Gabe Opens Up About Valve’s Own Biometric Steam Box

By Nathan Grayson on January 9th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

It will almost certainly look nothing like this. But we can dream, can't we?

The Steam Box drama is now reaching soap-opera-esque levels. First, Xi3 announced that it’s partnered with Valve to birth a bouncing baby space grapefruit, then Valve noted that plenty of other prototypes are waiting in the wings, and now Gabe Newell’s emerged from the shadows to chat up Valve’s own Linux-powered, biometrically-controlled Steam Box. What’s next, I ask you? Will we discover that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 never died, but instead got shipwrecked on an island/overwrought metaphor/the moon, conveniently acquired amnesia, and came to believe that it, too, was a Steam Box? Or is some contrived, out-of-left-field twist going to reveal that our closest friends were Steam Boxes all along? It’s just too much, everyone. I’m not sure if I can deal with it.

Speaking (yes, Gabe still does that occasionally) with The Verge, the Valve head honcho held very little back in discussing his company’s work on its own in-house Steam Box. The big (though not exactly unexpected) bullet points? A Linux-based backend and a custom controller that’ll probably incorporate biometric feedback. You know, like from your heart and eyes and epiglottis and whatnot. Newell explained:

“We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have.”

“I think you’ll see controllers coming from us that use a lot of biometric data. Maybe the motion stuff is just failure of imagination on our part, but we’re a lot more excited about biometrics as an input method. Your hands, and your wrist muscles, and your fingers are actually your highest bandwidth – so to try and talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying ‘oh we’re gonna stop using ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up.’ …Biometrics on the other hand is essentially adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways the player isn’t necessarily conscious of. Biometrics gives us more visibility. Also, gaze tracking. we think gaze tracking is gonna turn out to be super important.”

And that’s just the beginning. Newell also discussed the possibility of opening up Steam’s store and letting all users set up shop as they please, Valve’s forays into mobile hardware (specifically, control setups that push us beyond the “anti-game” touch screen era), and – of course – how much he despises Windows 8.

So then, living room PC gaming, biometrics, open platforms, and user-generated content. It’s pretty typical Valve rhetoric, but it’s nice to finally hear Gabe open up about how exactly it’ll all be applied. There’s still no telling where exactly the PC overlord’s roadmap of the future will take us, but I can’t really argue with the intentions behind it. As ever, though, I’m hoping for less telling and more showing. Talk, after all, is cheap. And let’s be honest: Valve’s ideas are wonderful more often than not, but execution’s sometimes another story. So I’m gonna take the watch and wait approach with this stuff for now, and – in the meantime – keep as tight of hand as humanly possible on the keys to my entertainment destiny.

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107 Comments »

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  1. Meat Circus says:

    I think we should change any further mention of the SteamBox to a random steam engine part.

    I hereby reserve the right to refer to this piece of hardware as the Blow-down Cock.

    Half Life 3 a SteamBox exclusive and pack-in launch title.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      If it’s going to be powered by Half Life, wouldn’t it make more sense for it to be the Turbine?

    • Diving Duck says:

      Fantastic idea, I pick ‘Bighole’, ‘Blow down valve’ or ‘Wet Steam’

      (thanks Google)

    • colweb says:

      I like the idea of an Orifice Flange, but that could just be me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Some_Guy says:

      I’d go for main shaft.

    • jiaco says:

      Yeah, Blow-down Cock, that is sure to please fans everywhere and greatly increase the presence of females in gaming.

      I am partial to Steamsole, but not sure if that is an engine part or not. It just sounds creepy enough to describe this whole phenomenon.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        Let us know when you finish that draft of equally gendered (including double entendres) steam engine nomenclature for us to work with?

        Or when you stop mistaking puns for sexism. Whichever first.

        Also, I vote for snifting valve.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I thought it was already called the Piston. otherwise where would that great pun headline yesterday have come from?!

    • Frannk says:

      Smokebox or Firebrick seem fitting.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    It’ll be really interesting to see what they did with the biometric controller stuff. Wouldn’t it be great if they made a controller that is somehow even more accurate and intuitive to use than a mouse? None of that wavy motion controller bullshit which promised the same thing but fell way short.

    • frightlever says:

      I think you’ve misunderstood what they plan to use biometric data for. It won’t produce a more accurate controller, it’ll allow Valve to more accurately track how a game affects you. I imagine it’ll be relevant during testing to refine levels, the way Valve are already famous for, but less relevant during play. I could see a scenario where a game reads your heart rate and using a L4D style director to drop in more enemies to put more stress on you, or throws a few seconds of calm to let you get your BPM down.

