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Apple may soon have a new competitor

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Description: Valve is going native—Mac native

Valve, the software developer of games like Half-Life and creator of the gaming network called Steam, is poised to take Apple head on. The company recently unveiled plans to release a set-top box gaming PC, possibly akin to Apple’s Mac Mini, that will be geared toward garners. It is being dubbed the “Steam Box.”

The software company wants to work with other manufacturing partners that have experience in hardware in order to get the project off the ground.

What makes this an interesting move is it would help address the hardware fragmentation problem among PC garners. This would also attract more developers to PC gaming and create a system that serves as the go-to entertainment center past just gaming.

There are so many different PC specs that developers have to cater to and allow for setting optimization that it turns off many studios from PC development. The fact that some users constantly upgrade video cards and other specs also creates this atmosphere of fragmentation.

The other thing to consider is that Valve could take their Steam network and include more than just games on it. Valve could literally challenge Apple and the App Store with this network outside of the mobile space. Apple is expected to eventually include some sort of App Store compatibility in future Apple TV hardware versions and in the upcoming TV set called iTV.

Valve would be taking on not just the Mac Mini, but the Apple TV and iW all with a single device. Howeve, this top-set PC box may not be competitively priced if it is trying to attract gamers by sporting the latest specs.

Reports indicate that Valve wants it to remain free from upgrade for a few years, so it probably has some pretty beefy specs, and may be a hard sell for people looking to only spend less than a grand for a Mac Mini or a bit over a hundred $ for an Apple T’I.

The other speculation is that Valve wants to attract console garners or casual garners to the platform that is being dominated by PC enthusiasts who build their own machines. This means Valve wouldn’t have to worry about having the latest specs, just development support of the specs that will be included.

It should be pointed out that this is still a rumor, but the idea of taking on the Mac Mini and the Apple 1V may be quite tempting for companies like Valve.

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