Can the Steam Box Compete with Xbox and PlayStation?

Nabil Moufid asks:

Do you think the Steam Box will be able to compete with the new PlayStation and Xbox when it comes out?

SteamI believe that it could trigger the next generation of console wars. It’s been over five years since the last time the consoles really locked horns, and new devices such as the Wii U are certainly starting to shake things up.

The next generation console war would have two new members in the field, each using a Linux-based operating system to compete directly with the long-standing titans in the console world. Ouya and Steam Box bring a lot of interesting ideas to the table. Ouya, powered by Android, has all the potential to bridge the gap between mobile games available on Android or iOS and console games which have largely been shared between the television and a PC’s monitor. The idea of bringing games made for tablets and smartphones to a console puts the Ouya in a position to compete.

Valve has arguably changed the way games are made and marketed. Independent developers have a chance of having their creations appear on PCs around the world where the old big box store method of distribution excluded all but the wealthiest distribution houses in the business. Consoles have thus far been a challenge for game developers. You can purchase and download a game entirely online on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but porting these games to the PC means a little extra effort on the part of the developers.

With Ouya, a game made for Android works on a console. If you program the game right, the experience between the two will be practically seamless. This makes life easier for the developer and the consumer since they won’t necessarily have to wait for a port to be made — if one is going to be made at all.

Steam’s deployment into the world of Linux is a strategic move that promises to make PC-class games compatible with a console. Porting the game from a Linux desktop to the Steam Box becomes a trivial matter. This is good for Linux users as it means the potential of blockbuster games heading to the platform improves. It’s a win for Steam Box owners because they get to take advantage of a significant catalog of games made for the PC without having to give up the console form factor they’ve come to love.

Either way, the next two years are certainly going to be very exciting for console gamers.