Valve Rumoured To Be Making “Steam Box” Console

By Jim Rossignol on March 4th, 2012 at 11:56 am.


I am sure there’ll be more comment on this in the week (especially if it is announced at GDC), but while I was compiling the Sunday Papers I realised that the The Verge reporting that Valve could be making a “Steam Box” gaming console probably warrants its own thread: “Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We’re told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA’s Origin) to be loaded up.”

Obviously this is largely speculation and hearsay, so to be taken with a hefty pinch of internet-salt, but it’s a fascinating possible next move in the console wars, with everything basically becoming a PC. The idea that it will allow for other services to be run on it is the particularly interesting point, to my mind, because it allows internal competition in the way that consoles usually do not.

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125 Comments »

  1. woodsey says:

    The PS3 was considered far too expensive at launch, I don’t really see how they’d tap into the console market by making something that seems like it’ll cost more.

    • nfire3 says:

      But, that’s the thing. If they can price it as the same as the next xbox or ps or the wii u then they could a huge market. Then if those people buy 20 or 30 games then they made their money back from losing money off the console.

    • Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

      Well from what I’ve read it seems like it will be upgradable, and despite the rumored specs (I seriously doubt they’ll put an i7 in there) it probably means that the baseline system will be at an affortable $300-$400 and just powerful enough to play a lot of the lower end games as well as most of Valve’s own library of source powered games (but keep in mind that budget GPUs of today are far more powerful than the budget GPUs of 2006, so even considering a ~$400 system it would probably be more powerful than the current generation of consoles anyway), and one would have to upgrade to play higher-end games and future titles.

    • woodsey says:

      Which again begs the question of what market they’d be going for.

      People buy consoles because they don’t want to piss about with upgrading components, and they perceive the cost of PC gaming as too high.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      Upgrades are only hard because it’s hard for a newbie to understand what components will work well together. If they make it easy for people to upgrade by using easily attachable, guaranteed-to-work modules, or by running an upgrade service, they can remove most of the complexity from the equation. A software layer on top of the hardware could automatically adjust settings to get the best possible performance/quality on the hardware. Many not-quite-techies would buy that. And while they can’t exactly lower the price of components, they can provide publishers easily identifiable baseline systems to aim for, thereby extending the lifecycle of the hardware a bit.

    • Boozebeard says:

      An i7 would really make no sense, nor does 8GB really. i7 technology only provides gains over i5 in hyper threaded applications, which games are not, and most games are still only 32 bit meaning they could only use 4GB ram even if they wanted too The only reason for so much ram is once again for professional applications or serious multitasking, which is obviously not what this is designed for.

      Those specs reek of uneducated speculation to me…

    • Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

      Well that’s the thing. I’d imagine that the CPU, Mobo, RAM and PSU would be standard and non-upgradable, meaning they’d have to be future proof for the next 6-7 years, but even an i5 2500 and 4GB of ram could pull that off. The GPU and HDD would likely be swappable, where one could easily eject a GPU and insert a new one like cartridges, sort of like the good ol’ N64 power pak.

      Software-wise it could be that a game needs a minimum GPU model number to run at medium and a recommended one to run at high/max (ie, “You must have GPU 2 minimum, GPU 3 recommended to play Crysis 3), and of course the HDD upgrading would be left to the user’s discretion.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Boozebeard

      If you’re building a console you’re building one with an eye on the future, not for today. If they put 8GB ram and an I7 in there then developers will take advantage of the technology with future titles. It’s not about meeting present standards, it’s about setting new ones.

    • mpashsua says:

      There are other sources to this rumour besides valve, and the alienware theory fits.
      http://shopeee.com/s/i

  2. Saul says:

    Interesting. So the operating system would be …. Steam?

    • viverravid says:

      The OS has to be Windows, so they can leverage the existing Steam library of PC games.

      (though I guess a crazy outside chance is a custom Linux + some WINE-ish thing)

    • pakoito says:

      You can’t Wine most of Steam’s library no matter how hard you try. Also, bad stability and being bug prone is wayyyy below Valve’s standards.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      The only way i can see it happening is if it was the linux version we already know they have, it’d work like the mac version & simply have a limited catalog, it’s defo not going to have windows, the license cost would cripple it.

