Gaming legend John Carmack recently took the stage at Nvidia’s Montreal conference where he talked a bit on the subject of Valve and their upcoming Steam Machines. He whole-heartedly admitted to being wrong about the fate of the company’s digital distribution platform many years ago but he doesn’t believe Steam Machines will be met with an equal amount of success.
Way back before Steam launched on Windows in 2003, Valve approached Carmack’s Id Software with the idea of adding Doom 3 to the Steam launch lineup. Carmack and company both thought Valve was a bit crazy as the idea of tying yourself to a ‘notional’ digital distribution platform was, well, crazy. Of course, we all know how that ultimately played out for Valve.
With Steam Machines on the horizon, Carmack said he is afraid he may be at the same point right now where he is questioning Valve much like he did before. Perhaps in 10 years, they will look like brilliant prophets once again but for now, it all seems a little dicey, Carmack said. He pointed out that if it was any other company, he would be pseudo-scornful but since it is Valve, he isn’t.
Valve officially announced Steam Machines late last month as a hardware beta. They are working with multiple hardware partners to deliver a variety of gaming machines to the market starting early next year running the company’s own operating system, SteamOS. It’s certainly a risky venture but if anyone can make it happen over the long-term, it’s Valve.