      I use a vertical mouse because of wrist RSI so I’m not going to be in the market for a fancy gaming mouse. I could see me picking up a biometric controller but I don’t play FPS games with a controller.

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        Morlock says:

        I assume that most of the biometric data they want to collect is on behaviour that you can’t control very well. Even eye movement has a lot of implicit elements. I agree that there is a lot of potential for gaming, but wouldn’t dismiss motion tracking entirely. The problem with motion tracking is that it needs new types of games that feel right with it. The Kinect is screaming for a game in which you play a ghost who can pass through solid objects.

      • Frannk says:

        Interesting analysis, and Valve are hiring for a psychologist with a similar job description currently (may have been listed for al long time, I don’t know.)

    • Marik Bentusi says:

      Y’know, if all the fine detail is in how your fingers behave on the surface, I don’t think there should be a lot of problems from porting the tech to mouses. You “just” need to adjust for the different finger positions and make sure you stay within your room and energy budget.

    • mckertis says:

      “Wouldn’t it be great if they made a controller that is somehow even more accurate and intuitive to use than a mouse?”

      They did, decades ago, its called a stylus.

    • povu says:

      Wasn’t there this indie game in the works a while back that did something with heartbeats? It was a horror game, and if it detected your heartbeat increasing it would make the scaryness worse.

    • varangian says:

      I wonder if they are looking at the Leap Motion controller or something like it. From the previews – and the videos seem to back them up – this makes stuff like the Kinect look like a bad joke. If the idea of the Steambox is to free PC gamers from the need for a clunking great desktop PC then finding a replacement for the keyboard & mouse duo that have been our constant companions will also be necessary.

  3. int says:

    As long as it’s not the Ouya and doesn’t actually run on steam, this could be good.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    OK so now it has to look like the companion cube or I will refuse to buy it.

    • Archangel says:

      Agreed, +1, signed, or whatever the kids are doing these days to support something said on the Internet.

      Or can we at least mass-produce a weighted companion cube PC case?

    • f1x says:

      Oh… <3

    • Morte66 says:

      Make it so.

      I recently gave my 3-4 year old PC a shot in the arm rather than buy a new one, because I felt I wasn’t playing games so much as complaining about what’s wrong with them on blogs/forums. A weighted companion cube would have extracted considerably more of my money.

    • Toberoth says:

      Yes please!

    • neolith says:

      My thoughts exactly.

  5. Loque says:

    It will be Linux-based. Given the insanely low amount of Linux titles… I doubt it will be a real game breaker. Yes, you can still buy and install Windows 8 but that’s another story.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      ‘insanely low’ is mostly true for AAA-ish titles, but Newell seems unbothered by this. So I have to wonder what the plan with that is.

      Supposedly Blizzard will be announcing something later in the year too.

      And my spider sense tells me Double Fine are cooking up something too.

      • Loque says:

        Well, the AAA titles are those who sell million copies and could justify a hardware Valve-dedicated platform. There is not much sense in producing a box that will play Terraria on Linux (or any other indie / pixelart-based game). I mean, you can play similar titles on a phone or iPad, for example.

        Now… if the Valve box was able to run Skyrim, Borderlands2, CivilizationV and other great titles well… THAT would make a difference.

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          Malibu Stacey says:

          Terraria is written in C# (proprietary Microsoft language) and is no longer being developed so pretty horrendous example to use all round.

          Also Borderlands 2 & Civilization V already run on Mac OS (and are ‘SteamPlay’ titles) so I expect it wouldn’t be a massive problem for their developers/publishers to get them working on Linux too. Skyrim however would be a whole other kettle of worms.

          • vinzBad says:

            Nope, C# is quite open, because it is ECMA-standardized,

            Terraria is built upon XNA which is really easy portable when you use Monogame e. g.the Devs of Bastion did this for the Humblebundle.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Both the Mac ports of those were done by Aspyr. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t an equivalent publisher that does Linux ports.

          • Snakejuice says:

            “there isn’t an equivalent publisher that does Linux ports.”
            I miss Loki Games!

      • mckertis says:

        “‘insanely low’ is mostly true for AAA-ish titles”

        Considering that Valve is 100% NON-TRANSPARENT when it comes to explaining why they aknowledge some games yet turn away others – AAA is what you should expect from Steambox as well.

