Why ‘Kung Fury’ Is The Perfect Film For YouTube

by Sahil Patel

By now you have either watched or at least heard of Kung Fury, the 30-minute action short-film from Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg that has taken the online world by storm since its YouTube debut on May 28. It’s a comedic masterpiece, sending up ‘80s action-flick tropes left and right in an effort to out-do anything that has come before it.

On LaserUnicorns YouTube channel {link no longer active}, Kung Fury has generated more than 14.5 million views in less than two weeks — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

According to social data provided by Tubular Labs, Kung Fury content (which includes the film itself, its trailer that was released prior to the film, and other videos posted by the filmmakers and fans across platforms such as YouTube, FacebookVine, and Vimeo) has been watched more than 50 million times.

Keep reading…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Apple WWDC 2015: Growing Market Share

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) for 2015, kicking off today, introduced a number of things — some expected and some a surprise. What’s clear from the news is that Apple is making major moves in music, and also that it’s striving to take what’s best from iOS and OS X and make sure that those benefits are widely available. More than that, Apple is exerting its leverage from its strong mobile presence to grow its computing market share, pile up its lead in wearables, and prepare the way for the eventual arrival of the new Apple TV.

Let’s run down some of the key pronouncements from Apple, and what they mean.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan: Putting the Pedal to the Metal For Gaming
Normally, you wouldn’t think a new version of Apple’s operating system for desktops and laptops would be all that important — but this time, it has meaning to the games industry. Apple announced that its Metal development platform, first introduced for iOS last year to improve graphics performance up to 10x, will now be part of OS X. “Metal is a core graphics technology that gives apps near-direct access to the GPU. This means faster and more efficient rendering performance across the system,” said Apple.


The Metal API for OS X was shown off on-stage by Epic as part of its upcoming game Fortnite, and Apple’s Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineeringsaid running a game in Metal instead of the standard Open GL graphics delivers 50 percent improvement in rendering performance, 40 percent improvement in efficiency (which gives a better battery life), and 10x improvement in drawing performance. Metal will be built into Unity, Unreal Engine, and is being utilized by 2K Games and Blizzard, among others. The result should be that playing games on Macintosh computers will be significantly better than before, and we should see an expansion of game sales on the increasingly popular Macintosh platform. The new OS X will be arriving in the fall as a free upgrade.

IOS 9: Six Gaming Upgrades
Apple wasn’t leaving iOS 9, officially announced now, out of the gaming announcements — not when some 75 percent of app revenue on iOS comes from games. The company announced three new frameworks that will help game developers. Gameplay Kit helps create artificial intelligence and pathfinding for games; Model I/O lights 3D models; and ReplayKit adds, effectively, a gaming DVR so users can record and share gameplay. As for the other three upgrades, Apple announced that its existing SpriteKit, SceneKit, and Metal have all been enhanced. There are also other enhancements to iOS9, too, including a low-power mode to lengthen your battery life by up to three hours, and new productivity options for iPads. The operating system will be released in a public beta in July, will full release scheduled for the fall.

Apple Music
The long-awaited streaming music service from Apple is here, and it’s going to be $9.95 per month with a $14.95 per month family plan that you can share with up to five people. “You can stream your favorite artists, watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD, and listen to curated playlists. There’s also a feature (called “Connect”) that lets unsigned artists upload their music. Apple’s even created a global radio station called Beats 1 and hired Zane Lowe to run it,” noted The Verge. The service arrives at the end of this month for OSX, iOS and Windows, and in the fall you’ll have it on Apple TV and Android as well.

The service looks like a solid competitor to Spotify, Pandora and others already out there, and Apple’s got big plans for it — looking for 100 million subscribers, which would make it more than twice as big as all the other streaming music services combined. Apple doesn’t have a free, ad-supported tier, but it will be offering a three-month free trial of the service to get you hooked.

Apple’s Secret Weapon For Developers
Perhaps the most interesting announcement from the WWDC, which has mostly been overlooked, is this: Apple is combining all of its developer programs into one. Now, instead of paying $99 to be an OS X developer, and another $99 to be an iOS developer, you can develop for both platforms for $99 per year — and develop for the Apple Watch, as well, which is getting a full set of development tools. Here Apple is cleverly building on its global success with iOS development to help boost OS X development, and thus the market for Macintosh computers.

