Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

December 10, 2012 -

The rumors about Steam Box - a console-like system powered by Valve's popular digital distribution platform Steam may turn out to be true after all. Speaking to Kotaku recently Valve co-founder and top executive Gabe Newell said that custom PC packages featuring Steam that can go head-to-head with Sony and Microsoft will start shipping in the early part of 2013.

"Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," Newell said. "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."

Earlier this month Valve launched Big Picture mode, a special version of Steam that can run on high definition television sets that also provides support for the use of a controller. Newell also hinted that it is already working on an updated Steam engine that would be capable of working on next-generation consoles. The likelihood of Microsoft and Sony cooperating with them on this seems impossible.

No word on what the special hardware they are developing would use for an operating system, but one would guess that Linux or Android and not a Microsoft OS like Windows 8 would be used - given Newell's very public disdain for that OS.

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Source: GameSpot

 


Comments

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

pretty sure they already exist.....

any PC set anywhere near a TV and has STEAM on it could be whats described above.. now if it was a broken down, core system that somehow ran STEAM and the games it has without the rest of the front end.... then i'd say otherwise.. but how would they get the games they sell (90% or more Windows only) to even run on these things? android or Linux won't cut it, and emulation is only so-so at best and raise more issues, and lack of developer/publisher support just raise that to immense levels.

only way out of that binding would be a custom OS and developer support to fix the games...

still.. very limited game selection...

 

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

Valve is underway making sure that Linux will "cut it" as an OS for a set top box like this. They have been updating the Source Engine and other game engines it uses to work with Steam. It already has a wide variety of games that have been featured in the Humble Bundle that work with Linux. With game engines such as Unity and Moai adding Linux support, the prospects of more games compatible with Linux is the highest it has ever been.

Just because every game in the Steam library won't work with Linux doesn't mean it is dead on arrival. Not every game works on Macs yet it is a valid OS for Steam.

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

not just "not every" game won't work. a good massive selection won't, older and newer alike.

just because some indie titles and Valves games will work doesn't mean others ill, and it'll essentially be the death of this idea unless valve gets better backing on it.

it'd be like if MS cut out all third party titles on the X360 that aren't on the arcade list, and relied entirely on in house games made under the MS Game Studios brand to support their console.. its just not likely to work.

fine example is Sony's failing attempts into the hand held market. while some top notch games DO exist, the lack of support from third parties is pretty much killing the Vita. and it had already killed the PSP.

both are excellent hand helds IMO (and could easily whomp the nintendo ones if sony bother to gather up support and stop wasting time on "possible" pirates or ranting on about them scaring off any chances of getting support)

even Nintendo was forced to open its doors or face failure, now they're supporting something they swore off years ago, and have M+ games on their consoles at an increasing rate.

the only other sad part is this could push MS into thinking they might actually stand a chance in standardizing and taking over the PC platform turning home computers into specialized windows boxes they can lock down to what THEY want and remove user customization from the default arrangement. i by far rue the day i can't mod my PC to function the way i like it.

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

"not just "not every" game won't work. a good massive selection won't, older and newer alike.

just because some indie titles and Valves games will work doesn't mean others ill, and it'll essentially be the death of this idea unless valve gets better backing on it."

So because most games on Steam don't run on Linux, it is dead in the water, So we should stop working toward Steam on Linux until more games work on Linux? Sounds like a catch-22.

Perhaps what Linux needs in order to become a valid source for mainstream gaming is a high profile company such as Valve to take the chance and make it one. 

Sure Games are an important part of gaining traction for a dedicated gaming system such as a handheld, but a computer OS is not the same as a console. It has other uses that people look for aside from gaming. So the comparison between Linux and the Vita is not accurate.

If we are to believe that we should just give up on Linux simply because it is not widely supported by mainstream game developers, then why does anyone support the MacOS? It has only marginally more support than Linux. Mac support is still a pale shadow of Windows support. Yet, both Steam and Good Old Games have made it an integral part of their distribution strategy. Now Valve has decided to take that very same step with Linux. Will it be much longer before a substantial portion of GOG games gain native Linux support? After all, they have many of the same Humble Bundle games which already have Linux Builds. Many of their classic games run via DOS emulators that are plentiful and functional. Some of the non-DOS/non-Humble Bundle games also have native Linux builds. 

My point is, Linux is already and has been for a while, a viable source for gaming. It is that just now we see more companies recognizing that fact and acting upon it.

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

There are some very real technical issues with Linux as a gaming platform that need addressing:. Driver support from ATI and NVidia has historically been a mixed bag. The GUI display manager, X, is very antiquated and a viable replacement is still a few years off. Microsoft has a monopoly on DirectX and for years got most of the game industry to go with it. But the backing of a major player like Valve is definitely one of the things that may go a long way to smoothing over those bumps.

Re: Report: Steam Box Rumor May Have Had a Grain of Truth

Drivers have not been a big issue for years now. While some drivers have lagged behind the Windows counterparts, both ATI and NVidia are getting better and Valve especially is pushing NVidia to do better.

DirectX is only a problem for companies using it. Most any game using OpenGL would port with little headache. Unity based games have always worked almost flawlessly in Wine as the Unity3D engine is based on the open source MONO library and its recent addition of official Linux support will rectify any lingering issues.

I will agree that X is a pain in the but to get configured, but once properly configured (and that happens by default the vast majority of the time) it works without issue. Any major issues were worked out of it years ago.

 
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