
although I don't really like those two terms, "casual" and "hardcore."
The idea that a "hardcore" person would be tricking out their PC tower,
throwing in a bunch of new hardware into it every couple of months...
Because you have the ability to choose more than one Steam Box,
you pick what you want for what you need.
If all you're going to do is play Plants vs. Zombies,
you're not going to need something that has a really intensive GPU inside of it.
Whereas if you want to be playing, you know, Half-Life 2,
you're still going to want something that's somewhat hefty so that you can actually run it.
That's from a hardware perspective, isn't it? What about--
I know it's not black and white in terms of hardcore or not--
do you mean... what about form the software perspective in the sense that it's open-source.
Is that more of a hardcore thing?
Like, where people can mod things and change things?
Yeah, I'd say that the idea between...
the Wii was supposed to be a much more casual thing.
That means the games people can kinda just jump right into.
They're not all that complicated.
You know, they're easier to access.
The operating system on the Wii was very, very simple, very intuitive,
so you just hop in and get it.
You don't have a lot of menus. On the Wii, you just have a grid
and it has everything you can do on this grid.
If you go to an Xbox or a PS3, you have 2 or 3 layers of menus
that you deal with just to do very basic things.
And so, you can kind of see the difference between the Wii
trying really hard to be as simple as possible and
the other consoles just requiring a higher level of interaction to get it to do what you want,
and I feel like this is kind of a...
where the Steam Box will be is kind of between those two areas.
It can probably be as simple as you want it to be or it can be much more complex,
so you could get something that, like, you could maybe try to get a setup for your grandmother.
You basically just throw this thing at her and
she'll be able to figure it out if it's simple enough.
Or, for people that want to be playing modern games against friends in their living room
but don't want to go for an Xbox or a PS3, then you'd have the Steam Box as an option,
which... then you also get the benefit that you can play it in your living room,
you can play it on your computer in your bedroom, you only have to buy the game once,
the developers don't have to port the game from one system to another,
and so... there's still a level of involvement that most people
would probably consider as "hardcore" as opposed to "casual."
and what's really interesting about those different ends of the scale is how
you're going to actually be able to translate them across all those different areas
and customers with whatever handheld, whatever input device there's going to be as well.
We've talked about this in the past and
we've seen some of the images of potential controllers that Valve started looking at.
I think they recently said that the new controller they're potentially looking at would have a...
a touch screen on it or something like that, almost Wii U-esque.
Gabe said something the other day about... What was the phrase he used...?
When it's responsive to your heartbeat, your touch...
Oh, biometric.
That’s it.
He was talking about that being the main thing about the Valve-only, the flagship one,
is that it's going to have a controller like that, which would be really interesting to see,
especially for games like Left 4 Dead, which were kind of developed for this.
It'll probably, intergrate, you know, just as part of the game,
as like, an on/off option.
Sounds very ambitious. I'm not sure how central it's going to be.
I feel like other companies have tried to do similar things like...
I know that I can be a little out of it when it comes to the console stuff,
but I feel like there hasn't really been an adequate replacement for just...the controller.
Like, when the Wii came out, when the PS Vita...
anything that had these motion control things,
it was described as this big huge step forward in how you interact with your games,
and yet every single times I've played those games,
yeah they can be fun and they kinda add stuff,
but they've never, for me, replaced just having a controller that's very physical and responsive.
Anything that involves, like, motion, it feels very inconsequential
because you're just flailing your arms about and if the, you know,
if the console decides that you did it correctly, then it happens,
but there's no other feedback to it.
And I feel like, in general, all of these big controller "advancements"
really just never seem to pull off I would feel with just a regular NES controller.
It's probably more that developers are trying to innovate in the wrong areas.
That was the problem with the Wii where they were going,
"Oh look, it's very family-friendly!" yadda yadda yadda.
But nobody really asked for motion control.
Nobody's ever thinking, "Oh, I want this game to be more responsive to my physical movements."
Somebody just wants to play on a sofa eating a bag of crisps, you know, relaxing.
You don't want to be sitting there, swinging backwards and forwards,
which is why I'm more open to biometrics because it's just automatic stuff,
rather than something like a Wii-mote.
It's sort of the question of innovating forwards or backwards because
you have to remember Steam's back catalogue is pretty much its selling point at the moment,
the amount of games it's had over the years, so
do you go ahead and say this is what the future should be and innovate something new,
as we've just been talking about motion control,
or do you say we've got 2,000 games on Steam (or whatever it is now),
we should be working on making sure those are well-ported and well-supported
with the form we go forward with.
I don't want to have something which is going...
I want something that will let me play what I've already got
to the best of the abilities of whatever "Box" they bring out,
so I'd be interested to see, as it goes further down the line,
what sort of price points we're going to see,
varying models being like, one for your grandma, like you said, James,
or the one that's for a teenager.
It's obviously going to be a different scale there.
Fingers crossed we're going to see some more.
I find it really interesting that the first initial price point
for a Steam Box was possibly $1,000.
Well that's the one it's based off.
But consoles are nowhere near that.
Maybe we're just seeing how much a company will actually sell at a loss,
like how significantly they're willing to make that cut.
Or, at the same time, maybe that's what people are thinking that the next generation
of consoles will be worth.
And I believe Gabe said that they're going to be 3 different tiers,
for low, medium, and high.
Good, better, and best are the words I think he used in the Verge interview.
Yeah, that's interesting. Perhaps we'll throw it out to some people:
How much would you pay? What sort of price point would you be looking at?
I think $1,000's quite a lot, but we'd be interested to see what the viewers, the listeners
would pay for it and if they'd be interested in one.
But yeah, let us know in the comments below what you thought of this episode,
what you thought of the concept, and give us some feedback,
and ask us also what else you'd like us to talk about,
what other subjects coming up and you'd like us to talk about in the future.
So that's pretty much it from us guys.
That's...yeah. You guys want to say bye?
I think James should say bye; he does it every week.
Alright, alright...
Bye for now.
See, it seems really weird when it's just out of the blue, though.
You might notice he's nothing without script, everyone.
He needs a script.
I do! I can't do this! This is awful! Just someone tell me what to say!
It's improve, James, jeez!