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Valve's Newell: Apple is the console market's biggest threat

Speaking to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, Gabe Newell says he believes Apple will "roll the console guys really easily."

Valve's Big Picture on a television.
Valve's Big Picture on a television. Steam

Watch out, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony: Apple is coming to take you down.

Speaking recently to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said that he believes the console market's greatest "threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform."

"I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging -- I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily," Newell told the class, according to Polygon, which published a transcript of the lecture yesterday. "The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?"

Newell has a vested interest in handicapping the console space. His company has shown off the Steam Box, an open-source console that will attempt to bring PC games to the living room through the service's Big Picture mode. The Steam Box could finally pit console titles against PC games to determine dominance in the living room.

That is, of course, unless Apple finds a way to change the industry entirely. As Newell points out, Steam Box's "biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

Apple has not expressed any interest in entering the home-gaming space. However, the company's iOS is increasingly becoming a go-to gaming platform. Major publishers and developers are now including iOS (and Android) versions of titles when they release their console counterparts.

Newell ostensibly believes that the next logical step for Apple is to bring its gaming platform to the television. Several reports over the years suggesting Apple was planning to make that jump pointed to its Apple TV as the device it would use to deliver games.

Whether Newell should so easily cast aside the threat that console makers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft can present, however, is up for debate. Those companies have been effectively competing in the console market for years, and have enjoyed varying degrees of success. As game history has shown, jumping into the console market and establishing a foothold isn't necessarily that easy.