There is talk in the gaming industry relating to Valve Software's possible leap from PC platform to its own console, which is rumored to feature 8GB RAM, Core i7 CPU, and NVIDIA graphics. It is being called the Steam Box, making their current online platform, Steam, the console's platform. This is all, of course, speculation based on reports from The Verge, complete with interview with Valve's co-founder Gabe Newell.
Valve: Not Hardware People
Newell comes right out and admits that they don't know everything when it comes to manufacturing the hardware. That said, they are prepared to get their hands dirty if they have to. Along those lines, rumors seem to point to Valve working on specs and software design of the Steam Box while at the same time working even harder to welcome partners to become third party manufacturers of the device. This is totally unlike their big competition in the console market, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Basically, Valve will set the specs for manufacturers to follow and create the software, leaving the manufacturing task to a variety of partners.
Configurable controllers will be supported, as well as a special controller that gathers the player's biometric data. This will reportedly change the gamer's experience completely. If the controller senses your heart is racing, game play is affected on screen adding a whole new twist to games that raise a user's adrenaline.
Challenging Apple TV and the Top 3 Console Manufacturers
The Steam Box will be more like Google's Android platform than anything, producing merely the software running the games. It will run all PC games currently available, and as an added bonus, will allow other gaming services such as EA's Origin to be loaded on the system. Newell feels Apple's practice of controlling access to their app store. He disagrees with this movement towards closed, exclusive platforms, and hopes that users and developers will appreciate the openness of the Steam Box concept.
Game developers will be able to create games for the Steam Box without fear of paying Valve licensing fees, unlike Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo platforms. This should bring some great games to their front door, and goes along with the open platform theory. Again, this is all based on rumor, direct from the horse's mouth (er, co-founder of Valve.)
Valve, created in 1996, is best known for its award winning list of games such as Half-Life, a sci-fi shooter game which has brought over 50 Game of the Year awards and even a few Best Game Ever awards, and Portal. They also brought Steam to the gaming world, and it has never been the same. It has become the largest online gaming community in the world, granting roughly 35 million active players access to over 1,800 games. Players in 237 different countries head to the Steam site to play, buy and share games, made by Valve and other game studios, available in 21 different languages.
No official information has been released as to when to expect to see the Steam Box (or if that is what it will even be called), but it could be unveiled at the Game Developer Conference next week.