    • Shivoa says:

      This is one of my major issues with this rumour (as a practical reality). DirectX means going to MS and asking for a Windows license for every box sold. Does MS see this as competition for their current living room box (with uncontested store for selling games, movies, and more; game ecosystem with premium prices and a cut going to MS for every sale and for certification; hooks into the subscription online service; and so on) or a chance to sell more Windows licenses (and so how cheap would they be selling those licenses)?

      Also a lot of the noise I’m reading on this topic are coming from people who sound like idiots. Read the source (PAR) people are quoting so you understand the reference to Valve and hardware.

      Now how much do you want to slap every journo who has quoted that talk about innovative input methods and wearable computing and Valve making hardware to back up their story about a Steam console? And didn’t Dell/Alienware just release a box for the TV with a PC inside (so Gabe is actually quoted as saying they’d rather let someone else do that side of things, be it when talking about novel input/output devices), didn’t Dell used to bundle Steam installs with some of their PC for a while? That could be something coming back, but The Verge are not sanely reporting on something like that.

      I feel bad that editors exist who said yes to a lot of the language used in those crappy pieces (out of context much, the writer has a duty to give full context to what they quote). They’re offensively bad, irrelevant of what may be the underlying truth (I make no claims to know if a Steam console is coming but that interview is unrelated to that issue and tying to two together is really shoddy).

      Considering there are two new games sites vying for an audience right now, I think this should be pushing a lot of informed readers to PAR for their excellent interviews and in-depth pieces and away from The Verge and their click-bait out-of-context quoting nonsense.

    • Shuck says:

      @Shivoa; The “source” seems to go beyond that article though, as we have things like this: http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20110105231#b to inflame speculation.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      It’s sad to think some people think the patent registry is a credible source, it’s a political tool, patent applications never correlate to products, it’s more about trading blows with the competition.

      notice how no one is talking about the 22 other patents valve have with the american PTO

    • psyk says:

      Internet journalism is worse than the sun.

    • Shuck says:

      @The Sombrero Kid: I’ve seen references to a Sony patent, where they laid claim to the idea of using transcranial magnetic stimulation to directly create mental images as game output, as proof that the technology exists and Sony’s about to make a product based on it. Neither is remotely true, and in fact I rather suspect that Sony has never even investigated the technology. The patent was so vague, speculative and not even the first to float the idea that I’d guess it wouldn’t even hold up should the technology come to pass, but you know, people are hopeful.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Also, bad stability and being bug prone is wayyyy below Valve’s standards.

      Oh, I dunno, that describes TF2 after every other patch. ;)

      But, yeah, WINE does not seem likely, especially as you’re looking at a performance efficiency penalty. And the problem is wider than DirectX—there’s more APIs to Windows programming than just that one.

      The big, big problem with this rumour is that “Core i7 and nVidia graphics box that can run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services” is describing a Windows PC. If that’s all it can do, it’s describing a crippled Windows PC. There aren’t many complexity/cost-cutting cripples you can make that would only hurt, say, Office, but not games, save weird licensing agreements with Microsoft for crippled versions of Windows or something, and I can’t see them supporting competition with XBox there.

      If it was Steam only, limited in the same way as the Mac Steam release, then a Linux-based system might be borderline plausible. But I’d hope they’d have more sense and stick to just making games, and a Linux Steam client first if they really want to hug penguins. (But expected to be bitched at forever that it’s not licensed to DFSG standards.)

    • jezcentral says:

      But surely, as soon as you standardise something like this to a console-like degree, you can program straight to the metal, and you won’t need DirectX.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You realise the point of re-usable libraries is to save time and effort, right. (This includes not having to learn new ones with only very narrow utility.)

      Also, existing game back-catalogue.

