Gabe Newell on the “artificial” distinction between living rooms and PCs: “We don’t think there’s any reasons why these are islands”

Steam Big Picture Mode

The dividing line between console diehards and us inconsolable PC types, we’ve long been told, is as much social as it is technical. Xbox gamers freeze-frame high five their chums in the lounge, while we quietly enact solitary fistpumps alone in the study. Not so, says Gabe Newell. It doesn’t have to be that way. Piston? Steam’s Big Picture Mode? They’re designed to put paid to that wrongheaded idea.

“We thought the distinction between living rooms and PCs was artificial,” Newell told the Nerdist podcast.

“That’s why we did 10-foot [Big Picture Mode], and why we’re putting 10-foot into our games onto Linux. We don’t think there’s any reasons why these are islands. We don’t think you have a different set of friends when you go into your living room… We think you can extend the PC totally to be in the living room.”

What’s more, Valve’s hardware plans will include input devices that offer “the control and preciseness that you’re used to with a mouse and a keyboard, except in a mobile-friendly, living room friendly way.”

Newell also divulged that, as suspected, Valve are able to plunge into the notoriously expensive realm of hardware because of the huge piles of cash that fill their various Bellevue basements.

“At this point, we think that all of the margin, all of the profitability has been stolen out of [hardware],” said Newell.

“Dell has terrible margins, Razer has terrible margins, and we’re super profitable, so we need to start taking some of that and feeding it back into more speculative investments, like [the wearable computing] project or the controllers. So that’s the big picture version of it.”

What do you think of Valve’s big picture thinking? Are you ready to vacate your stereotypically swivelly chair for a comfier, if disappointingly static, couch?

Thanks to both Games Industry and Develop.