With the big PlayStation 4 event now in the past, the video game industry is waiting for Microsoft to make its next move with the Xbox 720, codenamed Durango. Entering what's sure to be a crowded market in 2013, the company says it doesn't see Valve as much of a threat when compared to Sony, Nintendo, Apple and Google.
Microsoft's President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick was asked if he considers Valve's upcoming Steam Box machines competitors to the Xbox 720, and his response was surprisingly straightforward.
"No," he said, according to The Verge. "The scale of products and things that are being brought to market are probably a little bit richer when I look at Sony, Nintendo, Apple, and Google."
In January, Microsoft executive Phil Harrison made similar comments regarding Valve's hardware ambitions.
"Entering the hardware business is a really tough business," he said. "You have to have great fortitude to be in the hardware business and you have to have deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet. It's not possible for every new hardware entrant to get to scale."
Despite his view on Valve, Mattrick tried to be diplomatic about his comment, and affirmed his admiration for the company and its founder.
"I love Gabe [Newell], I was there for his lifetime achievement award so it's wonderful to see what they're creating," he added.
Interestingly enough, Newell himself made news in January when he said that Apple alone was the biggest threat to the game industry. It would "roll" Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft "easily."
"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," Newell said. "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?"
One way to do that is to allow small-time developers the chance to self-publish their games on console services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, much as Valve does on Steam and Apple does on the App Store. As of now, though, it doesn't seem like Microsoft is ready to fully commit to that kind of approach.
"There's a certain level of technical and production competency that people have to get through because we're trying to curate great experiences," Mattrick said. "We're trying to make sure that what exists upon our service on our system is done to a quality level and has interest for people who are likely to use it."
Not much is known about the Xbox 720 just yet, but current rumors pin the big reveal for some time in April.