    • jezcentral says:

      @LionsPhil.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this report has any truth in it. :)

    • Ovno says:

      It’ll be running Windows 7 Embedded if its running anything, licenses have always cost between £80-£100 for xp embedded, so i’d imagine they’ll be in the same range for win 7 embedded too, it’s a fully featured customisable version of windows where you can choose which of the various windows components are included and enabled (or locked out entirely) used to use xpe for the video fruit machines we made in my old job…

    • 1q3er5 says:

      this is why i despise microsoft. all these game developers using direct x when openGL would release the shackles that microsoft has around gaming on the PC….

  3. pakoito says:

    It will be an alienware with an applVALVE sticker and a modified windows with cybercafé software restrictions.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I suspect this will be it.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I don’t know, I think valve are a bit sharper than that. Although it could be that, but at a rather nifty price if they are going to mass produce them. This is strange though. I do hope that they do make something innovative and that it isn’t a failure.

    • Khemm says:

      Most probably this, but if this proves to be true, then it’ll essentially be Valve creating a closed platform to further strengthen their nigh-monopolistic grip on PC gaming.
      They’re slowing turning PC into a closed ecosystem, where everything you play has to go through them before being released – from approval to distribution.
      First they forced Steam upon everyone beginning with HL2, now they’re making another step… The free PC gaming market as we know it is in danger.

    • Zelius says:

      @Khemm,

      I know you’re just a troll that bashes Steam every chance you get, but read the articles again. They’re trying to open up the console market, not restrict the PC market.

    • Khemm says:

      @Zelius
      “Troll” my three letters. They’re trying to push PC gaming in a direction it comes with Steam pre-installed, basically the equivalent of xbox live or psn, how is that NOT trying to close the platform? Imagine if all laptops and tablets were sold this way, that would mean we had the equivalent of MS monopoly, this time in the gaming space.

    • RobF says:

      But what if people buy it and then never run Steam? OH MY.

    • Zelius says:

      @Khemm,

      Ok, I’ll take the bait. In the articles they specifically mention how current consoles have a very closed environment. You shouldn’t see this Steambox as a PC, but rather a device directly competing with these consoles, yet retaining some of the openness of PCs (specifically in the fact that it will allow other services like Origin to be run, and won’t be subject to licensing). That is not restricting the PC market, it’s opening up the console market.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why would Valve be interested in hardware though? A licence to sell to pc sellers, so they can stick a ‘Valve Approved’ sticker on there seems very likely.

    • HothMonster says:

      @DrGonzo

      Hopefully, they want to make pcs more competitive with consoles. If they can move more of the console market onto a “console” that runs pc games they get a lot more potential customers.

  4. thealexfish says:

    Problems:

    Input – This is a classic issue. Will it work with just any controller? Should they allow keyboards and mice? This is the biggest issue in my mind.

    OS – Using standard Windows could prove problematic for many reasons. Just launching Steam at startup in big picture mode might not be enough.

    Digital only – This is a feature to many, but a dealbreaker to some. Consoles are so popular to many people because they can pick up a disc at a retail outlet when they pick up groceries and don’t have to worry about an internet connection.

    Those are the main ones that come to mind. I’m excited at the prospect of an open console. The positives of having competition through multiple storefronts can overcome a lot of negatives.

    • JellyD says:

      I have heard rumors that they wanted to use they’re own controller. That would be like the xbox controller for gfwl. So it would work with any game on steam. But I would be very surprised if they excluded keyboard and mouse support for this thing.

    • roryok says:

      OS – Using standard Windows could prove problematic for many reasons. Just launching Steam at startup in big picture mode might not be enough.

      I assume it would be some flavour of Windows 8, which lends itself much more to launching fast and working from a controller.

      Digital only – This is a feature to many, but a dealbreaker to some. Consoles are so popular to many people because they can pick up a disc at a retail outlet when they pick up groceries and don’t have to worry about an internet connection.

      If the x51-as-a-prototype rumours are true, then it will likely have an optical drive. It may be digital focussed, but not excusively digital.

    • Wabznasm says:

      Well, the article Jim linked to mentions a patent filed by Valve in May last year.

