John Carmack Expresses Doubts About Valve’s SteamOS, Steam Machines

Id Software co-founder and Oculus Rift guy John Carmack says that he is not convinced that Valve Software can pull off the lofty goals of SteamOS and Steam Machines – while at the same time admitting that he has been very wrong in the past about what Valve is capable of.

"There's an interesting kind of retrospective on it," Carmack said during Nvidia’s Montreal conference.

He also pointed out the time when Valve approached Id Software about adding Doom 3 to Steam's launch lineup.

"We basically said, 'Are you crazy? This would be nuts to try to kind of tie yourselves to this little, notional digital distribution platform.' But clearly, Valve has played a good, strong, long game," Carmack said.

Nevertheless, Carmack said that he wasn't convince that Valve can push a Linux-based operating system for games into the main stream.

"I'm afraid that I may be at that same point right now where I'm like, 'Making your own sort of little console OS? Are you crazy?' And, you know, maybe 10 years from now, they're going to look like brilliant prophets again with it." But Carmack said, "it still seems a little bit dicey to me, getting everything moved over to Linux, pushing from that side of things. Still, Valve's track record is evidence that the company may just be able to pull it off. If it was some other random company, I would be pseudo-scornful, but it's Valve, so I'm not."

The discussion can be watched in the video to your left at the 29:49 mark.

Source: Verge

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  1. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Performance is still going to be heavily taxed on streaming setups, seeing as how more powerful systems will stream better anyway, and it's still primarily affected by internet speeds.

    And internet speeds are horrendous.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    No, they didn't figure that out – that's not my point though.  My point is, why would I change my setup to a new OS I'd have to learn to something that's likely to have the same compatibility problems, if not more?  It's not that it costs less, since I can transfer my Windows 7 license; it's not PC performance, due to it being yet another distro that needs drivers; it isn't compatibility, since, for all its problems, Windows beats every Linux distro out there in this regard, and likely always will.

  3. 0
    Deadagent says:

    I'm not sure if steamOS will change pc gaming completely away from Windows but I hope it does. That would pretty much mean I would finally say goodbye to windows on my machines. Although as soon as the support for windows xp stops I might have to do it anyway on one machine.

  4. 0
    slimeball9999 says:

    "We basically said, 'Are you crazy? This would be nuts to try to kind of tie yourselves to this little, notional digital distribution platform.'

    And I'm glad he thought that way and I wish others would. I was actually been able to enjoy Doom 3. Sadly, it was one of the very last games of that genre that wasn't Steamsclusive.

    Zenimax (owners of Id, and others) is one of the biggest sucklers-of-Valves-teet who refuses to contemplate releasing a non-Steamsclusive product, especially after having had some of the last great DRM-free products.

  5. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Actually, I would consider one.   I no longer get any joy from building my own gaming rigs, and more often then not just get frustrated since tech changes faster then my upgrade cycle and thus I need to sit down and learn what is good now, which brands have fallen/risen, which parts may or may not be compatible with each other, which will be powerfull enough for the games I want to play and what "powerful" even means at the moment.

    Then there is dealing with yet another version of windows where I have to figure out where everything is, and learn to maintain that version…

    So the idea of going to a company that is vetting its hardware/software combo for game, isn:t alienware, and getting a pre packaged solution that gets me access to Steam without all the hassle is pretty appealing.

    I sitll have a few years probably on my current rig (assuming I do not take a slegehammer to it), but if they take off I would seriously consider such a solution when the time comes.

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

     I don't see a Linux distro playing every game currently available on Steam

    They won't and Valve has said as much. That is why they are working on game streaming technology in order to stream those games without Linux builds from a connected Windows or Mac computer to the Steam OS.

    every game ever to come out on Steam perfectly on every hardware combo they have to anticipate

    Oh. Did they figure that out for Windows? 

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
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  7. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    At first, I was going to just chalk this up to Carmack being a douche, but then my Valve fanboyism subsided, and I realized that I've been saying the same thing since a de-facto Steambox was announced.

    I don't see the controller swaying anyone – gamers who don't want to use a controller will still use a KBM, period.  Wireless keyboards and mice work just fine on a chair or couch – I know; I've been using a Logitech mini-KBM for about five years now from my chair, with my gaming rig hooked into my home theater.

    The Steam Machine itself is another venture I just don't understand – who are they selling these to?  They aren't selling them to hardcore PC gamers – they'll make their own HTPC's for cheaper.  They aren't selling them to console gamers – they're too expensive to convert.  They aren't selling them to in-betweeners – any of them interested in PC gaming from their couch would have learned how to build a PC, or bought a pre-built, or bought a Walmart special for $300 and dropped a PSU and graphics card in it and called it good.

    And SteamOS, I don't even know what to say.  If it does HALF as much as Valve boasts, I'm all over it, but I'm a bit skeptical – I don't see a Linux distro playing every game currently available on Steam and every game ever to come out on Steam perfectly on every hardware combo they have to anticipate.  It just isn't going to happen.

  8. 0
    NyuRena says:

    The steam OS might be fantastic for the games it can play, (it should have less bloat taking up hardware use), but can it run non-steam games in the overlay? Will it have an MP3 player for background music?

    The steam box sounds ok for LAN parties, but I don't see a need for it in my general setups. 

    I really want to give that new controller a spin though! That could easily replace my 360 controller if it has Xpadder like functionality.

  9. 0
    Neeneko says:

    And yet general purpose PCs is exactly what we have been moving away from.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, which is probably why both have been in play for decades now.

    However, as the embedded world has gotten better at what it does, it has been bit by bit eroding the general purpose one.  Dumbed down can often meet people's use cases better then more complex general purpose devices, cases where the additional complexity does not actually do anything the user wants… and complexity for the sake of complexity is not a good enough reason for most users, esp if they feel it distracts from the device doing its intended job.

  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Streaming live games is just not going to work for another 10 years.

    We already have PCs we do not need another dumbed down lock box…

    The control is a horrible idea.




  11. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    I'll refrain from speculation until this is released.  However, Carmack feels old to me every time I read something from him.  Doom 3 was so long ago and wasn't even that good of a game.  I wish he would focus on making (good) games again instead of making comments about the industry.  Sure he's wealthy and can do whatever he wants, but he is wasting his talents.

    -- Left4Dead --

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