Thursday, 17 January 2013

Will 2013 be the year TV Console gaming changed forever?

We’ve already seen TV-Top gaming creep into the living room with the release of the OnLive TV console, and we've heard of the proposals to include streamed on-line gaming options in future TV-Top Video-Streaming media devices…

But, with both Google and Steam getting ready to release their own TV-Top games consoles, should we all be looking forwards to the advent of a completely new wave of, console-like, gaming?


Steam’s big picture…

Team has already introduced their ‘Big Picture Mode’ into the existing software client, and this is unashamedly intended to be used on TV’s with a game-pad type of controller.
So Steam is already looking to get away from its computer-only image?
And what really is Steam’s Big Picture?

Well, the Steam Box console is initially set for release in 2013 and is a customised Linux powered black-box device that will let you download and play the steam catalogue through a TV.
But it’s more than this...
The Steam service will be a ‘One Stop Shop’ where your computer-based profile will also be instantly available through your TV, via the Steam Box.
Will this lead to a dramatic resurgence of the PC as a leading gaming platform?
I don’t know, but by its open and upgradable (hardware and software) nature, PC gaming has always been at the bleeding-edge of technical ability and innovation.
Steam has also always encouraged Indy development as well as keeping a good back-catalogue of older games in circulation.
So a system like the steam console may result in a markedly increased interest in all types of PC games, not limited to the current generation of big-sellers, and personally I think that can only be a good thing for the games industry and for gamers.

Oooh yah, another Top-TV console!

The other heavy-hitter looks set to be the OUYA.

This is an Android based system that is also due to be released sometime in 2013, this time through the Kick-Starter project.

The OUYA console will be able to download games from the Google Play and Amazon Apps stores out-of-the-box.
So like the Steam Box it will have a vast range of software available on launch.
Because this existing software resource is so diverse the OUYA’s main controller is set to be a bit of a hybrid affaire. This has a combination of two analogue joysticks, a D-Pad, and eight buttons, as well as a touch-pad. All of which are built into a light-weight wireless hand-held device.

 OUYA specs:

  • Processor:       Tegra3 Quad-Core
  • Memory:          1GB RAM, 8GB Flash
  • Video:              1080p HD HDMI
  • Network:          WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Comms:            1x USB 2.0, LE 4.0 Bluetooth
  • System:            Android 4.0 (Ice-Cream Sandwich)
Although there is bound to be some crossover, I don’t think the OUYA and the Steam Box are going to appeal to exactly the same markets, and with a possible sub £100 price-tag for each, many people may purchase both.

I’m not entirely sure what 2013 and beyond will bring to console gaming, but surely the release of systems like these, and possibly their imitators, will have some effect on the next generation of ‘traditional’ consoles released by Sony, Microsoft, and possibly Nintendo.

I think on-line is definitely already on its way, whether we like it or not.
What do you think?

1 comment:

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