      Looks like some kind of modular controller where you can swap out the components on the front. It’s an intriguing idea.

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    Ooooooh, controversial!

  6. Quizboy says:

    Everyone keeps calling this a console, but all the info makes it sound an awful lot like a pre-built gaming PC, with a fixed spec and custom software which developers then receive some kind of certification from Valve to prove their games run properly on. Is there anything among the rumours indicating that you wouldn’t be able to run, say, Word on it? Just the fact that it’ll apparently come with a controller and hook up to a TV doesn’t make it a console. My PC did that, and it came in bits!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, I think the shorthand is standardised TV box = console though.

    • Enso says:

      Well Wikipedia defines a ‘video game console’ as

      “An interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device (a television, monitor, etc.) to display a video game. The term “video game console” is used to distinguish a machine designed for people to buy and use primarily for playing video games on a TV.”

      and the Oxford online dictionary defines a ‘games console’ as “a small electronic device for playing computerized video games.”

      I agree with those definitions. After all, the word ‘console’ isn’t exclusive to gaming.

  7. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    A Gabecube.

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    Occurs to me that launching this with Half-Life 3 might be a good idea? /conspiracy

    • AndrewC says:

      Oh dear.

    • LarsBR says:

      Half-Life 3 – exclusive on the GabeCube!

      That’ll drive both sales and angry internet men!

    • RobF says:

      It *is* Half Life 3.

    • roryok says:

      Given HL2 was the flagship title on the original Steam, I’d say this is extremely likely.

    • Aldehyde says:

      Half-Life 2 was more of a vanguard for what Steam is now. Steam had existed several years before HL2 was released but it was only once HL2 came out that you (at least I) realized what their ultimate goal was with Steam.

      Details, I know : )

    • Hillbert says:

      If the entire box is Half Life 3, but done in a classic battery operated, VFD style like Astro Wars (http://www.handheldmuseum.com/Grandstand/Astro.htm) I would be so happy.

      A little glowing Freeman at the bottom of the screen hitting descending head crabs with his crowbar.

  9. SurprisedMan says:

    I think this could be really interesting. See, the thing that put me off PC gaming in the first place was that I would bring a game home and have no idea if it was likely to work. This was in the bad old days of PC compatibility. The act of buying a game had become STRESSFUL because I was always waiting for something to go wrong.

    It’s much better now, but in the mean time I had got so comfortable with playing games on the couch at my TV with my laptop to one side that going to sit on a desk to play on my gaming PC was something I’d only do when there was something I really, desperately wanted to play. Late last year I moved my PC over to my TV, which has been a great thing, because I can still use my laptop for all the typey-typey webby stuff, and I essentially have a keyboard/mouse and sometimes controller-controlled console for playing my Steam titles and other games.

    If the idea of the Steam box is to make something like a TV-based PC more accessible, and provide a set of hardware standards that make it more likely that the games will work (it IS much better than before, but yesterday Machinarium bluescreened it, which is frankly ridiculous), then I may well be on board.

    Especially because I already have over a hundred games for this hypothetical thing.

  10. buzzmong says:

    Of course, as it’s Valve we’re talking about, it could always just be an elaborate smoke and mirrors trick to defuse expectations of a HL3 annoucement at GDC.

    Valve are very fond of their mind games afterall.

  11. MajorManiac says:

    Steam powered console! What devilry is this?

    Next they’ll be coming up with some-kind of Steam powered horse’n'cart.

  12. AMonkey says:

    Well the reason I own a console is: there are multi plat games that aren’t on the PC (e.g. SSX etc), my brothers find consoles more accessible, there are system exclusives (e.g. God of War) and split screen co op. If Valve can cover most of those, I’d much rather own a Valve console than Sony (many terrible decisions through the years) or Microsoft (we don’t care that our consoles had a 30% failure rate for years).

    • povu says:

      But right now it sounds like it isn’t a console at all, just a standardized PC. It would still run Windows and not need its own dedicated port of games. You’d still be playing only PC games on it and no console exclusives.

      But hey it’s early, we barely know anything yet, so I could be wrong.