    • ulix says:

      There’ll be a few big hitters for Linux on launch. You can bet on that. Maybe HL3? :)
      Also, you could install WIndows 7… you don’t HAVE to use Windows 8, if you want to use Windows.

      • Loque says:

        Oh well that’s absolutely true but installing Windows would defeat the initial purpose (a compact, nice and out-of the box Steam experience). Also, Win7 is no longer sold by Microsoft, you should stick to the horrible Win8. Finally… why tweaking a Steam boz when you can do the same on your PC?

        Unless this platform will be extremely cheap… I don’t see it very well on the current market.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Windows 7 is still available for sale, just so you know.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Valve’s philosophy seems to be that if they build it, they will come. Possibly with good reason: it seems to be working for Mac OS X.

      • Morte66 says:

        But when they put steam on macs, they were selling games to people who already had the macs and were starved for games.

        If they were just doing Steam on Linux, I could see the sense in that. It’s a market, it needs games, and they just have to port software they’ve ported once before.

        Selling hardware to Linux people (who are presumably quite clued up re cheap DIY) seems a tougher prospect.

        But I think they’re rich enough to shrug it off if it fails miserably, and it could succeed. Seems like a plausible business risk.

        • Loque says:

          Price tag will be a HUGE element to take into account. A Linux-based machine/console with (much) less titles than other platforms would be a winner if sold around 100-1500$ (see OUYA box, for example, at 99$).

          But if they go for the 300-400$ (or more) range… I guess it will stay in their storehouse.

          • Gnoupi says:

            You can’t really make a decent gaming PC for 100-150, though. It doesn’t buy the graphical card even.

          • lordcooper says:

            If Valve are trying to lure console gamers, maybe they’re willing to sell these things at a loss like Sony and Microsoft do?

        • djbriandamage says:

          I don’t think “linux people” are the target market of a console. The linux people will run games on their home PCs. This device is more for the layman.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        If by “working” you mean “crashing continuously throughout the Steam winter sales for every Mac single user visiting the store page“, then you are correct.

        Otherwise there’ll bit a bit of fanfare at the beginning and then linux users will have to fend for themselves.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, I just don’t get the point of a Linux-based Steam Box. I have 150-odd games in my Steam library (most of them unplayed). Less than half-a-dozen of those, mostly smaller indie games, are available on Linux, and I’ve played all but one or two of them. I expect a few more of those (no more than three or four) will be ported, but they’re also going to be games I’ve already played. If the device doesn’t actually run any of the games I want to play from Steam, it’s a pretty darn useless Steam Box, fancy biometric gewgaws or no.

    • kshade says:

      The good old hen egg problem. Valve is working to port their own games over (with TF2 already running almost perfect from first-hand experience) while others have at least toyed with the idea (like Blizzard and THQ). Right now I’ve got TF2, Amnesia, Braid, Cave Story+, FTL, Psychonauts, Serious Sam 3 BFE and World of Goo in my library, among some lesser known titles. That’s not too shabby for the beginning.

  6. MOKKA says:

    I’m still skeptical as to wether or not this thing is going to be as open as a regular PC is today.

    • f1x says:

      If you can trust what Gabe says, its gonna be quite as much in terms of software

      Obviously its not gonna be in terms of hardware, but thats the whole point, to have a stable hardware setup that you shouldnt be needing to modify

      • MOKKA says:

        But will it be possible to get software outside Steam? Can I buy my games from a different service? One where Valve does not get a profit? How easy is it going to be to distribute my own software (theoratically, I’m not a developer of anything)?
        If the only way to distribute software on this thing is by submitting it to Steam and the only way to get Software is by downloading it from Steam, I don’t see any difference between this thing and Windows 8, or Apple or any other walled garden out there.

        Sure this is pure speculation mixed with a good deal of pessimism from my part (I already think that Valve’s position as a software distributor is too strong), but so far I don’t see any reason to really get excited about this.

        • Gnoupi says:

          Seeing as they will let people install whatever system they want on it, I assume that they won’t go for something particularly closed. Just something preinstalled, booting Steam easily, but the rest should be up to the user.

          • MasterDex says:

            The way I see it, it’s going to come preinstalled with a Steam GUI running on Linux that it boots right into. Anyone wanting to use the system as they would a regular PC could then get rid of that off it and use whatever flavour of OS they want on it. So in otherwords, it’ll be closed to the layman and open to the enthusiasts.