Beyond reducing the barriers to development, Apple is also open-sourcing its new programming language Swift, which it announced last year and has already garnered strong support among iOS and OS X developers. This is a surprising development for Apple, not usually known for giving away key intellectual properties. But open-sourcing the language makes considerable sense, because it should lead to far more rapid improvements of the language and a broader base of adoption. That’s part of what has driven Android to its dominant position as the leading mobile OS – its open-source core means developers are free to add, extend, and modify it as they desire. Apple is looking to get the same sort of benefits now.

Apple’s Market Domination Strategy
As part of its presentation, Apple also noted that the iTunes App Store has passed 1.5 million apps, 100 billion app downloads, and handed out over $30 billion to developers. These new figures mean the App Store has now passed Google Play in the total number of apps available, as Google’s latest announcement was merely “more than 1 million apps.” The $30 billion figure is even more impressive when you realize that the overwhelming majority of that money (probably at least two-thirds, perhaps three-quarters) has gone to game developers.

Apple’s improving the performance of its hardware for games, and clearly showing how important games are by bringing them on stage at every major event. This is something that would not have happened just a few years ago. The company’s new Apple Music will bring the brand even farther than before for music, especially when Apple invades Android devices this fall.

The last major part of the entertainment strategy, the new Apple TV with games and bundles of TV channels, is yet to arrive. But this fall, if Apple can conclude all the deals it is working on, will see the debut of a device that can completely change the landscape for cable companies, set-top boxes, and consoles alike. We’re already seeing some of the shifts, with HBO and Showtime now providing options for their service that don’t require you to have a cable TV subscription. Get ready for the new era of television and big-screen gaming this fall, because it promises to be a compelling entertainment experience for industry watchers.

It’s Lights, Camera, Blockbuster Box For Pizza Hut

When someone catches sight of a pizza box, they get excited, mainly because of what’s inside. However, a new innovation by Ogilvy Hong Kong could change the way people look at pizza boxes forever.

Business Insider reports that Pizza Hut has teamed up with the Hong Kong marketing company to introduce a new promotion that turns a regular pizza box into a projector that works in conjunction with a customer’s smartphone. Titled the Blockbuster Box, it still contains pizza when consumers initially gets it, but can then be converted into a small projector, using a lens that’s included with the package.

The Blockbuster Box is relatively easy to put together. First, customers punch a hole into the side of the box, based on a perforated cutout that’s easy to punch out. Second, the lens (which doubles as the little plastic stand that keeps the top of the box from touching the pizza) is placed in the hole, where it can easily be secured. Then, users place the smartphone inside the box, in a space reserved for it. Then it’s a simple projection of whatever’s on the smartphone screen onto a wall, and consumers have an instant movie theater. You should probably eat the pizza first, though, or at least remove it from the box.

The service works with whatever programming is available on the phone, whether it’s downloaded movies, Netflix or whatever’s on YouTube, but Pizza Hut also includes a QR code that enables consumers to download a free movie.

Four differently themed Blockbuster Boxes are being introduced with the promotion, each based on certain themes of films – Fully Loaded for action, Slice Night for scary films, Hot & Ready for romance and Anchovy Armageddon for sci-fi fans.

It’s an ideal promotion – especially during the summertime, when movies are highly popular – but, for now, it’s only overseas, as Pizza Hut has only introduced it in Hong Kong. However, it probably won’t be long before we see it on our shores, considering how much American audiences enjoy dinner and a show.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of how the Blockbuster Box works. Time to load up Guardians of the Galaxy!

‘Angry Birds’ And Lego Team Up

Even though it’s lost a little steam over the past couple of years, Angry Birds continues to be a big name in mobile gaming. And, of course, Lego has taken off in its own right, between popular toy sets, the grand reception of The Lego Movie, and forthcoming projects like Lego Jurassic World (which releases this Friday) and Lego Dimensions. So why shouldn’t the two team up for a gargantuan project?

Rovio, the creators of the Angry Birds franchise, have announced that it has teamed up with Lego to make a series of toys based on the popular line, which is set to release next year alongside the forthcoming Angry Birds film, according to The Telegraph. They will feature a number of Bird and Pig characters from the games, as well as the ability to recreate popular stages, based on the builder’s imagination.

Although the sets haven’t been fully revealed yet, Jill Wilfert, vice president of the Lego Group, stated that “our designers are having fun developing building sets that leverage the engaging play and deconstruction found in the Angry Birds game.”

“We are excited to bring Angry Birds to life in LEGO form, given the popularity of the game and its characters with fans of all ages, which will only be amplified by the forthcoming film,” she added.

