Published on March 3rd, 2012 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Is Valve Planning to Steam-roll Your Living Room?
According to technology site The Verge, not only is Valve planning on doing exactly that, but an announcement could be made as soon as this coming week at GDC. Gamers should know full well what Valve is, having published the Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress and Counter-Strike franchises as well as the widely popular Steam client, a digital storefront with a catalog of games that grows daily.
One of the biggest questions I had when thinking about this box was “What are the specs?” and The Verge didn’t disappoint:
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.
Compared to the current consoles on the market, that’s reasonably impressive. One of the major benefits to a system like what Valve is proposing is that this new system won’t involve licensing fees, so it seems that companies could just build their own Steam Box and sell it. Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve, actually mentions that they’d prefer hardware companies build and distribute the systems, and that’s a major leap in how consoles have been distributed in the past. You could have a Dell, Toshiba, hell even Microsoft and Sony “approved” Steam Boxes that fit (or far exceed) the minimum requirements, and since this would essentially be a PC made for your TV, it might not dig into 360/PS3 sales as much as one would think. OK, it probably would, but I digress.
It’s also mentioned that while the box would support a myriad of USB peripherals, it would likely ship with a reconfigurable controller, similar in vein to the MadCatz MLG controller. Since Valve filed a patent for just such a controller, it wouldn’t be all that surprising.
The possibilities are endless. The fact that I downloaded a Steam client for my iPhone yesterday that allows me to buy Steam games and chat with other Steam users is proof enough that the platform is growing. Add an inexpensive home console that’s capable of other standard computing tasks as well as some media center functionality, and you have yourself a contender.
I, for one, would buy one. Valve is probably the most gamer-centric company on the market, and its console would seemingly be open enough for anyone to hop in and make their own variant of it. Add in the fact that this exact console is something the GAMINGtruth team has discussed in a podcast, and it’s a happy day for us all.
Now, we just have to wait until GDC starts on March 5 to see if this dream box is anywhere near production.