            Also, if this is ARM based, it may not be possible to install Windows 8 on it at all since certification requires that secure boot is not configurable.

          • HothMonster says:

            The piston was announced as x86 based, I thought 8 was suppose to support ARM anyway?

            My bet is from that steam gui you can drop into the actual OS if you want so even a layman would have more flexibility than on existing consoles but maybe not.

        • f1x says:

          Yeap, once again if he is true to his words, I understand that if you are free to install windows you shouldn’t have any problem to run any gaming client or any drm-free game, I mean you wont be forced to use Steam

          If you think about it, in terms of marketing, its probably better for them if its truly open if they plan to release something with a high price target (around 1000$) otherwise its gonna be hard to justify the product, and in the end, for them with this Steam Box the true profit is about selling the boxes not about selling more Steam games, but I could be wrong with this

          The only grey point now is how its gonna be with the valve-developed gamepad, if it will be perfectly compatible with windows and if non-steam games will detect it properly

          About being excited or not, I suppose it depends on your preferences, the strong points of this Steam-box could be:
          – A device with the comodities of a console but with as open as a PC and with the power of a high-end pc aswell
          – A guarantee of quality when it comes to the components of the hardware, meaning you dont need any hardware knowledge you can just purchase the box and play right away without worrying about performance
          – Windows free

          not exciting points:
          – perhaps will be too expensive if you plan to use it like a console, and pointless to be used as a PC if you already have a good one

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          It’s going to be based on Linux, so you should be able to install any software you want. Or rather, this being Linux, any available software you want.

    • InternetBatman says:

      He says that you will be able to buy it and install windows on it, which implies a fair degree of openness. Far more than current consoles.

      I would guess that all the bare to metal bits that let developers do what they want will be in a stripped down version of linux, to help push adoption towards linux.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    Gabe really needed to come out and confirm that the Piston system wasn’t the “Steam Box” after the disingenuous language and way Xi3 had been promoting it.

    • JonKristinsson says:

      Wait, saying “We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box.” isn’t enough for you?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > the disingenuous language and way Xi3 had been promoting it

      They announced a partnership, that is all. If you watch the interviews they are asked several times if this is the official Steambox, and they say “No comment. The “Steambox” things are YOUR WORDS. All we are announcing is that we are working with Valve”.

      It is not their fault if people online are doing their favourite pastime – jumping to conclusions without evidence and then completely flipping out.

  8. SkittleDiddler says:

    Well, I’ve finally given up all hope of ever seeing Half-Life 3 before I come down with some kind of terminal geriatric disease.

    Gabe’s mind is so littered with vacuous side projects that he’s forgetting what most gamers really care about.

    • ColOfNature says:

      I can’t help but think ‘launch title’ at this juncture.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        That would make sense.

        • solidsquid says:

          They’re also working on the new source engine, seems pretty likely they’d build HL3 in that and launch with the Steambox so they can publicise both products

    • Toberoth says:

      Vacuous? Heh. If this is your idea of vacuous, I’d love to know what you class as a thoughtful, innovative idea.

      • LionsPhil says:

        “A console, but it runs Linux” is not innovative. It might be a bit more thoughtful than usual, but that’s giving the benefit of the doubt to Valve in assuming there’s unseen cleverness. Biometric controllers kind of screams “gimmick” just as much as the Kinect and its useless brethren.

        Indrema. Phantom. EVO Smart Console. And the upcoming Ouya.

        • Toberoth says:

          Tbh at this point I am willing to give Valve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like this. If anyone can successfully integrate biometric controls without disrupting the “core” experience of gaming, then it’s probably them. Anyway, a lot of people saw Steam itself as a pointless side project when it arrived, and now a massive proportion of PC gamers turn to it for most of their gaming needs.

          Also, I think “a console that runs Linux” is understating it a bit, since you’ll also be free to install other OSes on it. If they can combine the console experience of just turning on the machine, running a game and having it work properly, with the PC experience of customizable software/mods/all that jazz, then more power to them, especially if they use HL3 as a launch title.

          • LionsPhil says:

            What magic wand are you expecting them to wave that means if you install some other OS on it, that other OS will behave any more “console-y” than that OS on other hardware?