Pekka Rantala, chief executive of Rovio, added, “The Lego brand has an unparalleled ability to connect with people through products that spark creativity and imagination. We’re really excited to build experiences together with this amazing best-in-class partner.”

Rovio could certainly use the boost in sales. Even with all the hype going into the Angry Birds film, sales on its recent releases in the series have faltered, forcing it to lay off more than 100 people in the past year.

Meanwhile, Lego has flourished on its success, with over 62 billion brick sets sold, and more projects in the works, including a Lego Movie sequel set to arrive in 2018, as well as other media projects.

The team-up is sure to be a win-win for kids, as well as adult fans of the series that want nothing more than to set up elaborate stages, only to knock them down as they attempt to crush those dastardly pigs.

Mobile Users Watching Longer Videos

Mobile video consumption has come a long way over the past few years — and according to the IAB, its growth seems to be going in a specific direction.

TechCrunch reports that a new survey conducted by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) takes a closer look at mobile video consumption around the world, showing that many respondents prefer to watch more video on mobile devices than they did a year ago. 50 percent of those surveyed in the United States, along with 42 percent in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa admit they want some form of video on their smartphones — and not just “quickie” clips, either.

36 percent of those polled stated that they watch videos that are five minutes in length or longer on a daily basis. Though that’s still just a portion of overall mobile users, it’s a very healthy portion nevertheless.

Viewers in China partake in watching both movies and TV episodes on their phones, with 37 percent of respondents in China and 35 percent in Singapore stating that they’re watching less TV because of mobile video consumption.

The image above indicates what kind of percentage of audiences prefer to watch smartphone video. Turkey shows the highest percentage with 60 percent, while Denmark and Argentina are on the “lower” end with 41 percent when it comes to five-minute or longer clips.

As for where the content is usually found, 62 percent of those polled say they turn to YouTube, while 33 percent stick with general social media, 20 percent use search engines, and 14 percent go through advertisements.

“Audiences around the world are overwhelmingly open to mobile video advertisements that relate to their context and viewing patterns,” said Joe Laszlo, senior director for IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence.

With sales of mobile devices increasing (particularly Android), we probably won’t see these numbers drop anytime soon, if at all.

Marketers Finding Challenge With Social ROI

When approaching social media with advertising, there’s always pros and cons to keep an eye out for. With the right campaign, a company can easily find great outreach with its product. However, on the flip side of that, there are challenges, such as making sure that something isn’t too promotional for its own good (thus losing the audience it was initially targeted for), or pushing too much in a certain direction.

Companies face these social challenges regularly, and a recently report conducted by SimplyMeasured and TrustRadius {link no longer active} across 600 social media marketers show just where these challenges lie, according to Social Times {link no longer active}.

Out of those surveyed, 60 percent believe that measuring the ROI of social media is the biggest challenge to overcome, followed by connecting social activities to business outcomes and securing internal resources. The chart below highlights just how high each one is specifically ranked.

Other difficulties brought up with social programs include developing for a specific marketing media strategy, securing internal resources, integrating a variety of social tools and monitoring the competition. Three different groups of marketers were polled, including those for small, mid-sized and enterprise-based companies.

Social Times believes that the reason social marketing teams may be struggling with trying to secure resources for social may be from using “vanity metrics” to measure success. 80 percent of those polled stated that “engagement” — including likes on Facebook, shares, comments, followers and other parts of a network — are the most important metrics when it comes to social programs, an indication that they’re getting some form of attention.

Meanwhile, 32 percent believe that leads were important, while 28 percent noted that revenue is a key metric with any campaign like this.

One respondent pointed out that connecting social aspects to sales can be “incredibly difficult,” saying, “Even with sophisticated programs and services like Eloqua, DemandGen, SFDC (Salesforce.com), etc., there is still the difficulty understanding what works and what does not. At the end of the day, social media is just one part of a greater whole than a customer is exposed to.”

Does that mean companies will stop trying on the social front? Certainly not. But don’t be surprised if they take a more cautious route while trying to gauge what kind of success it could bring.

The full report can be found here. {link no longer active}

Five Brands Killing It On YouTube

by Jessica Klein

It’s long been clear that having a YouTube presence helps brands reach younger and wider audiences. Certain ones, like Red Bull and Marriott hotels, have gone all out and started their own digital programming studios, releasing high-quality, original content on the regular.

