Console Gaming is Expensive
This is a future I can get behind, and I think that Valve is one of the only companies that can pull it off. Right now, people are having to invest thousands of dollars into platforms that get completely replaced after a few years. Console gamers, and the marketing behind it, think that buying a PC is ridiculously expensive, so they buy an Xbox or PlayStation instead.
But, let's say you've purchased an Xbox 360 when it launched. There goes $500+, and between that launch and now, you've acquired, say, 50 games. At an average of $50 or so each, you've spent $2500 on games. If we take into consideration the purchase of a 50-inch (or so) TV, you're looking at an investment of $4000 or so. This doesn't take into account headphones, or speakers for your console - so I'm going to presume you're using the super basic speakers baked into your TV.
Now, you've just noticed the Xbox One is here - rushing out and buying it, you spend $800 to get the console and three games. Your Xbox 360 goes to the side and your Xbox One gets 90% of the playtime. Until you realize that you only have two or three games for the Xbox One, and get bored after you've finished them.
But, your Xbox One cannot play your Xbox 360 games, so you have to have two consoles plugged into your TV, with a slew of games hanging out everywhere, controllers placed all over the place, constantly switching between the consoles. That is, however, unless you don't use your Xbox 360 anymore, and that investment is now done.
You begin spending hundreds of dollars on games, which turns into thousands of dollars over the years. Your Xbox 360 is boxed, and never used again, or possibly even sold second hand. But, if you had a PC, you wouldn't have needed to have done any of that.
Subscription-Based Steam Box: Come At Me, Bro
This is something that I've talked about in great length here on TweakTown, to people within the industry, friends of mine, and I even talked about it with consumers at my day job selling custom PCs before I started at TweakTown.
A subscription-based Steam Box, or Steam Machine, would kill consoles. Yes, it's a broad statement, but hear me out.
I've just explained how console gaming is expensive, you're looking at around $500 for the initial investment of the console hardware, without additional controllers, and then the TV. Games are around $50 each, without taking into account you might buy them second hand, or wait for them to drop in price when they're on special.
Now, let's consider subscription-based payments. Imagine being able to buy that Xbox One from Microsoft, for say, $25 per month. No more dumping down $499 at launch, or after launch, but just $25 per month.
Look at what Spotify, and other services like it, have done to the music industry. Millions of people that use to pirate music, now purchase a subscription for music, having millions upon millions of songs at their fingertips for $9.99 per month. Gone are the days of spending $15, $20, $25 or more on a single album, when you can spend one-third of that and have a subscription to millions of albums, songs, and so much more.
Now imagine a world of subscription-based gaming. What would you do if Valve unveiled three new Steam Boxes next year, at three different price points? For $399, you would get a Steam Box capable of 1080p 30FPS gaming, or $20 per month. For $599 you'd get a Steam Box capable of pumping out 1080p at 60FPS, or $30 a month. And finally, a Steam Box that could do 4K 30FPS, or 1080p at 120FPS, or 1080p at 60FPS with 3D enabled, for $999, or $50 per month.
It sounds crazy, but how would that not work? The biggest issue would be the financial side of things, where Valve would need to have either very big pockets to sustain millions of people taking credit with them, investors who would provide this, or they'd need to go down some other unknown route. I'm sure Valve could offer this with some very large loans, which I'm sure they could acquire, but it would need to be done with a very large launch - and Steam Box, Steam Controller, Steam OS and Steam Machines, are just that. But, it could be much bigger, and I'm going to tell you why.
I've said this before in various editorials, but I believe that Half-Life 3 is the key to Valve moving into a massive new direction, something that truly excites me.
Imagine if Valve were to not only announce Half-Life 3, but to announce its launch on Steam Box as a launch title. The Xbox One and PS4 had lame launch titles, with nothing truly game-changing, nor did they have huge IP to launch with the next-gen consoles. There was no truly next-gen Halo, or Gran Turismo to launch with the new consoles.
Valve, on the other hand, has Half-Life 3 that it could launch, alongside Team Fortress 3, and Left 4 Dead 3, which would have the gaming world ecstatic. Better yet, announcing a Steam Box that can be purchased on a subscription level, at a minimum of $20 per month, with those three games included for free - it couldn't get any better than Valve giving everything away for free.
If Valve could indeed launch the Steam Box and everything Steam-related on subscription, it could change everything. Hardware partners in every sector, such as Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Corsair, and everyone in between, right down to peripheral makers like TT eSports, Razer and countless others, would all benefit from this.
Big name companies could deal directly with Valve, selling Valve-approved Steam Machines through Valve's subscription model. This could have gamers buying the higher-end $1000+ Steam Machines on payment plans, which would have the true PC resurgence everyone is expecting.
So many other sites and publication state that PC isn't dying, and that sales are fine - but what if they could be better, much better? The introduction of a subscription-based gaming system from someone like Valve is a game-changer. A true game-changer, unlike these seriously underpowered 'next-gen' consoles.
PRICING: You can find Watch Dogs for PC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: Watch Dogs for PC retails for $29.95 at Amazon.
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