Windows license sticker spotted on Valve Steam Box prototype [Update]

On Monday, it was announced that PC maker Xi3 was working on a PC that was designed to specifically work with Valve's Steam PC game client and its "Big Picture" mode. Valve has also invested an unknown amount of money in Xi3. However, Valve has also indicated it might launch its own in-house "Steam Box" PC as well.

Today, The Verge took some pictures of Valve's own "Steam Box" prototype when they visited the company's CES 2013 booth. One of the images clearly shows a Windows license sticker affixed to the side of the prototype case. That would see to confirm that Valve's "Steam Box" prototype, or at least this particular box that Valve brought to Las Vegas, is running some version of Windows.

Valve in general, and its founder Gabe Newell in particular, have been highly critical of Windows 8 in the past several months. The company has been working on bringing its Steam client and many games to the Linux platform. Indeed, Valve employee Drew Bliss claimed a few months ago that Linux was in fact better suited to PC gaming than Windows 8.

As we have noted a few days ago, Steam's own hardware survey stats show that Windows 8 is now being used by 6.93 percent of its users, less than three months after its official launch. That's just 0.03 percent behind the total number of current users for Windows Vista, which came out close to six years ago. Windows 8 has already eclipsed the total number of Mac and Linux users on Steam.

The Verge also reports that Valve is at CES to meet with a lot of potential "Steam Box" hardware partners; the Valve rep said that the company has about 15 to 20 meetings planned during the trade show. No specific PC makers were mentioned but the rep claimed that people "wouldn't be surprised" by any name on their meeting list.

Update: Engadget reports that, according to Valve hardware engineer Ben Krasnow, the company has "no current plans to announce anything in 2013" in regards to its own Steam Box, although it hinted it might make some other hardware related reveals this year that have nothing to do with a Steam Box. Krasnow added, "The box might be Linux-based, but it might not."

Source: The Verge | Image via The Verge

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I don't see why Valve should go to Linux. Sure if they get their games to work with Linux then that's fair enough, but Valve has a **** ton of companies and games that don't support Linux.

I think they should of stuck with a basic version of Windows enough to start their game panel and with the mature drivers I think they can provide the better experience going down that route..

Why would Microsoft release a new Xbox with a different CPU architecture than the 360. They'd effectively be cutting it off from all 360 games.

Maybe because MS have tens of billions bucks and thousands coders with SDK but
Valve have nothing except dumb old Half-Life 2 and outdated Source?

wendoman said,
Maybe because MS have tens of billions bucks and thousands coders with SDK but
Valve have nothing except dumb old Half-Life 2 and outdated Source?

Sure, that's all they have: And they made $700M dollars last year.

They will make the Valve Box with Linux, because it makes no sense for them to pay MS any money when their latest Source engine (along with the replacement that's in development) is fully Linux compatible.

If other companies want to play on the platform, they can easily port the games without a lot of work (unless they bought too deeply into MS's kool-aid and didn't properly abstract their engines). As Ryan Gordon pointed out, one person can do a Linux port "fast and cheap".

3vi1 said,

Sure, that's all they have: And they made $700M dollars last year.

FORBES: heard from various sources that the Bellevue, Wash.-based company could be worth around $2 billion to $4 billion. Valve intends to remain private and does not disclose its financial data, but let's look at some of the numbers and estimates.
...
revenue gives Valve around $600 million to $800 million in 2010 revenues.
...
That means Valve sees profits of around $87.5 million at least."

$ 4 billions is a half of Skype.
$ 85 millions is a full cost of ONE (or two) AAA console game with marketing.

Resume: Valve have no money.

3vi1 said,
They will make the Valve Box with Linux, because it makes no sense for them to pay MS any money when their latest Source engine (along with the replacement that's in development) is fully Linux compatible.

Where is this mystery engine, and does it support any of the GPU features that OpenGL has yet to support?

DX+UnrealEngine ftw!

One of the images clearly shows a Windows license sticker affixed to the side of the prototype case. That would see to confirm that Valve's "Steam Box" prototype, or at least this particular box that Valve brought to Las Vegas, is running some version of Windows.

The box sat under my desk running Linux has a windows license sticker on it, but it certainly isn't running it

Given that they have only recently started developing their games for Linux is anyone that shocked that they're still using Windows?

Quoted from the full interview on The Verge (that i think probably no one here really read):

"So are most of these going to be Linux-based Steam Boxes?

We'll come out with our own and we'll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That'll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We're not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination."

Well they're not going to turn their back on Windows developers now are they? Of course they will run Windows based machines if it's based on the current Steam model.

I'm not sure it's surprising that it would be running Windows, given their push to Linux gaming is still in beta (and without a lot of titles), and using a Mac for it wouldn't make sense either due to a similar dearth of titles.

A platform is just that - a tool to get stuff done. If the Windows platform makes sense for them to get the largest number of titles to customers and their software developed and delivered in the shortest amount of time, then it probably makes sense to do at least the first one on Windows and revisit Linux for the next go-round.

omg! that's a samsung remote! Steam Box is running on a Samsung TV?! and that controller, Yellow, Blue, Green.. Red buttons?! its an xbox controller?! It's clear that Valve has partnered with Samsung, Microsoft and a still unknown OEM to create a new Windows 8 Steam Touch Box for playing Angry Birds on a 50" 3D HDTV.................

Edit: Read the first line:

Valve have teamed up with hardware vendor Xi3 to build a modular, miniature PC, which is currently code-named ‘Piston'.

Forgive my ignorance in advance, but I'm pretty sure this is their in house console.

Tyler R. said,
Edit: Read the first line:

Valve have teamed up with hardware vendor Xi3 to build a modular, miniature PC, which is currently code-named ‘Piston'.

Forgive my ignorance in advance, but I'm pretty sure this is their in house console.

Nope. Valve has publicly stated that the Xi3 is *not* the SteamBox (despite what Xi3) wants everyone to believe. Anyone familiar with Linux, graphics drivers, and what's been going on recently in the Steam beta would never believe Valve would use a system like this with integrated AMD graphics anyway.

i love how cute some people can be... so that fat ****** shouted a ton of hatespeech for win8 and opened up a half-assed beta program for steam on linux and now some ACTUALLY BELIEVE that steam, a PC-game distributor will produce a "console" based on linux?! i mean how stupid or naive can a man be?

of course, they don't want actual GAMERS, some guys who PAY for the stuff, they want a few geeks and give them the opportunity to play tux racer on the 50" family HD - give me a break

Most recent interview:

"We'll come out with our own and we'll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That'll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. "

;o)

so it's the same, they give a device with no usable os to do a price cut and have the gamers download some warez win to actually play... i don't see how this changes anything

so? nothing said just newell's imagination of the gaming world and some cool sounding geeky stuff like how the internet is so super smart and lifts up stuff thats really cool - which is a pretty funny thing to say around a linux theme, but hey whatever

I don't understand why people when taking about the number of Windows 8 users, have to bring up how close it is to current Vista users. Vista was a failure, even if you liked it, it never got significant market share, or lived up to Microsofts Expectations.. so pointing out how many people are using it vs Windows 8 now, is like saying how on day 3 of Windows 8 being out, it has the same number of users as Windows ME still does.

In any case, while I won't get this myself, I love the idea of a purpose built PC "Console" for gaming. And making it Windows is just obvious, it has the market share, the library, and would even allow them to sell the box to people who won't JUST use Steam.

Vista actually surpassed Microsoft's 2-year sales projection by an extra 130 million users. It never surpassed Windows XP in market share, but you can't call it a failure without strictly defining what you mean by the word, and I'm pretty sure surpassing XP is the only metric it 'failed' at.

Joshie said,
Vista actually surpassed Microsoft's 2-year sales projection by an extra 130 million users. It never surpassed Windows XP in market share, but you can't call it a failure without strictly defining what you mean by the word, and I'm pretty sure surpassing XP is the only metric it 'failed' at.

That's because, not even one month after release, Microsoft revised all of their Vista sales projections downward. It's easy to say you beat the projections, if you change the projections after the game has started and you're getting stomped.

The only reason not to call Vista a complete and utter failure is that it came pre-loaded on so many machines, whether people wanted it or not, that you can claim it had a large number of sales.

3vi1 said,

The only reason not to call Vista a complete and utter failure is that it came pre-loaded on so many machines, whether people wanted it or not, that you can claim it had a large number of sales.

You could say the same thing about Lion or the god-awful bastardizations of Linux during the netbook boom.

