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Post by Eorl @ 04:45pm 03/03/12 | 32 Comments
It appears the rumour mills are at it again, with news coming through the grapevine that Valve, the creators of the hit Half Life series as well as the PC digital distribution service Steam, are developing a console.

The Verge is reporting that "Valve said to be working on 'Steam Box' gaming console with partners, could announce at GDC", however there has been no confirmation from Valve (of course).
According to sources, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." 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.

Adding fuel to that fire is a rumor that the Alienware X51 may have been designed with an early spec of the system in mind, and will be retroactively upgradable to the software.

Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up.
If this does turn out to be true, it will definitely be a step ahead for the console generation, who have been locked in by the only 3 contenders, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. A system that is designed around the Steam store would mean great news for both console and PC, with recent integration of Steam on PS3 and PC.

The Verge goes on to talk about what kind of tech the mega-minds over at Valve could be using, such as biometric devices that are already in use with their game testing phases.

Whether this turns out to be rumours or not, it's best to keep eyes centred here where we will have all the latest news come GDC and E3 time. Hopefully we do see a Valve orientated console, as it will not only re-invigorate the market, but allow users more flexibility when choosing.



consolee3gdchardwaresteamvalverumour





Latest Comments
ridor
Posted 04:59pm 03/3/12
meh.. all i want is hl2ep3 is that too much to ask
Tepid
Posted 05:03pm 03/3/12
sounds good
Tiny
Posted 05:05pm 03/3/12
meh.. all i want is hl2ep3 is that too much to ask


YES! now stop being so demanding and go play COD like all the cool console gamers!
ridor
Posted 05:17pm 03/3/12
@Tiny

i meant it as a joke and i dont even play cod or consoles!
WetWired
Posted 05:26pm 03/3/12
If it's effectively a PC in a box then what is the benefit to those like myself who already have a PC and don't want to fork out for another box that does something my PC already does well already?
BladeRunner
Posted 05:27pm 03/3/12
Does anyone really care about HL2 anymore? How about Half-Life 3. I like the idea of this, Console market needs more competition.
Tombo
Posted 07:48pm 03/3/12
@ridor episode3 is the new duke nukem forever
Khel
Posted 07:58pm 03/3/12
I don't really see it as competition for consoles though, like Wet said, it sounds like a PC in a box and its going to be playing PC games, so why wouldn't I just play them on my PC?
Mosfx
Posted 08:57pm 03/3/12
I don't own a PC I own a Laptop which I use for games, this would be fantastic and I would buy it.
Morgan
Posted 09:34pm 03/3/12
For some people this system may be more attractive than a PC. It, of course, depends on how well this is implemented.

Potential advantages:
- Seamless interface/use of product (think iPhone).
- Less worry about patching your drivers/browser/os/flash.
- Potentially cheaper due to mass production.
- Platform will be well supported by Valve.
- If it gains significant traction in the market place, developers have a standard set of hardware it can develop for. This can mean more optimisations for the platform which means a longer life cycle.

There are a few concerns though:
1) If this runs steam and supports all available games, is this just going to be windows that uses steam as a shell?
2) Will the hardware specs change/upgrades possible?
3) If it is a standard PC with windows, can I run chrome etc?

deadlyf
Posted 10:08pm 03/3/12
If it's effectively a PC in a box then what is the benefit to those like myself who already have a PC and don't want to fork out for another box that does something my PC already does well already?
What's the benefit of a console then? The only benefits I can think of are exclusive titles (which kind of sucks that it is a positive), cheaper initial hardware costs, and less fuss with software at the expense of greater utility.

If Valve can make a console that is cheaper than buying the PC equivalent, while maintaining promised flexibility in software and offering the same titles found on PC then it seems it would be a better alternative to current offerings. Not only that but it would have non-s*** digital stores available to it.

It does seem a bit redundant for those of us that have decent gaming PC's but the majority of console owners don't seem to be very good with PC's from my observations.
Khel
Posted 10:31pm 03/3/12
It does seem a bit redundant for those of us that have decent gaming PC's but the majority of console owners don't seem to be very good with PC's from my observations.


Thats the thing though, I'd imagine a lot of people get consoles because they don't want to mess around with a PC, or don't have the technical knowledge to mess around with a PC. With a console you just chuck the game in, and you're good to go, no having to update drivers or set graphics settings or tweak ini files or bind keys or any of that.

This would have to be just as easy to game on as a console, to be a genuine alternative to consoles for those people, and if its just PC games that you're playing on it then I don't see how it could be. Unless of course special versions of PC games are made that cater to the Valvebox and streamline the experience like a console game would, but then, its not like every game would implement that (I mean, how many games currently bother even implementing Steamworks).

Personally, I'd much rather see something like Steam for XBox 360 (or whatever the successor is) that lets me buy and download my console games digitally.
thermite
Posted 10:48pm 03/3/12
According to sources, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." 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.


Does this mean it would be like a gaming equivalent of android? Where you can buy various devices that run the same games?

Dan
Posted 11:15pm 03/3/12
Personally, I'd much rather see something like Steam for XBox 360 (or whatever the successor is) that lets me buy and download my console games digitally.
As I understand it, that Microsoft haven't permitted this, and that PS3's Steam functionality is still so limited for that matter, is the exact reason that Valve would be considering such a move.

This recent interview with Gabe Newell at Penny-Arcade certainly adds a s***load of merit to this rumour: http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/valves-gabe-newell-talks-wearable-computers-rewarding-players-and-whether-w/all

If they can produce a tidy hardware package with a noob-friendly interface I think they could be on to a winner. It's a similar concept to that old hyped Phantom console, only with a proven and respected company behind it.

