Why a ‘Steam Box’ Game Console Would Be a Big Deal

At last, Valve has admitted it: The giant of PC gaming plans to release a living room video game console based on its Steam distribution platform.

The idea of a “Steam Box” has been somewhat of an obsession for the gaming world lately. Rumors about the product have been circulating for months, and Valve has stirred the pot with its own hints before. It’s looked to hire industrial designers, released a TV-friendly version of its software called “Big Picture” and has gone on record talking about its desire to make innovative hardware.

But in a recent interview with Kotaku, Valve head Gabe Newell gave the best indication yet that the company’s actually working on a console. “We’ll do it but we also think other people will as well,” Newell said, referring to other hardware makers who might release their own living room PCs along with Valve. Newell suggested that Valve’s hardware may run on a Linux-based operating system, in a “very controlled environment,” while users who wanted more flexibility could go with a more general purpose PC.

Why would a Steam game console be important? Several reasons.

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Jinkies1987d ago (Edited 1987d ago )

If it means I could, for example, buy Skrim from the Steam store and then download mods for it, hopefully by a new mod system they'll have for easier browsing on the console, then it's an instant buy for me. Mods on a would be amazing.

I mean think of all the games that get mods, a game like TF2 and L4D would be 10 times better. Lets not forget if this happens Sony/Microsoft will be forced to try and find away to bring that kind of feature to their consoles.

matrixman921987d ago

I think I remember reading in an interview the other day that the console will be much more controlled than PC' that might mean no mods. Im hoping it will have them though, that would be awesome. This console really could change the industry for better

Jinkies1987d ago

Well even if they don't have them straight away I think for them it would be easy to add them.

If it is a PC/Console hybrid then I'm guessing web browsing will be on it which means I could download them from the internet still all they need to do is a add a place on the homeplace where you can save and access them. As I've said above if they add a Mod browsing search bar then it would allow easier browsing for consoles which means they don't have to make it so open to the internet.

darthv721987d ago (Edited 1987d ago )

seems more like they are trying to create a set of standards to which other companies can make systems that are supportive.

Kind of like the 3do back in the day. Panasonic wasnt the only ones to make the 3do. Sanyo and Goldstar and even Creative Labs had variants built around the set of standards the 3do company came up with.

that meant no matter which one you bought, the game would play the same. This is something that is good for the industry in that hardware costs would not be controlled by a single company. The competition of other mfg's would keep the costs low.

Via and APEX had the same idea as it related to a PC in the living room. At least for games anyway. The ApeXtreme was a set top box that looked like a DVD player but had DISCover tech to allow for drop and play of PC titles (for the time). It didnt get released (officially) but the idea was pretty good.

Valve and their service (Steam) are the only "?" in that would this device (and compatible ones) only be allowed to access what is available on Steam or could you play anything? Seeing that its Valve that is making the push i would have to say it starts out Steam ONLY content but depending on the consumer acceptance that could change.

in a perfect world, we could have the game companies make their game that is supported across a wide range of devices. Meaning a single copy of a game that you put into one player, plays and if you put it into a different player from a different mfg it also plays. Maybe even the varying differences in hardware design the game plays to whatever it is put into. It sees the system and adjusts accordingly.

this way a nintendo system, sony system, ms system can all play the exact same single copy but each one plays it based on the hardware inside. For that to happen, all 3 would need to agree on a standard media format. One that could hold the code for each platform and play based on that platform.

Agent_00_Revan1987d ago

No I Absolutely believe you'd be able to get mods. So many PC games have them. It would be pointless to release a PC-like system without that ability.

This would be a great thing to have, especially for mods. I remember buying Left 4 Dead for Xbox, so I could play with my cousins because they had crap computers. Only to find our that we'd never get the mods the PC version got. I was never going to make that mistake again.

MikeMyers1987d ago

Valve will show the other big 3 how to not get in the way when it comes to developer support, royalties and approving things like updates and DLC. The big stumbling block will be AAA exclusives and being outmatched when it comes to marketing and distribution channels.

I always found it odd how people complain about fees such as Xbox Live yet are more than willing to pay a premium when it comes to software prices and DLC tactics that are worse on consoles.

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hop3lessfray1987d ago

They key is that it's a living room PC. It sounds like they just want to make their console a "budget PC" without skimping too much on the horsepower.

hop3lessfray1987d ago

But if the focus on Big Picture is using a controller over a mouse and keyboard, that turns me off a bit.

dirthurts1987d ago

I'm sure you'll have the ability to use keyboard and mouse. No doubt in my mind.
Big picture mode even expressly states that a keyboard and mouse is still supported.

sonicsidewinder1987d ago

It's gonna be most interesting to see the specs involved. If it will be to the standard of a modern console or a next gen console. Will there be multiple models?

delboy1987d ago

Put some exclusive games in that box,and then we can talk.

LOL_WUT1987d ago

It's a big deal to Pc owners but, i'd rather wait for next-gen consoles (720 & Ps4).

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