However, brands don’t have to have dedicated digital studios to put together successful YouTube channels. As many of the following channels show, you don’t need much more than a playlist of your best TV commercials to get people watching your brand’s content on the video platform. Using its Emerging Talent Tracker tool, Openslate found that these five brands are successfully gaining a following on YouTube…without putting out any particularly fancy video content.

Still, these brands do seem to have some tricks up their sleeves. Celebrity appearances, for instance, will always bring in the views, as HTC and Nike know, while having some kind of series, even if it’s extremely short-form, will help keep viewers returning to your channel, which Marshalls has perfected…

See the list…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

MLG’s President Explains Why Their Facebook Deal Is Good For eSports

Facebook and Major League Gaming (MLG) have entered a partnership beginning with the 2015 X-Games Gold Medal Gaming Events to create unique experiences for fans across Facebook and Instagram. The deal, which will continue beyond X-Games events with future details to be worked out, includes video programming posted natively to Facebook capturing key moments of tournament action, pro gamers, and game highlights throughout the tournament.

In addition, MLG will incorporate Facebook and Instagram content into MLG.TV {link no longer active} exclusive live global coverage reaching several million unique viewers over the course of the three-day event. An Instagram portrait Studio will photograph medalists. Live feed screens inside the venue will include data, insights, and fan content to help generate in-venue social activity that extends the event beyond the Austin venue walls.

Mike Sepso, president and co-founder of Major League Gaming, explains what this deal means to MLG and the bigger picture growth of eSports in this exclusive interview.

How did you end up partnering with Facebook?

Facebook has a sports partnerships group headed by Dan Reed and they identified MLG as an emerging sport they want to focus on. We’ve been using Facebook and Instagram for MLG – and Instagram is also part of the deal. That’s important because a lot of our pro players have big Instagram audiences. Facebook sees eSports as an emerging sport. They focused on MLG as a key emerging sports property. We’re working with the same Facebook team that works with the NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA.

How are you utilizing this partnership for X-Games Austin this weekend?

We put together a plan with Facebook and Instagram to provide them with exclusive content and create new places for community dialogue. We’re doing exclusive video pushes and an Instagram takeover with Call of Duty personality Pamaj, who has 250,000 Instagram followers and 187,000 Facebook fans. Facebook is focused on using their platforms as a rich media experience, which suits us very well. Facebook has been one of our number one drivers of traffic to let people know about events.

How does this partnership capitalize on the multi-year ESPN deal for the X-Games?

A huge part of our mission at MLG is to help bring eSports into the mainstream and these types of partnerships help us do that. We’re not satisfied to just cater to the hardcore gaming audience. We want to make what we do along the lines of all the other sports out there. The reality is that eSports viewership and participation is big, but it’s still growing among gamers. We want to use these partnerships to help spread the reach to a broader audience. We want to reach a broader audience than we have today.

Look at the NFL, it’s the biggest sports property in North America and very few people watch games every Sunday in other countries.

And yet the global eSports fan base will be bigger than the NFL fan base by 2017.

The U.S. fan base in eSports won’t be as big as the U.S. fan base for the NFL in 2017. Those numbers looked at the global audience. We want to grow eSports as a whole.

The NFL is exploring digital with its broadcast this upcoming season of a London game exclusively on Yahoo!

The NFL makes money from its rights fees from traditional TV, but the future is in the digital distribution model. The NFL needs to get more international and that Yahoo! deal takes place in London. The NBA has been leading in international expansion among all of the leagues. But all sports today are focused on exploring digital and growing a global audience. And those are two things we’ve done well for over decade now.

What role do you see television playing for eSports, given your ESPN deal?

All leagues and developers involved in this space are looking to make eSports bigger in places outside of Asia. The challenge is tow to crack the U.S. market when there are so many different things to watch from sports to entertainment.

What was learned from the success of Heroes of the Dorm on ESPN2?

That was an experiment that worked well. Everyone’s happy to get some eSports content on a traditional TV broadcast.

Why won’t X-Games be on ESPN 2 or any broadcast networks?

ESPN3 (a digital platform) allows us to reach a more traditional sports audience with the Dota 2 tournament. And for Call of Duty, it’s difficult to put a violent first-person shooter on TV – even if it is a more mainstream brand. Plus, ESPN digital is substantial globally in reach, which benefits the eSports audience as a whole.

What role, if any, do you see TV playing for MLG or eSports in the future?

