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Steam Machines aren't a "threat" to Xbox One, says Harrison - but it's "unclear" what Valve is doing

"I have great admiration for Valve. It has done some really smart things."

You might have heard of a little Valve project known as Steam Machines, announced last month - a set of swanky new PCs that are supposedly tailor-made for living room play, created in partnership with various manufacturers and down for release from 2014 onwards. Is Microsoft worried by this not-unanticipated attempt on the part of Half-Life's creators to wrest away dominance of the spot beneath your telly? The answer appears to be no.

"I don't think it's a threat," European studios chief Phil Harrison told MCV UK in the mag's latest issue, out today. "I have great admiration for Valve. It has done some really smart things. The Steam platform for one. They're based close to our HQ in Seattle. We have a good relationship with it.

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"We think the Xbox One business model, developer ecosystem and retail support, will make our platform very successful," he went on, but added "it is unclear to me, until I see Valve's product and understand all of their announcements, exactly what they are doing."

Valve has yet to reveal a final Steam Machine design, or share precise release details. It has, however, taken what could be considered a thinly veiled pop at Microsoft's "all in one" next generation Xbox mantra, countering that "entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world".

Harrison isn't fazed by this. "The one thing that is exciting about the Steam announcement is that it demonstrates clearly that the centre of gravity for the most exciting game experiences is the living room," he said. "The biggest screen in the house connected to a sound system is the place where you are going to get the most amazing games."

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There's some evidence to the effect that Microsoft intends to cross the streams between Xbox One and PC gaming. Over the past two years, the manufacturer has gradually revamped the Xbox brand to serve as a cross-platform umbrella for all its entertainment operations, and Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer has suggested that direct cross-platform play "makes a lot of sense". Microsoft PR chap Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb has also revealed that mouse and keyboard support for Xbox One is a possibility.

What do you think? Is Harrison right to be unconcerned?

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