Valve Boss Says Apple Is The Biggest Threat To Video Games

Microsoft and Sony are small potatoes in the video game market, and they'll go down fast once Apple gets interested.

At least, that's what Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told students at the University of Texas, which is why the company is attempting to integrate the PC and living room with its upcoming line-up of Steam-powered hardware.

"I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily," said Newell, according to Polygon. The "console guys," of course, being Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

More and more PC-oriented developers seem to agree with Newell's assessment, and they're trying to escape the confines of the computer tower by breaking into the living room. Valve announced partnerships with multiple hardware manufacturers to build game systems centered on its online service Steam. The company's own Linux-based Steam Box is intended to expand the service's Big Picture mode into televisions. Meanwhile, NVIDIA also revealed Project Shield, a handheld gaming system capable of streaming console-quality games (including titles from Steam).

The question is: Will these PC-oriented alternatives catch on? And even if they do, will they be able to stop Apple's forward march?

"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," said Newell. "The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"

Referring to all the Steam-powered PC hardware that will eventually make it into the living room, Newell said that in the future it's going to have seemed a natural evolution.

"It's like one of those things where afterwards it will seem like it was very simple, when beforehand, everyone sort of denied that it was possible."

Newell is not a proponent of Apple's closed ecosystem, and he's worried that if the Cupertino-based company gets too large of a foothold, it will effectively box out open-source options that Steam has promoted since its inception.

But it's going to be a tough slog for Valve, which, leaving Apple behind for a minute, doesn't even own anywhere near the mindshare that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Still, Newell reiterated that he's not worried about the traditional console makers nearly as much.

"The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," he said. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple movies on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

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