We did two years of MLG Pro Circuit on TV eight years ago on USA Network, and while it wasn’t suited to our traditional audience it opened up MLG to a mainstream audience. TV is not necessary for eSports, but it’s a good tool to expand to a more mainstream audience. When you look at the traditional TV landscape, a lot of the established properties are going digital like HBO Go. They’re trying to reach the demo we reach well through digital channels.

Is there more interest from TV broadcasters today?

There are a lot more incoming phone calls from the TV networks to MLG interested in broadcasting in some aspect today. There’s still a lot of difficulty in taking a three or four day tournament-style format and packaging that into one or two hours of TV. It’s not an easy transition.

ESports, in general, has to be more league oriented and not tournament-structured. That will help with traditional TV. We’re looking for more content that’s suited to a more mainstream audience for TV. We’re not going to just throw a Dota 2 tournament on TV and expect people to understand what’s going on

How has the X-Games competition evolved with MLG over the past year?

We change the line-up of titles on a year-to-year basis and we’ll continue to build the X-Games into our overall league schedule plans and make sure we’re bringing the best of the best to Winter and Summer X-Games. This is our third one now and they’ve been special for us. We’ve more than doubled the footprint from last summer in Austin to this year. We have two games running simultaneously this year for the first time with Call of Duty and Dota 2. By the end of this event we’ll have awarded 18 medals to gamers across Call of Duty, Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. And ESPN is happy with the numbers.


AR And VR: What’s Ahead

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is nearly upon us, and it’s already clear that one of the top stories of the show will be something that’s not really expected to really rev up until next year, and something that’s not really being talked about by most of the major game publishers. The siren song of this new technology is so loud, though, that it’s managing to be heard even with all of the noise being made over the huge holiday game releases. Consumers and industry alike want to know what answers to this question can be found at E3: What’s happening with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Why, in fact, is there so much anticipation over a technology that is still months away from almost any market presence, and nearly a year away from when major players enter the market — and likely years away from being a significant market, if it ever gets there Part of it is due to the nature of the companies declaring entry into the market, and the size of their investments: Oculus VR (bankrolled by Facebook with a $2 billion purchase), Sony’s Project Morpheus (unknown investment, but it’s Sony), Valve and HTC (investment level unknown, but the tech appears competitive with Oculus), and Magic Leap (with $542 million in funding from Google and others).

Then there are the projections by industry analysts, like Digi-Capital’s Tim Merel foreseeing that AR/VR could eclipse the size of the mobile market in a few years. Anyone who missed out on the mobile boom, and some of those who profited from it, defiitely pay attention when you start talking about numbers in the hundreds of billions.

Then there’s the constant desire for what’s new, innovative, and different — the entire tech seems to run on that energy sometimes. Images from popular culture drive the desire for VR and AR, when you read a book like Ready Player One or watch holograms in a Star Wars movie it’s natural to think how much fun that could be if you could experience that at home.

Still, there are plenty of barriers ahead, as the release of the minimum and recommended specs for the Oculus Rift showed. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe caused a bit of a stir last week when he admitted that buying a new PC capable of driving an Oculus Rift headset along with it would run you at least $1500, which puts it well out of the range of a casual purchase for the mass market. We don’t really know what Sony’s Project Morpheus headset will cost, nor do we have any idea what HTC/Valve will charge for the Vive. We do know a Samsung Gear VR, a headset that uses a Samsung smartphone as its core, still runs over $200 not counting the cost of the smartphone). Don’t expect the top technology for VR or AR to be inexpensive, at least not in the beginning.

Then there’s still the issue of motion sickness, which is still something that VR developers are wrestling with. Various solutions have been put forth, and there are claims the problem has been cracked, but until we see VR equipment in the hands of millions we don’t really have a big enough statistical basis to say how important the issue may really be. It appears that it’s more of an issue with games than with movies or other typical uses for VR, but it’s still early days.

While hardware cost and potential sickness are issues, the real key to the long-term success of VR and AR is going to be the content. The relentless advance of technology will eventually drive prices down, and there are enough clever people working on the motion sickness issue that we can expect it to be reduced to a minor issue sooner or later. The important thing to focus on to gauge how successful VR and AR might be, and how soon that might happen, is the content. What can you experience with AR and VR How compelling is it, or how useful can it be

One veteran developer noted that in his mind, VR would take off when someone could use it to provide a competitive advantage in a multiplayer online game. If it helps you win, people will buy it, he told me. That’s one use case, but there are hosts of others. Many VR games are in development, but until we really see final hardware and software it’s impossible to judge how much these experiences will move people to open their wallets.

