Valve to release 'Steam Box' console: report

Valve, the company behind the hit computer game Portal and the popular online game-downloading system Steam, has been working on hardware and software for "Steam Box", a set-top console that would rival the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and even Apple TV, according to a report.

An illustration from a patent application filed by Valve last year for a "game controller having user-swappable control components".
(Credit: Patentdocs)

Citing unnamed sources, The Verge has reported that Valve could choose Game Developers Conference (GDC) or June's E3 to unveil the Steam Box, which could shake up the industry.

The device may ship with a proprietary controller that features swappable components for different game types. It may also feature real-time biometric feedback, and will work with any computer or TV display in a customer's house, according to The Verge. Through the Steam Box set-up, Valve "would place Steam at the centre of an open gaming universe that mirrors what Google has done with Android".

"The actual devices may be made by a variety of partners, and the software would be readily available to any company that wants to get in the game," with no licensing fees to create software for the system, The Verge's Topolsky reported. The Steam Box would be able to serve up standard PC titles, as well as rival gaming services, such as EA's Origin.

As Paul Tassi over at Forbes pointed out, the system (if more than a rumour) could rock the gaming world, because, unlike the Xbox and other consoles, Steam is based on downloads — not physical copies of games — and often boasts lower prices for titles, as well as frequent sales. And because of the system's ability to take advantage of any screen in the house, it puts Apple TV on notice, as well. On that, Topolsky quoted from a Seattle Times interview with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell:

"On the platform side," Newell told the Times, "it's sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms. They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people's access to those things."


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ChrisC13 posted a comment   

Hey Gaben, at least they actually make things for people to use/play. HL3?


JebediahO posted a reply   

You're butthurt that they haven't made HL3 fast enough for you? Dumb prick, they're working on it. A long, deep Half-Life game can't be made in a week. They're steadily adding to it, but they're also juggling other projects at the same time. Just **** give it time, it's gonna happen.


Im Batman posted a comment   

AWESOME... if someone could crack into the gaming console market and make it work is would have to be Steam!!

It would force the digital distribution question right up to its limits!


JoeB2 posted a comment   

My god

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