Valve’s Steam Box Confirmed

Gabe decided to throw a surprise at this year’s VGAs after all. In an unexpected twist of events, Gabe Newell confimed to Kotaku at last nights Video Game Awards that Valve is working on a Steam console. Mr. Newell states that Big Picture Mode, which is the Steam TV UI, was the first step towards making a full hardware product for their service.

Unfortunately, the details are a bit sketchy at this point in time. You may be asking yourself if this will have some sort of Steam OS or will it be using Windows 7 or 8. Well, the interview actually hints more towards the linux area. So, Valve’s recent Linux push may start to bring the “big picture” together (oh look a pun). However, the company’s Linux implementation has a long way to go.

Currently, there are only a handful of games for the platform in the beta phase for Steam on Linux. In addition, most games do not support Open GL and favor Direct X. So, it will be interesting to see, if Valve does in fact take the Linux approach for their hardware, how many games will in fact be supported on launch.

Wait, is Valve going to be the only one making this Steam Box (rumored prototype picture above)? The answer to that question appears to be no, as this first Steam Box will be used as a baseline for other hardware manufacturers to compete. Valve also plans to get very competitive with next gen consoles as well. In fact, Gabe Newell did not shy away from stating that this new platform will generate a more unified experience across the board.

I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them. Cause they won’t have to split the world into thinking about ‘why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?’ So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments.

Now, if you are a PC gamer there is no need to worry. Gabe is intending for the new hardware to just attract more people to their software services and provide new opportunities to people in the market.

If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that’s what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them.

Kotaku also pressed Gabe on their new engine. Of course he didn’t go into any specifics, but he did confirm that there is a new engine in the works (source engine 2?) and that it will work with next-generation consoles.