This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Sony and Microsoft Face the Third Platform

(Corrects how many units were shipped of Sony's PS/3 and Microsoft's Xbox.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While everyone is talking about the launch of the Sony  (SNE) PS/4 and Microsoft  (MSFT) XBox 1, there's a third gaming platform drawing less attention.

It's your PC.

But if you think Microsoft owns the PC gaming market, think again. If you think that platform is stable, think twice.

The PC gaming market is basically owned by a private company, Valve Software, and its distribution product, Steam. Its market share is estimated at 75%, with 3,000 games running on it, and over 65 million Steam accounts. There are versions for the Mac OSX, for mobile platforms, and Linux.

This is competitive with the installed base of Sony's PS/3 and Microsoft's Xbox, both of which had shipped over 76 million units by the end of last year. Steam should be seen as the third force in gaming, alongside Nintendo's Wii and Wii-U, which is finally catching on in Japan.

Valve started as a game developer. Steam's competitors, Uplay from UbiSoft (EPA: UBI) and Origin from Electronic Arts (EA), are also game developers. But Steam started accepting third-party games in 2005, when digital distribution was in its infancy, and has kept its lead.

This has given Valve immense power over gaming. You have to run Steam to run Steam games. When games finish they drop you back into Steam. If something happened to Steam or Valve, players fear they could lose access to games they've already bought.

Microsoft upset the Steam applecart a few years ago by announcing it would put its own game distribution network into Windows 8. This upset Valve CEO Gabe Newell very much. Had Windows 8 been a bigger success, this might be a bigger story, but Steam runs well under a Windows 7 compatibility mode in Windows 8, and most gamers I know have noticed little change.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,943.81 +28.74 0.17%
S&P 500 1,967.57 +2.89 0.15%
NASDAQ 4,415.49 +19.2860 0.44%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs