Valve: We are "a long way" from launching a game console

Last weekend, rumors hit the Internet that Valve was talking with hardware makers on creating what was termed a "Steam Box." The hardware would basically be a PC with specifications that would be able to run games such as the ones that Valve sells on its very popular Steam download service. The article also claimed that an official announcement might come during this week's GDC event or at June's E3 trade show.

Now Kotaku reports that Valve has shot down at least some of these rumors. Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi did confirm that Valve is still working on Steam's Big Picture mode, which was announced at GDC 2011 and which is designed to use Steam's user interface on big screen televisions while connected to a PC.

Lombardi said that Valve is building PCs boxes to test the Big Picture mode along with working on biometric experiments. However, he added, "All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware."

While Lombardi said that Valve would not be making any hardware announcements at GDC this week or at E3 in June, he stopped short of saying that Valve would never release a hardware product.

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I would love a Steam Box, especially if it allows the freedom to install an OS of your choice, free online gaming, enough USB ports (six or eight) to plug in several devices (webcam, etc)

And of course, the ability to play with keyboard and mouse

Please Steam !!!!

Alley Cat said,
I would love a Steam Box, especially if it allows the freedom to install an OS of your choice, free online gaming, enough USB ports (six or eight) to plug in several devices (webcam, etc)

And of course, the ability to play with keyboard and mouse

Please Steam !!!!

Pretty sure that's called a PC, or am I missing something?

I think Steam for Linux will come before a console. If devs start making Linux ports Valve doesn't have to pay for a Windows license for each console sold.

NeoNut said,
I think Steam for Linux will come before a console. If devs start making Linux ports Valve doesn't have to pay for a Windows license for each console sold.

Interesting prospect.

Specific hardware + "Steam Linux" = Steam Box

The side effect of that is that "Steam box" games are essentially Linux binaries, and could start resulting in more mainstream Linux games.

Possible end result: Steam box games are both console and desktop games, no porting required.

NeoNut said,
I think Steam for Linux will come before a console. If devs start making Linux ports Valve doesn't have to pay for a Windows license for each console sold.

Doubt it. OS X has a far greater market share than desktop Linux, and the level of support for OS X is relatively small and not up to the same level of quality as Windows versions.

Athernar said,

Doubt it. OS X has a far greater market share than desktop Linux, and the level of support for OS X is relatively small and not up to the same level of quality as Windows versions.

If Valve put a Linux distro on a console though, there'd (in theory) be no need for any kind of support around the OS itself in the same way that the custom OS on the PS3 or XBox doesn't need any particular support forum. The OS would be the same on all consoles, and the developers would develop for it. Putting Windows on it would be a waste of money IMO, since all it'd be used for is gaming and/or media-centering, and the extra functionality of Windows would be hidden.

Majesticmerc said,

If Valve put a Linux distro on a console though, there'd (in theory) be no need for any kind of support around the OS itself in the same way that the custom OS on the PS3 or XBox doesn't need any particular support forum. The OS would be the same on all consoles, and the developers would develop for it. Putting Windows on it would be a waste of money IMO, since all it'd be used for is gaming and/or media-centering, and the extra functionality of Windows would be hidden.

You're working from the assumption that a "Steam Box" would be a console in the strict sense of the word. It won't be as there is no sensible reason for Valve to release yet another console.

A Steam box would be a Windows HTPC running big-picture mode, bringing the entire Steam library to those that prefer a sofa/big TV.