What's in it for regular PC gamers? Well probably not much to buy one yourself if you already have a gaming rig. But if it becomes successful, more PC games basically.
Timmeh
Posted 11:27pm 03/3/12
So essentially it will be a pc that only runs steam.(by design not hardware constraints)
steam will probably be d**** and release hl3 as a steambox only title at launch
Dan
Posted 11:35pm 03/3/12
Well for starters there are no such absolute details, it's entirely a rumour and may well have just been fabricated based on what Gabe had said in that P-A interview. That said, if it is for real, I don't see any reason to suspect that it would only run Steam.

A key point Gabe was making was arguing for more open platforms, so my expectation of a Valve console would be more like an Android device with root access. So, a nice user-friendly base interface and tailored retail ecosystem, but with the option to still run unsigned code and things like mods and plug in third party peripherals etc, and all else you'd expect from a PC.
trillion
Posted 12:03am 04/3/12
it should definitely look something like this

DeadlyDav0
Posted 12:57am 04/3/12
Considering most games are now on steam, id be interested in getting this steam box to simply ensure games worked correctly out of box. So sick of games being released only to have a host of bugs and fixes requiring patching.

Could also have it specifically for gaming then just an older PC or lappy for web browsing, assignments and all the standard stuff that doesnt require a high end gaming pc.
Outlaw
Posted 10:14am 04/3/12
I would totally buy a steam box just because its valve but I was kind of hoping we'd get a steam shop on the psn/sen
skythra
Posted 02:03pm 04/3/12
Considering most games are now on steam, id be interested in getting this steam box to simply ensure games worked correctly out of box. So sick of games being released only to have a host of bugs and fixes requiring patching.

I'm failing to see how this box is going to remove these bugs.

Edit : F*** me that interview was long. I like that guy but if he said "you know" one more time..
DeadlyDav0
Posted 02:13pm 04/3/12
I'm failing to see how this box is going to remove these bugs.

I thought its cause there are tonnes of mobo/cpu/vid card/sound card etc combos in gaming PCs and what works for some (eg nvidia cards) may not work on others (ie raedon). Im not talking game bugs, but technical difficulties between the game and the system its running on.

If valve produces a widely available generic PC, then surely they would ensure that newly released games worked flawlessly on their system.
Reverend Evil
Posted 02:58pm 04/3/12
F*** that. I'll stick with my PC thanx.
Deviouz
Posted 07:54pm 04/3/12
if consoles haven't capped PC game dev/gfx for the last several years I'm sure this wont.....
Whoop
Posted 08:05pm 04/3/12
I thought its cause there are tonnes of mobo/cpu/vid card/sound card etc combos in gaming PCs and what works for some (eg nvidia cards) may not work on others (ie raedon). Im not talking game bugs, but technical difficulties between the game and the system its running on.

If valve produces a widely available generic PC, then surely they would ensure that newly released games worked flawlessly on their system.

But valve don't make the majority of games on steam do they? Valve wouldn't have any control over what other game devs design their games around.
DeadlyDav0
Posted 08:16pm 04/3/12
But valve don't make the majority of games on steam do they? Valve wouldn't have any control over what other game devs design their games around.

I know that but surely game devs would thoroughly test their game on the steam box if it was a popular gaming machine.
icewyrm
Posted 09:09pm 04/3/12
I'm sure you'd end up with a little "boiler compatible" (or whatever) logo on the box of every title being released.

Eh, I guess on the box doesn't work, haha.

last edited by icewyrm at 21:09:53 04/Mar/12
angushades
Posted 10:52pm 04/3/12
Its not going to happen , lol you first need a win pc and with dx api , come on and it wouldnt be cheap either, its going to be ms ,sony and nintendo for a long while yet.
trillion
Posted 02:20am 05/3/12
Well if Boxee can do it for media 2.0, surely Valve can do it for gamers. Whether they need to start from scratch and not just keep Dell as their hardware sidecar, maybe the rumor mill needs to figure that one out.
trillion
Posted 02:53am 05/3/12
Well if Boxee can do it for media 2.0, surely Valve can do it for gamers. Whether they need to start from scratch and not just keep Dell as their hardware sidecar to market Alienware, maybe the rumor mill needs to figure that one out.

Valve would need an obscene amount of capital, and probably some kind of deal with MS and AMD for hardware level directx access to make it anything like the quick booting / loading / menu driven navigation of the current Xbox 360 for example.

there's just not much to go on with this one yet it seems, whereas the Xbox 720 / Loop has built a solid rumor cred in the last 6 months
trillion
Posted 09:25am 05/3/12
Valve would need an obscene amount of capital, and probably some kind of deal with MS and AMD for hardware level directx access to make it anything like the quick booting / loading / menu driven navigation of the current Xbox 360 for example

There's not much to go on with this rumour, whereas the Xbox 720 / Loop has gained some solid rumor cred in the last 6 months
trillion
Posted 09:59am 05/3/12
posting or tying to edit/delete stuff ups from a phone is more difficult than it should be
jimeh
Posted 10:14am 05/3/12
"If this does turn out to be true, it will definitely be a step ahead for the console generation,"

Actually, it would be a step back for consoles.

What makes a console superior to a PC is the direct access to hardware. Ask John Carmack about what a "clusterf***" dealing with PC DRIVERS was for rage after developing it on Microsofts directX box 360...

What steam is effectively doing here is providing

a) Uniform PC hardware (not superior console architecture. Think really tiny, hard to work with case)
b) Hardware based DRM

And whatever ease of optimisation is offered by the uniform architecture is kinda voided by the fact that PCs still exist. If we see "optimised for steambox!" on stuff its really just another blade in PC gamings back.

Yes, this is, in fact, bad news.
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