One thing to look for at E3 this year will be some of the VR (and perhaps AR) demos we might see. Do these games really offer something so different from a top PC or console title that you’d want to drop hundreds of dollars, or perhaps more than a thousand dollars, on hardware Answering that question requires you to think beyond the momentary wow factor you get when you see Microsoft’s HoloLens demo, or Magic Leap’s video, or what Oculus Rift lets you experience with EVE: Valkyrie. These are definitely cool to see, but what will it really be like when you’re using the equipment yourself in your own home Will it get old in an hour or two, or will this be something you’d play as often as you do that console or PC game you spend so many hours with

While E3 should provide a look at some of what’s coming for VR and AR, the real potential is yet to be uncovered. If you find yourself viewing a movie through an Oculus Rift and thinking “This is how I’d want to watch every movie from now on,” or you play a game demo using Project Morpheus and think “Damn, that was more fun than any other game I’ve played this year” you should start thinking that these technologies may have rapid adoption.

On the other hand, just because you don’t see something yet that looks like a killer app, you shouldn’t dismiss the potential for what AR and VR can do. When the iPhone first arrived, it was clunky and slow and was lousy at making phone calls, and there wasn’t even an App Store. But it was compelling enough in how it offered access to the Internet and some other features that people put up with the cost and the problems… and eventually that device caused a revolution in computing and communications that is still unfolding today.

Keep your eyes open for what E3 might reveal on the VR and AR revolution that’s heading our way, and be ready to give it your own personal evaluation. By early next year, the major players will begin arriving in the market, and the real consumer acid test will begin. E3 will show us some more clues as to how fast and how far this revolution might go.

What Can Steam Machines Do For The PC Market?

The PC market continues to be a flourishing one for developers and publishers alike, with millions of avid players taking part in a number of downloadable and retail games, from DOTA 2 to Call of Duty. That trend will likely continue, but now it’s finally expanding into a whole new area – the living room.

GamesIndustry International recently confirmed that Valve’s Steam Machines, which were announced a couple of years ago, will launch on November 10, with a number of partners producing their special versions of the hardware, including Alienware, CyberPower and others. Interested gamers will be able to pick up a system, along with the innovative Steam Controller and the Steam Link peripheral, with the option to pick it up earlier, on October 16, for pre-orders placed through GameStop. The machines will be priced from $449 to $749, depending on internal specs.

“We are super curious to find out which products customers try first, what their experiences are, and how that learning can help [us] continue to expand their Steam experience in the days and years following launch,” Valve’s DJ Powers told Polygon. “Our goal is to expand Steam’s capabilities beyond the desktop.”

This introduces a new venue for players to try on the PC front, as this will enable them to play games directly on their TV or other desktop monitor without the need for an elaborate PC or laptop-based gaming rig, which can usually run into the thousands depending on hardware. Alienware previously dabbled in this market last year with the debut of its Alpha console line, although it didn’t indicate just how well it was selling.

With the Steam Machine, there are certain pros and cons to be weighed. Obviously, the “full” PC experience can’t be recreated through a controller, no matter how innovative it is. Some players will simply prefer the old-fashioned mouse and keyboard combo, although this set-up is likely to work with certain models of the system, similar to Alienware’s Alpha hardware.

Also, the store won’t be completely accessible upon launch. Steam OS will initially only launch with Linux support, with just over 2,000 games available. While that will still suit gamers’ needs to an extent, it’s only a matter of time before Valve revamps the service so that more Steam (and other game channel) offerings become available.

Still, the Steam Machine could be a big deal to the PC market overall, finally giving players an option to invest in the gaming experiences it has to offer – and take part in those Steam sales that Valve consistently hosts on its site (its next one, its official summer sale, kicks off next week). It allows an easier option for connectivity and “jumping in and playing,” compared to updating hardware so that everything runs efficiently enough.

It also gives Valve a competitor that can go head-to-head with some of the more popular consoles on the market, including Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. While it’s too soon to tell just how much of an impact it’ll make, it’ll be interesting to see just who switches sides once the Steam Machines hit retail.

One thing’s for sure – the PC market will see a boost either way with the arrival of the Steam Machines. It’ll open up a new arena for casual and “hardcore” players alike to invest in, while at the same time creating a new funnel of investments in Valve’s Steam store, amongst other areas. And, yes, that controller, now built in with an analog stick for easier maneuverability with menus, is pretty slick.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of how it all works: