Valve May Be Working on a Secret "Steam Box" Console

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News Posted: Sun, Mar 4 2012 9:53 AM
The world needs another game console like it needs, well, another game console. They say 'three's a crowd' and there's already the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, so is there really room for another player to make a stand in the living room? Valve apparently thinks so and is reportedly working on a "Steam Box" console that just might have what it takes to find a place in your home theater.

Citing un-named sources, The Verge says Valve has been drafting a specification sheet along with the required software that would be required for a third-party to build a Steam Box. There was even a hand-built prototype shown off to potential partners at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

"We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GPU. The Device 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," The Verge writes.


Valve's Greg Coomer tweeted the above picture with the caption: "Built this Tiny PC. i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/ onboard Nvidia mobile gfx. Runs Portal 2 FAST." Could we be looking at a prototype of the Steam Box?

It sounds an awful like like your run-of-the-mill HTPC, though perhaps Valve will load it up with special software for a user-friendly experience. A proprietary controller is apparently in the cards, and the goal is to give developers a window of three or four years to work with the hardware before Valve introduces any changes. There will be no devkit or licensing fees to create software for the Steam Box.

An interesting side note to all this is that Dell's Alienware X51 may have been built around an early spec sheet of the Steam Box and could be upgraded to the requisite software down the road, as one rumor goes.
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sackyhack replied on Sun, Mar 4 2012 10:32 AM

Sigh. I like Valve and all, but it seems like for 5 years they've been working on EVERYTHING game related except Half-Life 3 or episode 3. It's not that they haven't made good games in the mean time, but the lack of info is getting abusive at this point.

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sackyhack:
it seems like for 5 years they've been working on EVERYTHING game related except Half-Life 3 or episode 3.

You noticed that too? Smile

 

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At this point I won't hold my breath anymore. When and if it ever gets released I'll wanna play it, but for now outta sight outta mind. Interesting device is interesting, but sounds destined to fail based on the stark divide between console gamers and PC gamers that this intended device would try to bridge.

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AKwyn replied on Mon, Mar 5 2012 4:05 PM

I don't know if these rumors are even true; I'm thinking about the idea of a Steam based console and it just doesn't work out. For one, if any games that are playable on the PC would be playable on the console then it's just a glorified PC with a console like interface. Examples include the infamous Phantom which after a ton of hype, went and gone in the blink of an eye. All of the talk involving developing for the platform is also confusing because it implies that it's an actual console instead of a glorified PC; it might be resolving around the service itself but why center it around the console?

Lastly; if they wanted to get Steam as the center of a gaming experience then why not get in bed with Sony and release Steam for the PS3; sure, it's a different architecture but you could make money with it and it would give people more incentive to buy a PS3 then an Xbox 360 or a Wii. Besides, Portal 2 for PS3 has SteamWorks integration; if that isn't a sign of how loose Sony is then I don't know what is.

 

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TaylorKarras:
it's just a glorified PC with a console like interface

Yeah,...what I was thinking too. I already have a great way to play Steam games. And is a little Zotac Box gonna have enough under the hood to play some of the more demanding titles out there?

I like the Zotacs for HTCP use. They have a lot of features packed into a tiny enclosure and they're reasonable in price. But wazoo gamers they are not.

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Kiristo replied on Tue, Mar 6 2012 4:27 PM

Agree with Taylor and Neil, it's just a PC with a fancy dashboard, and I also already can play all their games on a much better rig. The only real plus would being able to play whilst sitting on my couch, which for a lot cheaper I could just do with my current PC.

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