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

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.