          • Toberoth says:

            I’m not expecting that at all–I expect the experience out of the box (ie., with Linux installed by default) will be fairly consoley in the sense that it will be optimised to just work without any fiddling, but if users want to install Windows or whatever on it, then that’s totally up to them. Valve will support it with Steam’s big picture mode, but aside from that they’re on their own. Still more options than what we have with the current big consoles.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Biometric controllers sound less like a gimmick when you consider Director Mode in L4D2. They’ve already been working on adaptive difficulty. The real issue is whether or not the technology is there yet. If it’s an almost there like the wii, they’ll be able to do enough interesting things to drive some customers to the platform.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Anything that would have a long-lasting, positive change on the way the video game industry operates and produces. Kinda like Steam did when it came out. Biometric controls, UI updates, Razer tie-ins, and frigging hats don’t count as innovative to me.

      • f1x says:

        Building a trustable, semi-economical PC that allows you to play either on your TV or in your pc-room without having to worry about the hardware quality its not innovative but its something lacking in the PC Gaming world, and we could argue something necessary for the future, I understand this was the major concenr of Valve when this project first surfaced, the idea of getting something more branded and stable in terms of hardware when it came to PC gaming

        Sure most of us maybe are wise enough to build a custom PC and enjoy it without any major troubles but for the rest of mankind the PC world is an strange place full of horrible Acer or HP combos and overpriced Razer gizmos

        Gotta see how this turns out in the end tho, I still have to see it with my eyes before being able to judge and its really going to be as functional as a PC

    • InternetBatman says:

      This is not vacuous; he’s fighting for the survival of Valve in the face of increasingly closed systems.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        If Valve is really interested in its own survival, it should concentrate on improving its horrid customer service, along with making Steam a truly functional client instead of stacking it with poorly thought-out Facebook emulators. Gabe seems to be ignoring the more important technical aspects in favor of tired flash-in-the-pan concepts like motion controls and biometric hullabaloo. He needs to get back to basics.

        None of the gimmickry he comes up with in the next few years is gonna mean squat when his competitors finish playing catch up and start getting serious.

        • InternetBatman says:

          I’ve had relatively good customer service from Valve. The complaints are few and far between, and far less horrendous than most game companies. There’s only so much further they can improve. Also, continuing to get better at doing the same thing while the world changes around you is a recipe for failure. Just ask RIM.

          And the competitors are done playing catch-up, and are now focusing on areas of expertise. Steam has critical mass. GoG has compatibility and DRM free sales. HIB has the best bundles. Amazon offers very competitive prices.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            You would think Valve would at least be paying attention to the people who feel like they’ve been screwed over by Steam’s customer service (however few naysayers you may think they have). They simply ignore any criticisms of their archaic CS system and continue to use it while the rest of the industry trend towards upgrading and improving their own customer service experience. Live chat and phone support are going to become more relevant as Steam’s customer base continues to increase, and the fact that Valve are willing to outright disregard any kind of positive modification is a bit disturbing to me.

            As far as Steam’s competition, not one of them has yet to offer a similar service outside of selling video games. As a client, Steam is uniquely successful, and that’s something the other distributors have yet to emulate. They’re still playing catch up in that regard.

            I’m glad to see Steam’s chokehold on the market slipping bit by bit, but the rest of the bunch have a long way to go before they can come close to gaining even a fraction of Steam’s influence.

          • uh20 says:

            Oh my, have you not seen services at other companies before? origin has an equal mess.

            yes valve (and you should instead write “all sorts of game companies”) have a few customer service problems, i hear of some payment issues left unresolved for 2 weeks, which is a little bad.

            but dont take tallys on such small stuff against them when the company still needs support through things that are worse.

            i would rather have this brought up to the table of, say, activision, that seems like a company that can take some more flak.

  9. Shantara says:

    The Verge interview was an extremely interesting read. I strongly suggest to check it if you haven’t already.

  10. mckertis says:

    “biometrically-controlled Steam Box.”

    So what, you’ll have to present your ID, fingerprints and blood analysis just to play the damn thing ?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Does anyone even bother reading the article before posting comments these days?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, Valve are leaders in DRM!

      I mean we have them and Steam to thank for the world of near-ubiquitous online account-based authentication we now live in. Just because many others have since leapfrogged them (Ubisoft being an obvious example) doesn’t mean they didn’t break the ice on this particularly unpleasant development.

      • f1x says:

        You seem to have an old grudge against Steam, maybe Gabe Newell burnt your village when you were a kid and killed the men, enslaved the women, and you are now on a quest for revenge?

