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Rumours Surface Of A Valve-Powered Gaming Console

Watch out...

Let’s face it, the last thing Microsoft and Sony are expecting is another console. Sure, they’ve got their eye on the Wii U, but something out of the blue from Valve? A pre-setup PC in a box with a HDMI out and a joypad? Talk about blindsiding.

And so here we are, with rumours floating around that that’s exactly what’s going to happen – Gabe Newell’s Valve are – according to the reports – coming out with a gaming console, and it’s going to throw a spanner in the works so big that people won’t be able to miss it. And yes, that includes the current console manufacturers.

Steam currently provides 1,500 games and boasts 40 million users.
Make no mistake, if this happens, it’ll be massive.

Valve know gaming, but more importantly they know online distribution and they do it better than most. Sure, not everyone’s on board with the service, but the current catalog includes EA, Bethesda, Activision and SEGA.

But what of these rumours? Well, apparently this so-called ‘Steam Box’ will be focused on the living room, and will be developed – at least in terms of hardware – by a “variety of partners”.

And the software? Well, anyone that’s interested, presumably.

The Verge talks about meetings at CES, and discusses some basic specs that include a Core i7, at least eight GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GPU. The Steam Box, as it’s currently known, will run anything a PC can and will also support other online services (such as EA’s Origin) as well as the ubiquitous Steam, which itself provides over 1,500 games and has 40 million users.

The current thinking is that Valve would take aim at Apple, not Sony and Microsoft, but I could personally see such a device sitting nicely under my TV, linked up via HDMI.

The hardware will, according to the site, be replaceable every three or four years, and during that lifetime PC developers will have a single, clear focus in terms of system spec, something that’s currently still a bit of a minefield with regards to drivers, versions and chipsets. One box, one target, and you can bet that games will look a generation beyond current consoles.

The console market might be entering into another phase in the next couple of years, but this Steam Box could move very quickly, would require minimal fuss from developers and publishers to provide a ‘best case’ build of their games and would, I assume, be pretty cheap given that parts would be fixed and mass produced.

Of course, this is all conjecture, and nothing at all may come of all this. But if it does, and Valve do manage to standardise the PC market and put their name behind the project (along with whoever else is rumoured to be involved – Alienware?) then this would be something I know a lot of people would be very interested in.

And Sony and Microsoft? I’d love to know what they’re thinking about all this.

  1. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    A console that’s upgradeable every 3-4 years?
    No thanks, there’s no difference between this idea and an actual PC.
    Please, could somebody tell me one difference between this and a gaming PC?
    I’ll stick with consoles, they’re generally cheaper, and I just prefer them.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 00:11.
    • Burgess_101
      Since: May 2009

      Its cheaper to upgrade a PC every few years or so than buy a new console not to mention the games are cheaper. Should Valve make the parts easily switchable (Think hot-swap drives on a PC) they will be on to a winner. You may say well if its probably about the same cost why switch well online is all free a much wider catalog of games plus the usual added bonus of being a PC gamer is the improved graphics and lovely lovely mods . Not essential but you get more bang for your buck with this supposed PC than your PS3/Xbox. The massive bit though is that you say you prefer them and im sure the majority of people feel the same.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 01:49.
  2. plutoniumdragon
    Since: Dec 2008

    Put it in a nice lounge-friendly box with XBMC preconfigured and make it quiet enough and maybe it’ll gain a following, but otherwise I fail to see the advantage over a “normal” PC.
    It’s not exactly difficult to connect a PC to the TV and sort out a gamepad :rollseyes

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 00:34.
    • plutoniumdragon
      Since: Dec 2008

      On reflection, if this thing kept itself up to date and had optimised settings for each game automatically downloaded it would be good for people who aren’t that good with PCs – but have you ever met a PC gamer who isn’t PC savvy?

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 00:41.
      • Burgess_101
        Since: May 2009

        One of my mates knows nothing of the innards of a PC I built him one for gaming (he sold his xbox to fund it). He told me he would never go back to a console based on that I really feel there is a very large market here to convert over.

