Gabe Newell, CEO and founder of the highly successful games company Valve, has hinted that the firm could be releasing their gaming hardware very soon.
At the LinuxCon 2013 conference, Newell hinted that the ‘Steam Box’ may be available as early as next week. The hardware is expected to allow users of Valve’s Steam service to download and play their titles on a dedicated machine in the living room.
Steam is Valve’s answer to game shops and a competitor to the likes of Amazon. Steam is a digital download distributor; most of the time offering games at a large discount, it has grown in popularity as PC gaming continues to mature. EA now sits in close rivalry with Steam – it too has an online service named Origins, but has been criticised for stocking titles at high street price tags.
The ‘Steam Box’ has been touted by analysts for a long time, but until now we haven’t had a remote clue on whether the device would launch this year, what form factor it would take or its cost. Nevertheless we can deduce a degree of information from previous press statements, the hardware will be seamless. It will be a “grand unification” Valve’s library of games and connect their users together.
Gabe Newell said at the LinuxCon conference:
“The next step in our contribution to this is to release some work we’ve done on the hardware side,” Newell said, adding that next week would see it release that information and details of the “hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room”
Ouya, the first Android game consoles, launched earlier this year – it didn’t go far. First adopters have expressed their opinion that Android gaming isn’t quite ready. The lack of titles, features and users meant that Ouya, although $99, was a bit of a let-down. With the XBOX One and PS4 launch only around the corner, Valve with face a lot of pressure to keep PC gaming in trend. The Steam Box might just be their hope of success in ever changeable gaming industry. Without it, Valve may find it hard to compete against the hype and suspense of the next generation consoles.
It looks like Valve’s hopes lay beyond just producing a console. Any hardware will unify mobile, desktop and tv media. Steam Box might just be an all in one answer that Valve fans have been waiting for.
We can expect further announcements from Valve in the coming weeks. It is likely we’ll get an open sourced game console, possibly running Linux, in the next few weeks. But one thing Valves got on its side is its vast library of games. They just have to make it work.