Valve sets the record straight on Steam Box rumors

By Lee Kaelin on March 9, 2012, 8:42 AM

Last week, rumors emerged that game developer Valve was secretly working on their own gaming console platform. This followed shortly after the company's co-founder Gabe Newell was quoted by Penny Arcade as saying: "Well, if we have to sell hardware we will." But it appears that isn't on the cards for now, with Valve’s marketing director Doug Lombardi stepping forward to quash rumors and set the record straight in an interview with Kotaku.

"We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on," Lombardi said, in reference to their new interface that debuted at last year's Game Design Conference. Big Picture Mode is set to provide gamers with a larger Steam interface for those that connect their PC to a big TV.

"We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount." He continued, "all of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware."

Lombardi would not say with any certainty that the company was not working on a "Steam Box" console, but when Kotaku asked, "what you're saying is, there's definitely nothing coming any time soon, nothing at GDC or E3, but what you're not ruling out is the possibility that, hey, maybe someday Valve would make hardware," he responded with, "I think that's accurate."

It also appears that the images of the console sized computer were a prototype made last year by one of Big Picture Mode’s team members, Greg Coomer. The hardware matches with the information in The Verge's report last week. "Greg's one of the guys leading the effort of the Big Picture mode," Lombardi said, "the idea is that you can take Steam to any display."

According to Lombardi, it was built by Coomer to provide the team with a computer for testing that would be representative of consumers PCs, and to also help them establish a baseline in terms of performance. He further commented, "we're always putting boxes together. Going all the way back to the Half-Life 1 days, we built special boxes to test our software render… it's just part of development."

Whilst the exact position seemed a little unclear, in a later update Lombardi confirmed that Valve would not be making any hardware, or partnering with other hardware makers anytime soon.




User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

Not surprised in the least and would only have been surprised if the rumors had been true.

RubinOnRye RubinOnRye said:

Maybe Valve should do it. Rumors were created and the people loved the idea. Sounds like a good idea to me. It would make companies like Microsoft and Sony a run for their money. Probably make them freak the hell out seeing as how the Steam library is not only huge but also able to be played on both console and PC. Now that's a crazy idea.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's nice to hear Valve make it part of the proccess to make boxes to test their rendering software and games to see how it performs and stabilty across several different setups. Unlike EA (DICE) which i think was more of an after thought...

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The idea of a Steam console is cool and all, but the hardware they would have to put in it would make it expensive. Most modern PCs have the CPU processing power and just lack the GPU aspect, it will be far cheaper to upgrade to a dedicated video card with HDMI out and perhaps a better PSU then this console would cost. Plus with a computer you have much more functionality. I say good for you Steam but its too little too late, plus its just a rumor.

Illuminati said:

They'll just push their services via win8 on the next-gen xbox. No steam box necessary. And they might start carrying "console optimized titles". mind. blown.

Guest said:

Mind blown? Ohh I get it... you were just blowin smoke up your own bum. lol

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I was having trouble putting the alleged plans into perspective anyway; probably should have expected this. Oh well...

mi4me said:

If valves total lack of ANY control over hacking on PC Modern Warfare 3 is any indication of their future endeavors this will be another total sham! PC gaming on Valve is a joke! When you complain about it to Valve their solution is for ME the consumer to upload video clips of hackers so they can ban them. Sorry Valve i didn't pay $59.00 for a game that i have to police.Total bull! Here's a suggestion...Hire ten people to play the game with the ability to ban hackers. I don't think their salaries would break Valves multi billion bank. Tonight i was going to play but after the first 3 games i joined had people hacking i just turned Steam off! Maybe a class action lawsuit would open Valve and Activisions eyes...But i doubt it, they got their money already

Guest said:

This denial only confirms in my mind that a Steam Box is six months away if that. Something like a SFF PC with G630 + 6770 gfx. that'll do nicely. Also VAlves total inability to sell me any of their games on steam .. I dont have Credit card etc, so waddabout gift tokens or other such device?. I would be up to 5 6 maybe even ten games by now.

I would be onto DEus ex HR, Mass effect plus Skyrim CrySis etc.

EDitors Note: please contact Steam directly quoting code "AsX77603" as they have awarded you three free games for this insightful post.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

mi4me said:

If valves total lack of ANY control over hacking on PC Modern Warfare 3 is any indication of their future endeavors this will be another total sham! PC gaming on Valve is a joke! When you complain about it to Valve their solution is for ME the consumer to upload video clips of hackers so they can ban them. Sorry Valve i didn't pay $59.00 for a game that i have to police.Total bull! Here's a suggestion...Hire ten people to play the game with the ability to ban hackers. I don't think their salaries would break Valves multi billion bank. Tonight i was going to play but after the first 3 games i joined had people hacking i just turned Steam off! Maybe a class action lawsuit would open Valve and Activisions eyes...But i doubt it, they got their money already

That's why you stop playing cod, the franchise stopped improving itself several iterations ago anyway so stop giving them your money. Why exactly is it steams job to police a game it distributes, that would be like going to bestbuy and telling them to ban someone because hes hacking, good luck. Its actually a good thing that steam can ban players with appropriate proof that only requires you to be running fraps in the background. Yeah boo hoo you have to help the gaming community once in a while, but if more people did so there wouldn't be such a problem with hackers. Besides, your talking about one game, steam has a huge library of games, it just so happens that cod being as popular as it is draws more attention hence has more hackers.

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