Valve Console Locked For Linux, Report Suggests “SteamBox” Out 2013

After many rumours, it appears Steam’s living room console is real. At the end of 2012, German site attended a conference, and at that conference was Ben Krasnow, Valve’s electronics engineer. Krasnow, apparently, talked hardware.

Specifically, a Valve console, which has been a joint effort with Jeri Ellsworth (for the last two years), runs off Linux, and is due in 2013.

“It doesn’t come off as a huge surprise,” says one translation from the original German source site, “considering that Valve-boss Gabe Newell views Windows 8 as a catastrophe: Steam Box will not be based on Windows, but on Linux instead.”

“This was confirmed by Ben Krasnow, one of Valve’s hardware developers, when inquired on this topic,” continues the story. “With that, the Linux client for Valve’s download and community platform Steam, which is currently in its Beta phase, gets an all new background because of this – especially as Linux will also support the big-picture mode.”

Linux might mean that the vast majority of Steam’s library won’t automatically work, but all Valve need to do is make the console launch with Half Life 3. Think about that.

Translation via NeoGAF.


  1. Valve are porting all their games, so Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Half Life & Portal series is a great start as is the Steamworks infrastructure & of course Valve distribution model.

    There’s loads of games been ported to Linux recently, just think of all the titles to feature in the HumbleBundle for a start.

    It’s the way I’m leaning, not a Valvebox itself but making my own.

    I’ve got close to zero interest in console gaming at the moment & some extra pixels isn’t going to change that.
    Games are expensive at launch with the platform holder’s licence fee proving a very expensive ‘tax’ to gamers over the life of the console.
    Despite reasonable digital strategies there is still barriers to entry to indie development and great indie games release a couple of times a year as opposed to practically every week on PC

    Bring it on

    • Interested to know why you’re leaning away from Console gaming? I’m the exact opposite. I’m fed up with upgrading a gaming PC to run a game at its optimum.

      At least with a console game what you see is what you get.

      • Agreed. PC gaming is nice when a game works OK. But sloppy ports or silly made games outright are what ruins it sometimes.

        I’ve had my 360 for five years, and it can play all the latest games that are out there. My PC which has been powerful since it was upgraded has been so for a total of 3 years and it can’t play some modern games.

        Having said that PC tech in this generation has been interesting with GDDR, Multi-Core and APU technology being commercially available. And the next gen consoles don’t look any more promising than a PC; and at least with a PC one can add versatile hardware.

  2. Sounds very enticing, be keeping an eye on this. Steam although great lacks accessibility for me as I have to grab the laptop boot Windows (rather than OSX), find my 360 controller and play. Rather than grab my Wii U/Vita and just play. This may solve that issue and give great value to my gaming… In fact just considering buying the THQ pack for £20…

  3. I remember reading that Valve actually got TF2 to run better on Linux then in Windows, so they are defiantly aiming for Linux on the steam box. And yeah I agree with the last Half-Life 3 comment, I would preorder their box, stand in line for it and happily pay money for it, if Half-Life 3 was a launch game.

  4. This is welcome news. A little extra competition in the console market isn’t a bad thing imo, breeds innovation and generally keeps things competitive, this can only be a good thing. I look forward to hearing more news on what each next gen console manufacturer has on offer over the coming months. I’m beginning to feel rather excited about a new piece of hardware under my TV, regardless of who’s providing it.

  5. Nice idea but whether it will be successful or not I’m not sure. If it works off downloads only then not very good. Might be rather good if the price matches, but if it goes above 250-300 then I can easily buy a small neat media PC case and build a full blown media PC for that much; and with fast boot up for the OS and straight on the Steam Big picture too.

    I can only see accessibility and price being a factor here. Anyone can buy Half-Life 3 on PC when the time comes unless Valve decide to do otherwise.

    Nice to here Linux will be used though. Windows 8 is a terrible flop and Linux should offer quite a lot of versatility. I could see the gaming market being changed quite a bit, and with steam top up now available (and the community market beta), could be amazing.