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 01:52.
      • skibadee
        Since: Oct 2009

        I have a powerful PC just never liked playing games on it prefer consoles. you can get gaming PCs that will play most games for about £400 if that for years now.

        Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 02:06.
  3. Sympozium
    Since: Aug 2009

    I’m up for that if its well priced… Blah blah blah custom having it in the style of a super-console is much easier and accessible, yay under the tv… a pc combo with the power to RTS… thanks to K/M support.

    I’d buy this over whatever the next console there is.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 01:15.
  4. Burgess_101
    Since: May 2009

    If I could get a Steam OS on my PC I would happily ditch Windows! Steam is the way forward it is simply put the best bits of Xbox Live and PSN rolled into one.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 01:34.
  5. skibadee
    Since: Oct 2009
    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 02:12.
    • Sympozium
      Since: Aug 2009

      Only problem with that is the price.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 02:49.
    • JesseDeya
      Since: Jan 2010

      Beat me to it.

      Was going to say I can’t see how those rumours are any more ‘exciting’ or ‘massive’ than what Alienware have done. Unless Valve sell it at a loss to compete with PS4 and Steve I’m not really interested.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:26.
    • JesseDeya
      Since: Jan 2010

      Ps: EG did a recent review on the Alienware PC ‘console’.


      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:30.
    • KeRaSh
      Since: Nov 2009

      Saw the same thing but like Sympozium said the difference lays in the price. The specs also play a huge role. If you want an i7 with a capable graphics card in your X51 you are looking at a price around the 1000$ mark which is a joke.
      Valve COULD sell these Steam Boxes at a loss and bring in revenue with game sales like Amazon does with the Kindle family.
      I really hope this is true. I’m tech savvy. I work in IT and so far I’ve built my gaming PCs myself but the problem is that gaming PCs take away so much space. It was no problem when I lived with my parents and had that thing sitting under my desk in my room but now I have my own place and it doesn’t fit in the living room so currently it’s connected to the TV in the bedroom. It’s uncomfortable to play and the 32″ TV is too small to play games at 1080p from across the room for more than an hour. The eye strain is just too high because the UI and text is barely legible.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:48.
  6. KeRaSh
    Since: Nov 2009

    I’d buy one if it ever came out. I’ve been wanting to replace my gaming PC because it just takes away too much space. My only problem would be if I was bound to the German Steam store like I am now. I refuse to buy cut games. There are some shady sites where you can buy russian game codes and then redeem them in Steam to get an uncut english version… The question will be if we will be able to buy boxed PC games and still install them on the device since I import all my games from the UK anyways.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:38.
  7. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    So correct me if I’m wrong, it’s PC based, runs anything a PC can dp and is upgradeable… so.. it’s a PC.

    With a nice “Steambox” sticker on the front.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:54.
    • yogdog
      Since: Feb 2010

      Yup, pretty much.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 08:01.
    • Deathbrin
      Since: Aug 2009

      Yeah, a media PC or whatever they call those shiny boxes that already exist.

      Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 08:56.
  8. Torquemada
    Since: Oct 2008

    I wouldnt dismiss Valve so easy either. They do make cracking games, Steam is an awesome service, and theyre not a greedy company either. Theyve frequently given away loads of stuff for free, so my bet is that this new console would be very keenly priced. I can see Sony upping their game after this (the PSN is a really poor cousin to LIVE), and Microsoft dropping LIVE subscriptions. Its only going to be good for the likes of us

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 07:56.
  9. Sad Panda
    Since: May 2010

    With the console big boys catering for the motion control crowd and all wanting a piece of the Wii’s already burst bubble. Any manufacturer that releases a no frills console that plays games with a pad will sell.

    A lot of my gaming friends feel the same way, no interests in the Wii U gimmick and with Microsoft spending all thier cash on Kinect and COD Map packs, purchasing the Nextbox is unlikely.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 08:50.
  10. mugsybalone
    Since: Aug 2008

    I had images of a cast iron box with glass vacuum tubes sticking out. Reality is decidedly less awesome.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2012 at 09:19.

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