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

By Tim Beyers – Jan 22, 2014 at 3:00PM

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

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 (TTWO 0.28%) 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.

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. 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.

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