        • Crosmando says:

          This sounds completely useless, and I imagine only Valve-drones will buy it because “LOL IT’S GOT PORTAL SYMBOLISM DERP”. Just use a normal desktop PC

          • Asurmen says:

            Because a normal desktop PC is oh so portable and easily located near a TV for your viewing pleasure.

            Oh, wait…

        • LionsPhil says:

          …maybe it’s just that I don’t like DRM?

        • f1x says:

          nah, I prefer my theory, much more exciting!

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          That fucker Newell ate my village. Every last person. Then he installed DRM on my yurt and made me sign a ToS in order to gain access to it.

  11. goettel says:

    It’s not the popular thing to say, but I love this guy’s visionary approach. Fuck pragmatism and endless bitter comments – this is a guy with dreams sitting on a mountain of gold to waste away on them.

    Godspeed, Gabe ! Now roll in my damned dome-shaped OLED display and box of biometric conrol-sensors already, biatches, there’s gamin’ to be done.

    /rant

  12. InternetBatman says:

    The article was great, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Valve and MS get into a money fight in the next gen that Sony will be hard-pressed to keep up with. Valve sent some pointed barbs their way already.

    I think the biometric thing is great, and will help drive customers towards the platform.

  13. Reapy says:

    It’s funny I read these articles and all the excited comments and find myself getting excited too!!! Then I stop and think what am I getting excited about? Gaming on my TV? This is already solved?

    Why is steam on a computer suddenly new and exciting? Steam is a content delivery system, that already can be installed on many operating systems. I recently spent around 400 on a nice HTPC to run XMBC, pretty small form factor, about the size of an old VCR, its sitting nicely under my TV and I found out it doubles nicely as a gaming system as well.

    I have a 360 controller on it, and a wireless keyboard and mouse which work just fine from the couch. I installed steam, can use big picture mode, but honestly prefer to use the keyboard and mouse. I can even use an ipad to control xbmc if I want. There are sooo many ways to talk to that PC from my couch that again, I don’t know what the excitement is about.

    Whatever you think you want out of a ‘steambox’ is already here. The only thing that might be worth it is subsidized hardware so you can get more gpu/cpu power for cheap.

    Maybe, maybe I could get excited about valve making linux into a competing gaming platform with windows, but that is really about software and muscling an industry around with cash, rather than any hardware they develop.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The Steambox will probably be about integrating it, putting it all on linux, and subsidizing the hardware. That’s an attractive offer.

  14. Etherealsteel says:

    If Valve design this Steambox as a Companion Cube or at least have it as an alternative to get, that will be sold out in no time. It can be done

  15. jrpatton says:

    step 1) release steam box
    step 2) let me play most/all of my existing steam games on steam box
    step 3) profit
    step 4) more profit

  16. Sgaire says:

    Welp, I suppose it’s official: Gaben has finally gone completely insane.

  17. rossasaur says:

    Wow, this looks infinitely better than the piston thing, oh god, open platform. High sensitivity (so non clunky I believe) controller, unique new biometric data input. To put it politely I think I want to fornicate with the steambox.

  18. TechnicalBen says:

    Dear Valve and Gabe. As to biometrics. No. Just no. This is not an opinion, it is fact. Don’t waste your money burning it on a lost cause. Just make a quality product and a controller. Unless this “biometrics” is “brain scanning”. !!!

  19. EstrangedManatee says:

    I am really excited about the announcement of this product, but not really for it’s role in gaming. I don’t know if they’ve discussed a price point yet, but a mass-produced, mid-range gaming computer with a controller with motion and biometric data that may even be partially subsidized by the manufacturer based on the assumption that people will buy it and then buy more games could be fantastic for education, research, and medicine.

    Imagine, instead of going to a doctor’s office and having your blood pressure, heart rate, etc measured, you just grab onto this controller and it tells you if you’re healthy or not. Or people wiring up a bunch of these in parallel to make low cost super computers, similar to how the US government used a bunch of PS3s as a farm for breaking cryptography – except without all the limitations on upgrading hardware or putting on a different OS.

    I have no idea how successful this will be as a gaming platform, but if it’s sold at the right price I’m sure people will find tons of uses for it Valve never imagined.

  20. Stackler says:

    Valves console will look like the companion cube and will be just called “cube”. I’d buy it in an instant.

  21. DumbCreature says:

    So they will install GLaD OS to collect data about you via biometric feedback from controller? I assume real name of SteamBox will be ‘Big Gabe’ (you know, like ‘big brother’, haha… um, whatever, forget it.)