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It's Apple vs Steam Box in the eyes of Valve's co-founder

Apple TV vs. Steam Box
Imagine if they both came together to release the MacSteamy

It's full-steam ahead for Valve's Steam Box console, but the company's transition from the PC room to the living room may find Apple standing in the way of its success.

"The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share," said Valve Co-Founder Gabe Newell to a recent University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs class.

According to the comments picked up by Polygon, the Half-Life 2 developer feels as if "[Apple] has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform."

Whether it's Apple iTV or another Trojan Horse video game device, Newell sees a scenario in which the Cupertino company introduces a "dumbed-down living room platform."

Seeing the 'Big Picture Mode'

Once again, Apple is seen by a company as a major contender, despite the fact that it doesn't have any video game hardware in a single gamer's living room yet.

"I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily," said Newell, backing up the Steam Box's console-killer potential even if we see Xbox 720 and PS4 launch in the next several months.

"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?"

Valve's progress has already begun with the launch of Big Picture Mode (BPM) for its Steam service. BPM optimizes the PC game-running software for the living room.

Likewise, Steam is already an indie-friendly platform for aspiring video game developers. This is something Apple has done well, too - albeit with a $100 (UK£63, AU$95) annual iOS developer program fee.

Steam Box vs. Nvidia Project Shield

Apple isn't the only competition that Newell sees for Valve's Steam Box. He specifically names Nvidia as a PC hardware company that's also looking to gain a living room foothold.

"I think a whole bunch of hardware companies are going to be releasing products in the next 12 months," predicted Newell. "You'll hear it referred to as Miracast, [Project] Shield from Nvidia, or lots of other people."

"There are going to be a huge set of products that say, 'If you want something that's incredibly cheap, at a price point well below anything that consoles will be able to reach, you're going to take advantage of the PC that's running somewhere in your house.'"

It's at this point that Newell makes his strongest argument for the Steam Box being the best grown-up gaming device for the living room.

"[Gamers will] say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, Oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently.'

"'Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room,'" Newell said of a gamers' thought process - making the choice seem so one-sided and easy.

Matt Swider

US Editor-in-Chief

Matt Swider is TechRadar's gadget-savvy, globe-trotting US Editor-in-Chief who leads the US team in New York City. He began his tech journalism career all the way back in 1999 at the age of 14, and first started writing for TechRadar in 2012. He's tested over 1,000 phones, tablets and wearables and commands a Twitter account of 777,000+ followers. Matt received his journalism degree from Penn State University and is never seen without his TechRadar headphones.