The big three console manufacturers of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are facing new competition in the form of smaller, lighter, less-capable set-top-boxes designed to play casual games or stream games from cloud-based servers.
The two main contenders are Ouya, an Android-powered console funded on Kickstarter, and the Steam Box, a platform controlled by Valve with hardware released in several different flavors.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft Studios exec Phil Harrison welcomed the new contenders, saying:
“Any new entrant, without being specific to any company or brand or product, to the games industry is ultimately a good thing, because it helps validate, grow and enhance consumer excitement and consumer interest in our category. So, ultimately, it’s a win for everybody.”
Some words of encouragement, which is nice. However, Harrison also issued a word or two of warning, stating that “the hardware business is a really tough business,” and that to succeed you need “deep pockets and a very strong balance sheet.”
It remains to be seen whether either Ouya or the Steam Box will disrupt the industry, but it’s good to see someone at least trying.