Valve say any kind of “Steam Box” is a long way from shipping
Valve’s rumoured entry into the console market is a long way from releasing, though not ruled out
Valve’s rumoured “Steam Box” sparked a virtual frenzy as it seemed there was going to be a fourth competitor in the console market, but the company this week had commented on the rumours and says that they won’t be releasing a console … for now.
Apparently the Steam Box has been a simple test unit for Steam’s upcoming Big Picture Mode: “we’re building boxes to test that on,” Valve director Doug Lombardi said. The Big Picture mode is Steam’s way of making the software more accessible, allowing Steam users to browse content on bigger screens (especially their TV).
However, Lombardi did not rule out Valve making a console in the future and it certainly seems that the company will be entering the console market in the future. When Kotaku posed the question that in the future Valve would be revealing hardware, but not at GDC or E3 this year, Lombardi said “I think that’s accurate.”
He also said that putting out test boxes for upcoming games and services was entirely normal, as even going back “to the Half-Life 1 days, we built special boxes to test our software render” Lombardi said.
Steam Box in development?
When the initial rumour came out about Valve producing the “Steam Box” it was suggested that it would also include a configurable controller, with a patent from last year showing removable analogue sticks. Similarities were also being drawn to Alienware’s X51 mini PC, which would apparently upgrade to the service Valve would be offering upon release.
The Steam Box was reported to be in development with various hardware manufacturers, and the platform would be free to use by any developer, with rival services such as Origin free to run on the Box too. The original rumour cited comparisons to Google’s open source Android software for mobiles. The rumour cited the specs as a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a Nvidia GPU.
The report also said that biometric data would be a part of the console, through some kind of bracelet. On this, Lombardi said that they were “doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback.”