ImaJAN Media Network
MeltedJoystick Home
   Games  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
 
  Login Using Facebook
Twitter
 
     

Visionary Valve, Myopic Multitudes

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 02/14/21 at 03:26 PM CT

Valve, the parent company of the PC digital distribution service Steam, is still a privately-owned corporation, beholden not to the demands of shareholders, but to the whims of its visionary Big Boss, Gabe Newell, colloquially known to Steam fans as ‘Lord GabeN.’ Back when Steam launched in 2003, PC gaming was on its last legs, utterly unable to compete with consoles like the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube, with a number of PC-centric Western developers jumping on-board Microsoft’s PC-like Xbox for their biggest projects of the time.

But Valve ultimately proved that PC gaming wasn’t, in fact, dead, but suffering from numerous logistics issues, which Steam went a long way toward solving. While it got off to a bit of a slow start, before it was a decade old, “Steam” had become as synonymous with “PC gaming” as “Nintendo” had been synonymous with “console gaming” throughout the 1980s.

Steam, however, wasn’t GabeN’s only bright idea, and Valve has continued to promote and work on revolutionary gaming concepts… that ultimately don’t pan out in the market. Valve was, after all, a huge proponent of the amazing (but now discontinued) Razer Hydra motion controller. Valve was instrumental in the idea of having a gaming-first PC operating system in SteamOS, and console-analog form-factor PCs in Steam Machines. Valve’s Steam Controller broke the mold with its unorthodox trackpad technology, and, combined with the SteamInput API, went the last step in solving the afore-mentioned logistical problems that still lingered in PC gaming. Furthermore, Valve has been at the bleeding edge of Virtual Reality, first promoting the HTC Vive VR ecosystem, then going their own way with the top-of-the-line Valve Index headset, and finally releasing “Half-Life 3” (under the title “Half-Life: Alyx”) as a VR exclusive ‘system seller.’

Most recently, GabeN has spoken on the topic of brain-machine interfaces and how they will revolutionize gaming even beyond what current VR is trying to do. First broaching the subjectt in a 2020 interview, Newell returned to offer a few more details to kick-off 2021. Valve is collaborating with two other companies, OpenBCI and Tobii, to produce a Gen 1 brain-computer interface that will work with VR, dubbed ‘Galea.’

While details are sparse at the moment, GabeN’s enthusiastic gushing over the technology does have me intrigued. After all, who wouldn’t want a fully-immersive game experience partially powered by the player’s own imagination?

Oh, I know who: MOST PEOPLE!

The problem with all of Valve’s and GabeN’s visionary ideas for the future of gaming is that most gamers simply aren’t ready to move away from the tried-and-true. The motion controls offered by the Razer Hydra were FAR superior to anything offered by a mouse or joystick, but the tech simply proved unpopular – probably poisoned by its similarity to the Wii and its ‘too-casual-to-live’ ‘waggle’ games. The Steam Controller has been discontinued as well, with only vague hints from patent mining to indicate that a Rev. 2 is in production. Steam Machines flopped in the market, because PC gamers have a stupidly visceral hate reaction toward anything ‘prebuilt,’ while SteamOS is still chugging along, mostly providing improved Windows emulation to all Linux distributions via its Proton compatibility layer rather than becoming a version of Linux that isn’t a terrifying mass of convolution for gamers without neckbeards.

Not even VR has taken off, in spite of the glut of popular futurist fiction involving either full-immersion VR (“Ready Player One”) or highly complex Mixed-Reality (Star Trek’s holodecks). Sony hasn’t made any noise about a new PlayStation VR headset for the PlayStation 5. Microsoft, the founder of Mixed Reality with Hololens, doesn’t seem interested in pushing anything beyond the basics after the unfriendly reception of the Kinect initially being a forced peripheral for all XBONEs at launch.

Indeed, most gamers seem completely happy with the idea of sitting in their rut and playing the same old games, only with slightly better frame rates or resolutions (never both at the same time). They enjoy their rut in spite of the fact many of the most popular games they play are just begging to be unshackled and presented in a new, more immersive way. If a game is presented from a first-person view, it’s just inches away from a true VR experience, if only the audience would realize that and embrace new technology.

But, alas, they are not. The short-sighted masses enjoy their rut, and the profit-mongering corporate overlords in the Free Market thus have no reason to ‘waste’ development resources adding features that the vast majority of the audience will never use. Thus, we are left to hang our hopes for a more immersive future of gaming upon the handful of visionaries who are willing and able to lay the foundations for these technologies, so when the masses (or their corporate dictators) finally decide they’re ready, the hard work will already be done.

Share:    
MeltedJoystick Gaming Blog RSS Feed
Comments
1 comments
Name: 

Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   



 
View Matt's Profile

Matt

Wrote on02/18/21 at 07:36 PM CT

I also think that cost is a barrier to entry. If Valve’s Index was $250-300, it would be much more appealing, not to mention the cost associated with the GPU needed to drive the headset. Oculus seems to be approaching a lower bar with its newest attempt, and there does seem to be more interest. Anecdotally. I’ve heard my non-gamer friends talk about it, and one even bought it as a Christmas gift for his son. PC gaming is growing, so I am hopeful that Valve can innovate, and I hope it’s in this area.

Write on Profile +

Bloggers

Previous Blog Posts

Archive

All Posts

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

 
Log In
 
For members wanting to use FB to login, click here
remember me
 
 

What Members Are Doing

Comments about...

New Game Reviews

Mass Effect 3 game review by Nelson Schneider
Mass Effect 2 game review by Nelson Schneider
Mass Effect game review by Nelson Schneider
Strange Brigade game review by Chris Kavan
Satellite Reign game review by Chris Kavan
Watch Dogs 2 game review by Chris Kavan
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototy... game review by Hurain
Dead Cells game review by dbarry_22

New Game Lists

Games I Own: Switch by dbarry_22
Backlog by Nelson Schneider
Top PlayStation 4 Games by Megadrive
Top Game List by Jonzor
Top Game List by SIngli6
Top Game List by Barmak
My Backlog by Chris Kavan
Games I Want To Play by Shaneo99

 

 

 

Contact Us Public Relations MeltedJoystick Friends    

Advertise and Business

Contacts Us

Jobs

About us

SiteMap

 

Support Us

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use

Privacy

Hitfix.com

Amazon.com

OVGuide.com

   
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?