Valve’s Steambox Is a Serious Contender in the Console Wars

New virtual reality mode reveals the breadth and depth of the platform.

Jan 22, 2014 at 3:00PM

A new test version of Valve's Steam OS includes a virtual reality (VR) mode. Fool contributor Tim Beyers says it's another reason to think of the company's forthcoming Steambox as a serious contender in the console wars in in the following video.

VR isn't for everyone, obviously. But some of the most exciting games at CES 2014 were playable in VR mode -- none more so than Oculus Rift, which captivated playtesters and journalists alike. That Steam is now heading for seamless playability of such an advanced game speaks to the potential for the Steambox, Tim argues.

What's more, the device purports to be completely open and upgradable. That's a big departure from what we've seen in the traditional console market, where each system is self-contained and publishers work years to tailor each game to a specific platform. Think of Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Rockstar Games, which had invested far too much code and time in Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 to even consider making a version of Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PS4 and Xbox One.

Steam won't change the dynamics of the console market overnight, of course. But in making an open, upgrade system capable of handling a huge volume of console and PC games, Valve could change what gamers expect, and in turn, how publishers serve them.

Do you agree? Did you get a chance to see the Steambox prototypes or Oculus Rift at CES 2014? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know how you see Valve impacting the gaming industry in the years to come.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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