Isn't that a Windows 7 license sticker? Or are the Windows 8 license stickers the same? We all know Gabe Newell hates Windows 8, but does he also hate Windows 7 that much? I don't think so.

Jarrichvdv said,
Isn't that a Windows 7 license sticker? Or are the Windows 8 license stickers the same? We all know Gabe Newell hates Windows 8, but does he also hate Windows 7 that much? I don't think so.

Gabe hates Microsoft, he only likes Canonical because Linux is for the cool kids!

ingramator said,

Gabe hates Microsoft, he only likes Canonical because Linux is for the cool kids!


Valve used to run out of the same building as one of Microsoft's divisions in Bellevue, WA. My theory is, the Microsoft employees never held the elevator for him.

Joshie said,

Valve used to run out of the same building as one of Microsoft's divisions in Bellevue, WA. My theory is, the Microsoft employees never held the elevator for him.

Gabe worked for Microsoft for something like 14 years.

jhoff80 said,
There ARE no Windows 8 stickers. Instead, the serial is flashed to the device firmware.

What color is the sky in your world? There most certainly are Windows 8 license stickers, and they're colored such that it is a pain in the *** to read the tiny key.

jhoff80 said,
There ARE no Windows 8 stickers. Instead, the serial is flashed to the device firmware.

Buy a boxed OEM license and you will see the COA sticker you claim doesn't exist.

Just because they bought a computer with windows preinstalled doesn't mean that's the software configuration they're running. They could have easily just bought that at some store instead of taking hours building a pc from scratch just so it wouldn't have the windows sticker.

However it would be unwise not to be able to offer AAA titles on the steambox.

A Windows sticker on a PC means nothing. Steam, like most other businesses probably has a massive contract with the likes of Dell or HP to buy PC's in bulk, so it's perfectly reasonable that they swiped one of those PCs (or even an old dev box) and put their OS on it. Then again, it could have Windows on it running the Windows Steam client in BPM. It could be either.

PC's are stupidly easy to format, a Windows sticker doesn't confirm squat.

Majesticmerc said,
A Windows sticker on a PC means nothing. Steam, like most other businesses probably has a massive contract with the likes of Dell or HP to buy PC's in bulk, so it's perfectly reasonable that they swiped one of those PCs (or even an old dev box) and put their OS on it. Then again, it could have Windows on it running the Windows Steam client in BPM. It could be either.

PC's are stupidly easy to format, a Windows sticker doesn't confirm squat.

Pretty much

It should also be considered that, last I checked (and it's been a while), tools like wine require Windows system files for the sort of functionality needed here, which can't legally be distributed without a Windows license. If they wanted this to run Linux but take advantage of something wine-esque to support the full Steam library, having Windows on a partition somewhere would be a big requirement.

To the average consumer, being told they have a legitimate Windows installation on their computer but they aren't booting to it wouldn't...exactly go over well.

Joshie said,
It should also be considered that, last I checked (and it's been a while), tools like wine require Windows system files for the sort of functionality needed here, which can't legally be distributed without a Windows license. If they wanted this to run Linux but take advantage of something wine-esque to support the full Steam library, having Windows on a partition somewhere would be a big requirement.

To the average consumer, being told they have a legitimate Windows installation on their computer but they aren't booting to it wouldn't...exactly go over well.


Wine doesn't need any propietry windows DLLs to function, you can install directx dlls for instance to add the directx functions but wine itself comes bare without any windows DLLs and operates fine.

n_K said,

Wine doesn't need any propietry windows DLLs to function, you can install directx dlls for instance to add the directx functions but wine itself comes bare without any windows DLLs and operates fine.

He said "for the sort of functionality needed here" which means he was talking about those DirectX DLLs that need a Windows license

Matthew_Thepc said,

He said "for the sort of functionality needed here" which means he was talking about those DirectX DLLs that need a Windows license

And he's wrong. Wine has its own DirectX dlls (that convert all the calls to OpenGL). Steam for Windows, and all the Valve games, will run fine under Wine on Linux without the need to install the actual DirectX or any other Microsoft DLLs. I've been running it for years.

3vi1 said,

And he's wrong. Wine has its own DirectX dlls (that convert all the calls to OpenGL). Steam for Windows, and all the Valve games, will run fine under Wine on Linux without the need to install the actual DirectX or any other Microsoft DLLs. I've been running it for years.


