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Sony's Steam Machine?
Salvatos commented on 13 November 2018 at 7:22 pm UTC

So there's little point to this thread and no hope that this will happen, but I had a bit of a shower thought last night. Just curious to hear people's thoughts.

I've been hearing that Sony has gotten pretty aggressive with exclusivity and non-cross-platform multiplayer. Microsoft is buying up studios and still working on its lock-in store. Valve is still trying to prop up Linux as a viable platform. And we have companies like Atari who are still looking at gaming on Linux from the hardware perspective.

How amazing would it be if someone managed to convince Sony to open up a bit and ally themselves with Valve to spite Microsoft? I don't know how feasible it would be to allow cross-play with SteamOS and/or Linux specifically without creating a backdoor for Windows players. But there's another thing.

We know that the PS3 used to be able to run Linux. How much of a stretch would it be to get a PlayStation that can run SteamOS on a separate partition or external drive, so you could play some PC games on your console, and console games on a desktop environment? For the latter, Sony would either need to push devs to port to Linux or actually start using Linux themselves as their main environment, or using some kind of virtual machine or streaming you could launch PS games via the desktop environment and "alt-tab" between the two. With Proton, you could even end up playing Windows exclusives, past and current, on a PlayStation. Now that's something I'd love to see Microsoft's reaction to (lawsuits, probably). You would get a powerful, streamlined gaming rig at a mass production price with Sony exclusives and the ability to do serious desktop computing, all in one machine that can take input from mouse and keyboard, a dualshock or a Steam controller (or any other device that works via the Linux OS).

I don't expect Sony to go for something like that, but if someone managed to talk them into it, at a glance it seems like it would threaten Microsoft's position significantly and be a boon for Linux.

qptain Nemo commented on 14 November 2018 at 2:21 am UTC

I don't see why Sony would want any of this. They're really good and smart about their exclusives, they're already beating Microsoft afaik so why would they complicate, blur and open up their brand and product? You see PlayStation becoming partially an open computer as good thing. They wouldn't, I think. Extra complexity for the end users, extra support workload, extra security considerations, extra everything. Besides, the customers have spoken. They clearly don't care about any of this as they're happily buying the consoles and game copies locked to those consoles. I don't see Sony risking all this and trying to fix what ain't broken (from their POV, of course, I don't like closed pointless platforms that could be proper computers but aren't).

I don't doubt Sony could side with Linux against MS, they probably would in a heartbeat, but it'd have to actually to provide them with some actual gain, give them something they don't already have. I.e. money, substantial PR or leverage.

Arguably the most important problem with all this is that you want them to concede that computers are better than consoles. And that goes against their current business model, which works out for them amazingly.

damarrin commented on 14 November 2018 at 9:03 am UTC

What Sony could do and it would make sense is move game production of PS games from Windows to Linux, diminishing Windows' dominance in the long run. They're not in the PC space any more, and they will be better able to compete with Xbox if MS isn't able to soak up any and all losses from their game parts in other very well performing parts of their business. AFAIK Sony isn't doing so great outside of the PS division and if it isn't working out for them at any point in the future they're much more likely to just drop it.

Avehicle7887 commented on 14 November 2018 at 1:49 pm UTC

Technically the PS4 can already run Linux: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ontATSZ_zvs

All Sony has to do is to support it in a more open way and the community will do the rest.

Salvatos commented on 14 November 2018 at 7:58 pm UTC

qptain NemoI don't doubt Sony could side with Linux against MS, they probably would in a heartbeat, but it'd have to actually to provide them with some actual gain, give them something they don't already have. I.e. money, substantial PR or leverage.

Arguably the most important problem with all this is that you want them to concede that computers are better than consoles. And that goes against their current business model, which works out for them amazingly.
Console dominance has always seemed like a fickle thing to me. The WiiU for instance seemed like a pretty bad phase for Nintendo, though the Switch seems to have allowed them to recover. I agree that I can't imagine Sony making a move like this on its own, but if Microsoft managed to gain an edge by consolidating their PC and console experience and gaining a strong next-gen launch through all the studios they're acquiring, they might be more amenable to opening up instead of getting crushed trying to do their own thing.

Thinking back on it, my original thought was actually just to allow Linux ports of their exclusive titles but not Windows ports, through some kind of partnership with Valve. But even if they got a cut of those sales, it would further diminish the appeal of the console, so they would need to be pretty desperate and wanting to save their studios at the expense of their console, I imagine.

damarrin commented on 14 November 2018 at 9:10 pm UTC

Yeah, that’ll make no sense to Sony. At least in their case, saying “only on Playstation” is actually true. They really need to put those franchises to work for them.

damarrin commented on 14 November 2018 at 9:17 pm UTC

I mean, obviously only Sony would say “only on Playstation”; what I was referring to was MS saying “only on Xbox” generally meaning both of their platforms (and thus, by Wine, Linux as well), which simply just dilutes exclusivity.

The more I think about it the more I believe the way to go (by Sony or someone else interested in reducing Windows’ dominance) would be to position Linux as a viable and ultimately the best platform to make games. It’s all about developers, as MS have taught us, after all. :-)

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