Valve expected to showcase Steam Box hardware next week

By on September 17, 2013, 9:00 AM
valve, linux, gaming, gabe newell, steam box, linuxcon

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell recently reignited talk of a Stream Box during a keynote at LinuxCon 2013. As part of his speech, Newell promised to offer more information about the hardware opportunities Valve sees for bringing Linux into the living room as early as next week.

It’s no secret that Valve has been working with hardware partners to build a television-friendly gaming PC for the living room and we were told back in the spring that we would see the fruits of this labor during the summer. They may have fallen a bit behind schedule but it appears that time is now upon us.

The gaming specialist is seemingly taking the Microsoft approach here as the Steam Box project is more of a blueprint on how to build a device – much like how the Surface tablet started life. As Newell explained during the keynote, there are thermal issues, sound issues and even input issues to consider when building hardware. The next step in Valve’s contribution is to release some work they have done on the hardware side, he said.

In addition to Steam Box hardware, we may very well see what the company has been up to in terms of controllers as well. It was just three months ago that Valve was experimenting with biofeedback that could be used to determine how a player is reacting to a game on a physiological level.

We’ll keep an eye on this one over the coming weeks and see what Valve actually brings to the table.




User Comments: 11

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RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

Hmm. This is pretty cool. But eventually, the sad question would be "What's the use for a desktop?" Sometimes, its just plain better having a desktop. I'm looking into one to replace my laptop. Laptop is better for travel than my fulltime computer.

And on an unrelated note....WHO PROOF-READS THESE ARTICLES? Always a typo somewhere.

Guest said:

I for one look forward to the steam box. However, I am concerned with game compatability.

The key feature of a console over a PC is to be able to load games and just have them work. PCs don't normally have this due to ever-growing hardware requirements. There have been plenty of times where I'd have to install a new driver, or a new version of software just to get a game to work on PC.

If the steam box can just run games off steam and just have them work without me having to do any extra stuff, then that will make it worth while.

customcarvin customcarvin said:

I'm very curious to see what Valve has in store for us. They have been fairly quiet for a while now and I'm sure they have more than one or two surprises up their sleeves.

Hopefully this project doesn't flop. I'm sure they have invested a lot of time and money into it. The biggest problems I think we'll see with using Linux on the Steambox is going to be:

The lack of third party support for it. Most of the devs out there use directx because the api tool-set is easy and powerful to use and implement when porting games.

And:

The HUGE catalog of directx only titles that won't be available on Linux.

If Valve (or someone) could make an api tool-set for Linux using OpenGL and implement sound, input, etc. I think we could finally look to a future of gaming without being tied to Microsoft and directx... I'm not going to hold my breath though. :-)

Stupido Stupido said:

...

And:

The HUGE catalog of directx only titles that won't be available on Linux.

...

Specially for you: [link]

customcarvin customcarvin said:

Specially for you: [link]

Ah yes, good old directx wrappers. They work, kinda, but as noted in the article, there are issues that need to be fixed, and who knows if they ever will be... Still, it's good news that it is being actively worked on.

Guest said:

Steam box sounds great but what about users that want to play BF3 or BF4 or Crysis 3?

Stupido Stupido said:

Ah yes, good old directx wrappers. They work, kinda, but as noted in the article, there are issues that need to be fixed, and who knows if they ever will be... Still, it's good news that it is being actively worked on.

well, I don't think they are wrappers:

quote from the article (with my emphasis in bold):

Since Linux-native applications are using GL/GLES over D3D, Christoph modified Wine to use this D3D9 state tracker over the project's internal D3D-to-GL translation layer. With a patch atop Wine, the Direct3D 9 state tracker can work so that the graphics API is natively implemented for the hardware Gallium3D drivers rather than just translating the API calls into OpenGL.

Christoph says right now that Skyrim, Civilization 5, Anno 1404, and StarCraft 2 are among the D3D9 games now running on Linux. Testing has happened from the Nouveau NVC0/Fermi and AMD Radeon R600g drivers. The performance is reportedly quite good and can be up to two times better than the frame-rate when using Wine's current code.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Steam box sounds great but what about users that want to play BF3 or BF4 or Crysis 3?

Steam box sounds great but what about users that want to play Pong or PacMan or Tetris?

customcarvin customcarvin said:

well, I don't think they are wrappers:

I stand corrected. I obviously missed the biggest point of the article when I skimmed through :oops: ...This does look very interesting after all. I wonder how Microsoft will react if this works and becomes popular. Could this be considered reverse engineering, and therefore software infringement, since they are natively implementing the dx9 calls in a non-Windows ecosystem instead of translating to OpenGL like wrappers?

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

SteamBox is supposed to be for Valve stuff and to expand the world to Valve and devs for making things that will go on steam from what I understand.

I hope this goes through as it is great for devs!

Stupido Stupido said:

I stand corrected. I obviously missed the biggest point of the article when I skimmed through :oops: ...This does look very interesting after all. I wonder how Microsoft will react if this works and becomes popular. Could this be considered reverse engineering, and therefore software infringement, since they are natively implementing the dx9 calls in a non-Windows ecosystem instead of translating to OpenGL like wrappers?

I don't really know whether can be considered as reverse engineering... I don't know if DX9 is open or not...

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