I read a review the other day that got me thinking about what my next console is going to be. I discussed how one of my fundamental questions for a new console is around Dragon Age Inquisition, and how it isn’t going to allow for me to necessarily bring my save game world forward in the form of an import.
I’ve also talked about the fundamental question, do I buy a PC just to game with? Holly and I talk about how we have an Apple ecology in our home, and our main Microsoft product is our X-Box 360. A good one to have, to be sure, and with enough content for the moment to carry us out at least another year – and add to that the games we’re waiting to buy when the price drops, and a few remaining releases for the system like Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Lightning Returns, and what do we need a new console for anytime soon? Or the games we could play instead on a PC?
While I had heard about the existence of the Steam Console elsewhere, it was this article on Gamemoir that really got me thinking: http://gamemoir.com/2013/10/08/can-valves-steam-machine-rock-the-console-market/ Maybe this is more than just an interesting new device from Valve. Maybe this is my next console.
Console or PC?
The main reason I love consoles is that when I throw in the disc, it works. I have had all sorts of install problems over the years – my first Diablo 2 install disc didn’t work, Neverwinter Nights had default settings too low to play the game… I anticipated, saved money, bought games, and had them not work and be useless.
So I like consoles because they work for me. And to get a PC that I would be sure could always work too would cost a lot of money. So I’m just not sure it’s the priority.
So, on the one hand, the Steam Box absolutely sounds like the cross between a PC and a console. However, will it have the play-from-disc simplicity of other consoles? Will it mainly – or entirely – be the online store? How much hard drive space will it have? I could look up these specs online, I’m sure, but they’ll change between now and release, so for now, my questions have more to do with just the sorts of questions I will be asking myself as I consider this option.
Multiplayer and Co-Op
Because I like it as an option. Having access to games that haven’t made it to the Mac or X-Box arcade yet – like Torchlight II – will be excellent. However, will they make games like this function more like a console, in terms of multiplayer? Will I be able to split-screen – something you can’t really do on a PC? Or will this be a console with no local multiplayer? Or none until people start developing things specifically for the console?
We like our single-player games, don’t get me wrong. I just beat Bioshock Infinite. But, in part, it took this long because I only played it when Holly wasn’t around, to avoid spoilers. This is the minor downside of multiple gamers in the house.
If there is no local multiplayer, will this console be able to beat out the others for Holly and I? Probably not.
However, this is part of what holds back a PC purchase for me as well – because most of the games I am interested in are multiplayer, or MMOs even. And so really, we would need to get two PCs, to be able to play games together. So it’s not much different of a scenario, except I bet the console is much cheaper.
Here is the major selling point, however, for me right now: the Steam Box should be backwards compatible. I see no reason why you couldn’t go into the store and just buy games that are on Steam now – which is a huge library.
Meaning all of a sudden, this would be a console with a release of titles much, much larger than the competition. Even if you take out games that won’t work on the controller – if there are any like this, we’ll see how they do mapping games onto it – this will still be an overwhelming number of games.
And, tying in to my current thoughts on a new console, this is the console that would be backwards compatible with Dragon Age Inquisition. I would have to re-play Origins, and finally beat a playthrough of Dragon Age II, but then I could then import those right into Inquisition.
So I’ve done a little looking through the Steam store. I’m finding some of my favorite old RPGs – Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge, Might & Magic VI – and I’m excited. Then, there’s new games, like the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year edition. So I could keep up with the new games, and then get my hands on the old ones for nostalgia. And for cheap!
What’s not to love? If they pull this off in a way that works – as a console, and not just a PC on a TV – then this may very well be my next console!