  13. asshibbitty says:

    A PC in a silly box is not a console.

  14. pkt-zer0 says:

    Shouldn’t this be called the Steam Engine?

  15. Unaco says:

    Valve have done some dumb f*ckin’ stuff… but this? The dumbest (if it is as the rumours are saying and there isn’t more to this). What was in those giant pink cookies (and can I get some)?

    • roryok says:

      You’re right. It was a total failure when microsoft did it with the xbox. That thing died a death OH WAIT

    • Unaco says:

      So… Just because Microsoft’s XBox was a success, then this endeavour by Valve will be a success as well. How silly of me not to know that… that, because it’s been done before, it’ll be like Gabe snapping his fingers and it’ll work this time.

      Just incase you didn’t know this…

      Valve != Microsoft
      This console != the XBox
      2012 != 2001

      The terrain has changed, significantly, since the Xbox was released. Just because it was a success back then, doesn’t mean that this will be a success.

    • Bhazor says:

      Actually the Xbox Division of Microsoft has made huge losses.

      I mean hundreds of millions of dollars. We’re talking serious potatoes.

      http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2007/04/xbox-360-losses-shrink-but-so-do-shipments.ars

    • Paul says:

      And it does not mean that it will NOT be a success.
      Face it, you know the same shit I do. It might be a sucess, it might not. We, customers, will be judges of that.

    • fish99 says:

      @Bhazor

      That article is 4 years old

    • Bhazor says:

      @fish99

      Yep and at the time it was the industry leader. They’re making money now but still haven’t come close to breaking even.

      This is the amount of money you need to invest to make it into the console market.
      Not millions.
      Not hundreds of millions.
      Billions is what you need.

    • roryok says:

      earth to unaco, duh, ok , I KNEW THAT.

  16. iainl says:

    My guess is that it will be a HTPC with a standard spec that people can certify against, a wireless pad (there’s no good reason not to make it the 360 one) and Steam auto launching full screen in a way that is easily navigable with it. Most PCs have HDMI out already, but a nice form factor under the telly would be great.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Pretty much. Expecting this to light the console market on fire will be grossly overhyping it, but I can see this theoretical machine doing damage in the HTPC market, especially if they get a partner that does music and films (or even a formal Netflix and Spotify app for Steam).

    • roryok says:

      Netflix is a dead cert I’d say. Even the Wii has a netflix app. And if the thing runs win8, it already has everything in a nice neat 50″ TV friendly format

  17. qd says:

    If true at all, and with nothing indicating that it’ll be a console (except “rumors”… could be just a page hit grab), I’m thinking of Valve partnering up with a hardware vendor and selling normal Steam branded PCs with Windows and Steam pre-installed.

    What’s more interesting here though is the idea of Valve’s own Xbox 360 compatible controller with biometrics and upgradeable parts.

  18. Godwhacker says:

    From the sound of what Gabe has said in the past about open platforms, you’ll be able to run Origin on it too. I HOPE it’ll just be a standardised PC that you can also run Windows on, mass produced to a particular spec to help with affordability. That would be amazing.

    • kavika says:

      Guaranteeing compatibility and using it as a standard test platform sounds more interesting to me. I doubt the price would be reduced much if at all over a custom built PC with the same specs. Those margins are already razor-thin, and I doubt Valve would try to market a *PC* as a loss-leader. Tho I guess as other people said, MS did so with their xbox. The market design wouldn’t be at all similar though, so I think a loss leader would be majorly risky.

  19. Navagon says:

    I’m left wondering how this is supposed to take off. One one hand you’ve got the fact that Steam’s fanbase is on the PC and console gamers (as in those who do their gaming exclusively on consoles) are console gamers because they’re not comfortable with the idea of gaming on a PC – be it because of the associated hassle or the fact that it’s difficult to play PC games sat on a sofa with your mates.

    So if Valve are hoping to draw upon their existing fan base then I don’t know how well that will work. Maybe this is the real reason Gabe bit the bullet and got Steam onto the PS3?

