updated 10:53 pm EST, Wed January 30, 2013
Steam founder fears Apple-curated living room gaming environment
Steam founder and game developer Gabe Newell gave a speech at the University of Texas on Wednesday where the luminary claimed that Apple -- not Microsoft or Sony -- were the biggest threat to the company's upcoming "Steam Box" PC-based hardware. Newell believes that if Apple makes a move on the living room before the PC industry gets a foothold, then the Cupertino manufacturer can "shut out the open-source creativity" possible with the Steam platform.
"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. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging."
In regards to Microsoft and Sony, Newell claimed that "Apple rolls the console guys really easily. 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?"
The Apple TV and its OS are derivatives of the iPhone and iPad operating system, but limited in what it can execute. Hardware on the Apple TV is more limited that existing mobile offerings, and is a single-core A5 processor. A future update to the Apple TV could contain more similar hardware to the iPad or iPhone, possibly making it a viable option for the living room, when coupled with some kind of wireless controller.
Extant hacks for the device add the potential for savvy users to install additional apps on the Apple TV. Media front-end replacements are most common, but apps that can be installed include emulators for popular consoles from the nineties, as well as a arcade hardware emulator and even the ability to run some iOS games and other apps not originally intended for the platform.