Thanks for clearing that up; just from reading the two responses it seemed like WINE was using Microsoft DLLs

Bit like the pictures from many, many moons back where Apple was demonstrating mac stuff running hidden Amiga systems.. Oh no.. that was even better really.

n_K said,
Bit like beta/alpha xbox 360 kits being mac pros.

I thought the Xbox 360 came out in 2005. They didn't have a McPro until late 2006, unless you mean the PowerMc G5?

Enron said,

I thought the Xbox 360 came out in 2005. They didn't have a McPro until late 2006, unless you mean the PowerMc G5?


He does (or should), because the PowerPC CPU architecture is what powers the 360, too.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

He does (or should), because the PowerPC CPU architecture is what powers the 360, too.
GS:mac

The real reason the xbox360 didn't get hacked apart like the P3-700 based original xbox.

dotf:Win7

deadonthefloor said,

The real reason the xbox360 didn't get hacked apart like the P3-700 based original xbox.

dotf:Win7


It definitely contributed to that and it's also why making an emulator for the 360 AND the PS3 (amongst other reasons of course) will be a pain in the butt - let alone running the emulators.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

He does (or should), because the PowerPC CPU architecture is what powers the 360, too.

GS:mac

Ok thanks, that makes sense.

E:tandy1000

Just because you may not like something, from a business perspective, you still support it.
I also suspect they may in the future offer both a windows and Linux version.

Jason Stillion said,
I also suspect they may in the future offer both a windows and Linux version.

Yeah a Linux gaming machine with a handful of games. That makes sense. Even OSX would be a better option for gaming, although obviously they could never use that anyway.

1Pixel said,

Yeah a Linux gaming machine with a handful of games. That makes sense. Even OSX would be a better option for gaming, although obviously they could never use that anyway.

Practically every OSX game will be available on Linux within a year. There are already the same number of games available on Steam for Linux as there were for Steam for Mac when it debuted. Mac->Linux ports are hela easy, and even Windows->Linux isn't that hard if the programmers gave any thought at all to abstraction (which they should, if they ever plan for their Windows games to go to the Wii or PS3).

3vi1 said,
even Windows->Linux isn't that hard if the programmers gave any thought at all to abstraction (which they should, if they ever plan for their Windows games to go to the Wii or PS3).

Yeah, in other words, non-Unreal engine, no DX.
Sorry I jumped into DX camp and UnrealEngine a long time ago when Source couldn't even do tesselation properly.

I guess they had a choice between satisfying the 2% of their users that think it's finally the year of the Linux desktop and actually having a games library.

Joshie said,
I guess they had a choice between satisfying the 2% of their users that think it's finally the year of the Linux desktop and actually having a games library.

Or it could be they bought a PC that came with Windows.

Joshie said,
I guess they had a choice between satisfying the 2% of their users that think it's finally the year of the Linux desktop and actually having a games library.

When it comes to console Joe Blow doesnt care which operating system is running under the hood. It's totally irrelevant specially since the hardware is closed you can build optimized drivers for it and the games can be optimized too.

Circuitspark said,
It's an Antec case... So, yeah... Don't think they bought a new computer, they must have buildt it.

Yeah. The sticker looks to me like someone has tried to peel off the side, which wasn't successful. And what sort of table is that?

That could've been from when they were peeling it off the original sheet, if you're talking about the spot in the bottom right corner (given how the picture is orientated).

The table looks like some sort of black granite to me.

virtorio said,
2% is generous.

Their hardware survey site showed Linux at 1% only a couple of weeks after they got to the open beta stage. When they finally make the real announcement and release the other games they're holding back, 2% shouldn't be a problem. Right now they're limiting everyone to TF2 (as far as Valve titles go), because it's running the latest version of the Source engine to which they're in the process of updating the other titles (like they did with the OrangeBox revision of the engine).

Circuitspark said,
It's an Antec case... So, yeah... Don't think they bought a new computer, they must have buildt it.

What self-respecting system builder actually suffixes the COA to their case?

looks more like an HP to me.

Kenny Kanashimi Chu said,

Yeah. The sticker looks to me like someone has tried to peel off the side, which wasn't successful. And what sort of table is that?

No, that's what a COA on an OEM license looks like, it's by design.