    Secondly there’s the financial aspect. Microsoft and Sony kept their current generation of consoles afloat on their respective seas of money until they reached a point where they were profitable.

    I don’t know what Valve’s finances are like, but I doubt they’re in that kind of league. So they’d better hope they’re able to not only nail the price but also make sure that the hardware isn’t the kind of shit that catches fire after being left on for an hour. Otherwise I don’t see this working.

    • roryok says:

      It’s got the same basic theory behind it that makes macs so popular – making PCs that “just work”, are standardised, and have a recognisable brand name.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      Also, the good part is that it doesn’t need to sell millions like a console to be a success. Because it’s not like a console where you need people making games for it, and you need to sell a certain amount to make third parties catch on to it in a big way.

    • Navagon says:

      In respect to industry support, it certainly won’t make the same mistakes as Sega did. That much is very true. So if the hardware is good and it doesn’t come with a disc chewing optical drive and inadequate cooling etc then it’s got that much covered.

      One of the really good things that could come out of this is that they could wind up showing MS and Sony where they’ve been going wrong – that a more customer friendly approach pays off.

  20. jellydonut says:

    If this could finally lead to TV shows and movies being offered, in HD, on Steam, it’s worth it.

  21. jplayer01 says:

    This is a brilliant idea. I don’t think hardcore gamers with their own personally built PC’s are the primary market here. Instead, think of it as *the* definitive gaming PC for the masses. As in, the one replacing those god-awful boxes in every supermarket and “specialist” PC store and retailers out there with piss poor graphic cards.

    This could become the standard for PC gaming, the one system people with less knowledge can turn to and buy without having to know a CPU from a GPU from RAM. They’ll have the certainty that this system will be able to play every game on the Steam library. I mean, that’s a part of the console (PS3, Xbox 360) appeal, isn’t it? You know what you will get when you buy it. They don’t have to worry it’ll be out of date in 1-2 years, they don’t have to worry they’re getting a bad deal.

    Furthermore, it’ll be a PC standard that developers can target. Who *doesn’t* want that? Sure, testing different hardware configurations and whatever will still have to be done as it is now, but at least there’ll be one ‘platform’ with (hopefully, at some point) a large ‘installed base’ of users that can be targeted directly.

    In any case, I’m in. Where can I buy my GabeCube?

  22. staberas says:

    let me crash your dreams

    ITS A RUMOR

    • nrvsNRG says:

      ^this.

      new MS and Sony consoles around the corner and with so many PC gamers already happy with the way things are, this will NEVER HAPPEN!

    • Khemm says:

      Dreams or nightmares?

  23. InternetBatman says:

    Didn’t he say in the last interview that he was frustrated with input types and would produce his own hardware if he had to? I think this might have more functionality than just a prebuilt PC if it’s even real.

  24. kidfarthing says:

    I, for one, will be drop kicking my xbox out of the window when this hits the shelves…

    aaand also – someone has to get in there before Apple do.

    (long time reader – first time poster. <3 u RPS)

    • nrvsNRG says:

      i would to (only used it for dark souls in the last 4years).

      but,as cool as it would be, it will never happen ……at least not in the next 10 years anyway.
      I think the next xbox and sony PS will be taking up too much of a lions share of that market for this to be viable. and we KNOW for a fact they will put everything behind the launch for those machines which are already proven.

    • Kadayi says:

      @kidfarthing

      If anyone is likely backing Valve it might well be some one like Apple. Albeit Steam has been financially successful Valve have no hardware history, where as Apple do (and several billion in the bank to invest boot). It would be a departure for them for sure, but at the same time it would be a blow to microsoft as it would lessen the public need for windows PCs even more.

  25. Jimbo says:

    If it’s open-platform, I don’t understand what is supposed to differentiate this from a regular PC? The console manufacturers make their money by being the gatekeeper to a closed system.

    Also, you’re telling me Valve won’t allow EA games on Steam if EA want to sell DLC directly to their customers, but they’ll let Origin run on their bespoke hardware? *dubious*

    • markcocjin says:

      Because branding a computer with your company standards and blocking Origin from running in it is the exact opposite from having an open platform. That defeats the purpose of Valve coming up with this PC if they’re only going to turn into Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo.

