Valve have incredibly ambitious plans for their upcoming Steambox. Whether you love PC gaming or hate it you'd be hard pressed to argue that it's living room friendly, affordable and accessible. So with the Steambox Valve want to make a small PC that fits in your living room, that is powerful enough to not require an in depth knowledge of PC upgrading and cheap enough to bridge the gap between console gamers and PC gamers. It certainly sounds like a seriously good idea, who doesn't want all of the above to happen?
Sorry Gabe, its a waste of time.
It just won't work. One of the big issues with PC gaming is cost, it can cost around a grand to custom build a PC that can play games on high settings and last as long as a console cycle without upgrades. This is why I don't have a gaming PC. Valve can't fix this because to make PC gaming accessible you need a PC that won't need upgrading for a whole console generation (its console gamers Valve want) but to do that it has to cost a lot. This means that the Steambox either can't be affordable enough to attract console gamers or it can't be accessible enough to attract console gamers.
The other thing is that they want it to be living room friendly. Now most people I know, myself included, have more than enough space in their living rooms to hide a PC, whether its ugly or not, and to plug it into their TV. So why do we need a special computer to do this? Sure some people don't have space or don't want a big PC in their living room but this market can't be big enough to sustain the Steambox.
Don't get me wrong PC gamers/Gabe Newell lovers, I really like PC gaming and I'm endlessly envious of those who can afford it and I do worship Gabe Newell as a God but its hard for me to not see the Steambox as anything but a terrible idea and a waste of money. Maybe Valve's success has gone to their heads. After all they are bigger now than ever and in terms of both Steam and their games they are one of the most critically acclaimed companies in the games industry. I think they need to come back down to earth, think about things and realise that they aren't bulletproof.