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John Carmack says odds of Steam Machines being successful are 'a little bit dicey'

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As one of the most respected voices in gaming, John Carmack is quick to point out that he got it wrong when predicting the fate of Steam, Valve's now hugely popular distribution platform for video games. But when asked for his thoughts on the company's SteamOS and Steam Machines, Carmack said he's not convinced Valve is destined for repeat success. "There's an interesting kind of retrospective on it," Carmack said during Nvidia’s Montreal conference, reflecting on days long ago when Valve approached his Id Software about adding Doom 3 to Steam's launch lineup. "We basically said, 'Are you crazy? This would be nuts to try to kind of tie yourselves to this little, notional digital distribution platform.' But clearly, Valve has played a good, strong, long game."

So why isn't Carmack convinced Valve can reproduce that success, this time in the living room? "I'm afraid that I may be at that same point right now where I'm like, 'Making your own sort of little console OS? Are you crazy?' And, you know, maybe 10 years from now, they're going to look like brilliant prophets again with it." But Carmack said, "it still seems a little bit dicey to me, getting everything moved over to Linux, pushing from that side of things." Still, Valve's track record is evidence that the company may just be able to pull it off. "If it was some other random company, I would be pseudo-scornful, but it's Valve, so I'm not." The relevant part of the discussion starts at the 29:49 mark in the video below.