      You underestimate Valve’s fairness. They cannot strong arm their PC partners because otherwise, everyone from IBM to Nvidia and all the other branded PC makers won’t cooperate.

      Valve is huge because they’ve managed to serve so many companies and gamers. They’ve proven that goodwill is actually profitable.

    • Jimbo says:

      I’d argue that not turning into Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo defeats the purpose of releasing a platform in the first place.

      I get it if it’s just a Steam branded PC, but that doesn’t seem like a particularly big deal. I’m not knocking it, I just don’t understand what’s being proposed here. How is it not just another PC?

    • Vinraith says:

      A Steam branded PC is the first step towards a closed, Steam-only hardware platform. It’s a test balloon, more than anything, to see how much of their fanbase will follow them down this hole.

  26. markcocjin says:

    Guys, everyone in SPUF is already calling it a Gabestation 3. Well, okay just a Gabestation as we all know that 3 does not exist in Valve.

    This is my 2 cents on it:

    I think a lot of commenters and critics about his rumour fail to understand the repercussions of all of this.
    We’re not excited because Valve could be building a small form factor PC. Razer and Alienware can do that on their own. We’re not excited that Valve is building a home theatre PC. We can all do that.

    What we’re excited about is that Valve is going to use its clout to standardize the PC gaming industry by developing a software platform layered over God knows what so that developers, manufacturers and assemblers have a base model of the minimum spec they can aim for.

    If this rumour is true, there will come a time when we will be able to buy a game on Steam and run it on our Steam certified laptop/tv box/desktop PC without worries of whether it will work or not.

    Nvidia and ATI cannot be relied upon to lead the way. Microsoft is to busy fighting with itself. Publishers are too busy competing with each other. Apple cannot be trusted with sharing the planet with other beings.

    Valve is peerless and yet whatever they do right now affects everything in PC. No, Origin is not relevant. It’s a parody of sorts. The single driving factor of PC innovation right now is gaming and nobody is leading it. No, Microsoft is not leading the PC gaming industry. XBox is their answer.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be Steam boxes with Sony, Samsung, HP, Dell, Razer and some obscure Chinese brand on the shelves some years from now.

  27. Lemming says:

    I’ve been thinking something like this was on the cards, and I’m actually quite psyched about it. I’ve always thought there should be a pure DD console. And let’s face it with Steam they already have a community and delivery system built in. As it’s just PC architecture, and assuming their contracts with developers on Steam allows it, they could literally have their full steam library available on day 1.

    I’m finding the modular joypad thing interesting as well, although I reckon they should have a brand keyboard/trackball combo available for it as well.

  28. Kuroko says:

    Day one purchase for me if its actually true.

  29. Joshua Northey says:

    Really what Valve should be developing and marketing is a standardized “gaming PC” with specs that will run all Steam games for the next say 2 years from date of purchase. Something like “The 2012 Steam PC will run all games release don Steam through 2014.

    More standardized equipment would make development much easier. And having a specific hardware limits would let them focus their energies on more fruitful things than “OMG this games is going to have the blingiest bling ever”. Making development cheaper, easier, and more constrained means more resources can go into, you know, actually making good games.

    That said I don’t need it to be 100% open architecture, but it better not be anything like an Xbox.

    • Jonith says:

      Standardized PC Gaming is a bad thing. One of my favourite parts as a PC Gamer is looking for improvements to the parts I have in my PC at the moment, before buying them and building it.

      Also when standardising it, you get to the point where you will have to have it run at say 60 FPS on every machine. 1. Either pushing prices up loads or 2. Also having a standardized graphics system closer to that of a console instead of changing between Low, Medium, High etc.

  30. veryblackraven says:

    I wonder if there will be a PC-Xbox360-PS3 combo console some day. :)

  31. Shooop says:

    The only real drawback of a console box is it’s a closed box – open it up to change parts and whoops!