    • If WiiU launch anything to go by £300-400 is a certainty and even if you decide to go the build yourself a steam box you will miss on the console exclusives.

      IF you are going the build your own then get your DDR3 Ram asap while it is stupid cheap i have just bought 12GB Ram corsair vengeance for £48

  6. I’m a huge fan of Steam, its so much more for the players than the PSN seems to be and their prices are good and their sales unbeatable. I’ve no doubt a Steam console will sell faster than greased shit off a greased shovel on greased lightning. Id definitely buy one and I think I’d prefer one to another generation of PlayStation, though I adore my only-does-everything wee black beastie.

  7. Looking forward to seeing whatever it is, Sony and Microsoft now have some serious competition. Steam is the best digital download service imo, PSN isn’t anywhere close, so having that in my living room would be awesome.

    • most people think steam is what water does when it is heated up only hardcore PC people have a clue what it is not sure that Sony/MS will care.

      • Actually most people think water vapour is steam. When your kettle is at boiling point steam is the invisible inch or two of very hot gaseous water that appears (or in this case, doesn’t) between the spout and the hot white cloud of water vapour that rises into the air. The vapour is actually liquid water in suspension, just like a cloud.

      • Don’t dismiss this. Steam is massive (and outweighs PSN by some margin). A Steambox will be HUGE.

      • I see where Skibadee is coming from though. The average consumer would look at the SteamBox when it is released and not even know about Steam etc, only proper gamers really know about Steam and its potential. And I’m sure as hell that Valve don’t only want to target hardcore gamers with this console, as they are going direct with the big three by doing this – whether their entire structure/plan is different or not.

      • not in the world of consoles steam means nothing at the moment it outweighs nothing.

      • We’ll see then, eh? A Steam-ready PC in a box could be devastating for Sony and MS. They’ll know that, too.

      • tef it might outweigh it with crazy sales everything else PSN is miles ahead.

      • The ‘casual’ gamer might not no much about steam now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t to well. Advertising + word or mouth will surely get the message across by the time it’s released.

      • @ron_mcphatty technical it still looks like steam :)

    • that all costs loads of money plus Sony/MS/Nintendo are trusted names steam is not.

  8. No big surprise, but still great news. A console/PC hybrid with access to Steam sales and Humble Bundles? Sony and Microsoft will have to rethink their digital distribution completely to keep up with Valve in that area. Now it’s just a matter of price and what the actual specs (and upgrade capabilities) will be like.

  9. I hope they port over the games from ur pc over to the steam box that would just top the icing on the cake, and make sony and mc think again about thier consoles.

    • But if they’re using Linux, then only Linux-compatible games will work. So, only a handful, most of which are by Valve.

      • Cider looks promising though, the Witcher used this to allow it to run on Linux…

  10. I truly think this would be a mistake. Launch a console with the entire Steam back catalogue and it would automatically be the way ahead of everything else. Its sounds like technical elitism. Good luck getting Direct X 11c functionality in Linux!

    • That’s not that big a deal, really. OpenGL isn’t so far behind DirectX that too many people would notice whilst playing a game. Sure, they’ll be missing out on a few effects and niceties, but it’ll be 98% there. Like comparing a PS3 and Xbox game release.

      • Hmm how many of the steam games are currently compatible with linux steam? Yes exactly. Publishers are not gonna be spending money trying to get it to work on it.

      • Of course they will. A new platform released at the same time as Sony and MS’ next efforts, with a fresher business outlook from Valve will be very appealing to publishers and gamers alike.

        A combination of bringing WINE into the fold for older titles and full ports for newer games will allow for plenty titles to make the jump across, which would be eased even further as major game engines from Id, Epic, Crytek and Valve add specific support for this fork of Linux.

        And when you get right down to it, how deep, extensive and flawless are we all expecting back compatibility to be on the next Xbox and PlayStation?

      • Zero. The PS4 won’t play PS3 games.

      • the whole Playstation back catalogue will run on gaikai imo.

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