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I'm not entirely sure that this is comparing apples to apples. Windows 8 is a general purpose platform that has been closed off such that to release apps that conform to their new UI you must be microsoft certified and go through their store.. which was gabe's complaint. As far as the closed system that is the steam box, the idea there is to just ensure that they have a working hardware configuration that would provide for a common user experience. You can still take any game you make and distribute it without steam.
I think that valve is unsure. A closed system would be most likely build upon a custom linux version, therefor the call for more linux games. To keep the hardware costs low, they will either need to stream or reduce the hardware, an other reason to push the indie scene (cross plattform + low hardware requirements).
I don't think Steam users are exactly the kind who tends to spend little in hardware...
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