    If anyone can change that then all gaming’s future would be much brighter.

  32. Nameless1 says:

    Would it be too much to ask for it to function like a “low-end pc” too?

  33. HisMastersVoice says:

    So why are all media reports on this referring to the supposed future “VALVe benchmark PC” as “console”? It doesn’t make any sense in light of what defines modern consoles.

  34. psyk says:

    I love pc gamers.

    Remember how much shit is spewed when games are locked to orgign/GFWL. lol

    • Khemm says:

      Do not confuse PC gamers with Valve fanboys, the latter are console gamers in the PC realm – if Valve decide to turn PC gaming into a closed platform, they’ll be all for it, “because Valve”.

    • Newblade says:

      So you both didn’t read the ‘open platform’ part.

    • dsi1 says:

      Khemm is a troll, dunno about psyk though.

  35. ResonanceCascade says:

    The real story here is that the biometrics input stuff is potentially on the horizon for release. I can’t wait to see what Steam’s indie scene is going to do with that stuff!

    • Bhazor says:

      Nope.

      Remember the Wii vitality sensor? No? Theres a reason.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Why does everyone still think the only thing Valve means by “biometrics” is the skin galvanic response thing?

      They’re also working on gaze tracking and a bunch of other stuff.

      But yes, one barely-related device failed, therefore all biometrics won’t work. Sure.

  36. Bhazor says:

    So either too expensive to appeal to console markets or too underpowered to appeal to PC gamers?

    I think Valve know better than that. Custom Alienware PC it is.

  37. MadTinkerer says:

    I’m guessing that instead of an actual separate console system, the actual “Steam Box” being proposed is a hypothetical series of requirements for the next generation of consoles and Macs to adhere to in order for maximum cross-compatibility with PCs (and vivce-versa). And/or a set of requirements based on Valve’s research into what kind of PCs/Macs everyone actually has in order to have the “Steam Box Consoles” actually resemble what real people have instead of a pure educated guess on the engineers’ part.

  38. Insaneg33k says:

    I really dont see there being much point unless its SIGNIFIGANLY cheaper. Otherwise its just a PC without all the extras and customisability surely? Maybe im missing somthing but I’d just wanna take it apart and steal all the goodies! >:D

  39. Etherealsteel says:

    I wonder if maybe this can be upgraded, likely they will go with a laptop board to save space. I like that they went 8GB, but you could do just fine with 4GB of RAM. I have faith in Valve, they don’t do things without thinking it through.

  40. Defianc4 says:

    This would be such an amazing idea; valve would knock out Microsoft and Sony in one go simply by making their consoles upgradeable. Developers would be very happy to develop for one and only one system.

    Console gamers would move to the console whose graphics don’t suck (Valve’s Steambox) and PC gamers like me would keep their mods, customizability, and, unfortunately, pirating. Thankfully, the honest PC gamers like myself wouldn’t suffer as much from the rampant piracy, because developers would optimize much more for our system, which would be the only system.

    Please, Valve, go for this. Please, investors go for this. Please remove us from the shackles that pirates have placed upon the PC gaming industry.

  41. absolofdoom says:

    Oh gawd no. I hope this is just a silly rumour.
    Otherwise it’s time to… *sunglasses* …stop a gaben.

  42. vodka and cookies says:

    Seems a bad business move to me, something like OnLive’s micro console would have been the way to go with your own PC doing the rendering then sending the output over your local network to the Steam console which could be a tiny and cheap set top box with support for mice/keyboards and gamepads.

    Would have been a great up-sell for the existing Steam user base, building gaming PC’s that are nothing more than “Steam certified” will have limited appeal, people who buy consoles are not going to buy this kind of Steam console.

  43. Eynonz says:

    This would only interest me if it was cheaper than building my own with equal specs.

  44. netizensmith says:

    Ignoring – for a moment – every single reason why this is unlikely, I think it’s a great idea. Games that make sense to play from an armchair with a pad. Why would Valve do it? To make more money. Every time someone buys the next Batman game on the GabeCube (great name!) rather than the xbox they get cash.