Rumor: Valve working on Steam Box, a PC gaming console

By Leeky · 26 replies
Mar 5, 2012
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  1. Details are beginning to emerge that Valve may be working on their own gaming hardware platform. As you know Valve is an industry pioneer that beyond creating A-list games like…

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  2. I love Valve, but this has fail written all over it.
  3. How has this gotten fail written all over it???? explain!
  4. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    I don't see it as a fail either. Build a relatively decent box, make it connectable to the Internet and viola! Access to Steam's extensive catalog. Hella lot easier than shopping for DVD's to load into your XBox or PS3. And if the box is powerful enough, provides a higher quality viewing experience and also access to PC driven DLC and mods that stand-alone units don't get.
  5. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,377   +286

    Yep, that makes me wannna ... Errr yeah anyway xD

    It would be great if you could mod the Console with new and better hardware or something :X

    I think this really does have great potential, Valve is my favourite company together with Rockstar ^^
  6. I don't see how the first guest sees even a glimpse of fail with so much win. I could see this taking off very well. Especially if they allow me to log into my Steam account and play my existing PC games through this console. I bet it will support mouse and keyboard on launch. I've never been much for console gaming, but this could bring me to the dark side.
  7. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,668   +988

    I believe Valve has done more for PC gaming than Microsoft, Dell and EA have done together in the last decade. So regardless of whether the rumor is true or not, I wouldn't discard a potential project of theirs ahead of time either.
  8. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname TS Rookie Posts: 36

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Valve. I've bought every game that Valve has made and enjoyed them, and knew I would enjoy them simply because it was Valve who made them. But from what I've read about this, the Steam Box is just going to be an overpriced prebuilt PC.
  9. It's fail because it further bridges the gap between console and PC gaming which is a bad thing IMO. I've said it many times before because it bears repeating: PC isn't dying, it's being murdered systematically.
  10. *PC gaming
  11. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    If it's fully compatible with your entire current Steam library, and has slick enough components, at a decent price point to compete with consoles directly, it could stand a chance. You have the advantage of being able to lock in and standardize components, and only support a few resolutions, so it's easier to optimize a system to give it some longevity.

    That said... The control side of it could be the kiss of doom. PC has one major thing going for it, that helps to set it apart from consoles, and that is the precision and flexibility offered with a mouse/keyboard control scheme. Force all of your PC games to be dumbed down to the limited console gamepad, and you lose that edge that might be keeping gamers glued to the PC platform. Rather than re-inventing an already limited control scheme like the gamepad, why not work on a comfortable and effective mouse/keyboard controller that you can sit on a couch and easily use? Bring the PC control experience to the living room, make it competitive with a console in price and simplicity, and you might open up quite a niche market. Force the PC to conform to console limitations, though, and you risk ostracizing your current consumer base while losing any advantages that make PC gaming unique.
  12. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,997   +1,317

    Thats awesome, if it worked well it would virtually replace any need I had for a desktop, because my laptop can handle everything but high end gaming just fine.
  13. Ranger1st

    Ranger1st TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +124

    Beyond the accessibility of your existing steam account, at $699 price point for the Alienware product alone.. that machine better not be proprietary in HW; At $699 I want to be able to upgrade my CPU or/and GPU.
    The one failing of the traditional consoles is they are built with outdated specs from the initial launch and they go downhill quickly from there. Being able to keep the Steam box 'fresh' and mostly up to date is a HUGE selling point for me.
  14. PC gaming isn't dying, and this is pretty much evidence of the contrary. Exclusive PC titles, on the other hand, most definitely are dying/dead unfortunately, with multiplatform being the future, but with PC taking an increasingly bigger slice at least. At present, PC sales of a given title are generally about the same as the 360 figures, and well ahead of the PS3. I can only see the PC's share of the market growing, and things like a Steam "console" (in fact just a glorified HTPC with gaming capability) will accelerate that growth.
  15. Butch

    Butch TS Enthusiast Posts: 112

    Not sure how this would be different than what many people are doing now...simply hook a PC up to your TV and add a controller? What am I missing?

    If there is: Proprietary hardware? Bad. Limited PC functionality? Bad. No mouse/keyboard? Bad.

    Contrary to popular belief most people that use consoles (at least people I know) are not on consoles because PC's are too expensive, it's because the PC is too hard to keep running ie. drivers, malware etc are all big problems for them typically because their kids are downloading and surfing and answering "yes" to every pop-up presented to them. This is the real problem hurting PC gaming IMO. If SteamBox can fix that problem without too much locking down, it may stand a chance.

    I just do not see this as something that would really takeoff, but I've been wrong before. I hope it is successful because anything that can be done to compete with the kiddie-consoles is beneficial to us PC gamers so that we can get back to more sophisticated and innovative games rather than dumbing everything down as is the current trend.
  16. Its a great idea but yeah whats the difference to moving my tower to my tv it is basically a half decent pc which you can play games on xbox and ps are the same but are outdated now are due for an upgrade, but if this steam console/pc is $699 no chance i would rather buy an onlive system and stick to my current ps3/pc, but make it affordable ps3/xbox price point and maybe make a loss on the console but make it up in game sales amazon style.
  17. if possible take the same route as onlive but with steams larger game catalog.....:D
  18. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,289

    "with big picture mode, gaming opportunities for Steam partners and customers become possible via PCs and Macs on any TV or computer display in the house."

    Pretty clear this is exactly what they have in mind. Steam lends itself directly to game streaming. Of course there's no reason you couldn't do this on the PC you already have and I'm sure it will be available to any Steam user. Not everyone wants to play PC games on their TV (in fact I'd say most PC gamers don't). However, look at how difficult it is to get an HTPC set up that supports all those different formats, has proper surround sound, etc - its a nightmare. The best HTPC I've seen is a modded Xbox. There are plenty of folks who would jump on a $600 do-it-all product that has access to console, PC and Mac games as well as all those VoD services. With Steam you could have the option to download *or* Stream PC games, which is a major advantage over OnLive. I think what Valve is working on here is something that many of us have dreamed about: one set-top to rule them all. If Steam goes stream (heh heh) it will probably all but kill OnLive, which would be a shame. Maybe Valve could just buy OnLive and assign their people to develop the game streaming. How cool would that be? And I agree totally about the PC control options. It needs IR Blaster, HID and all of that out of the box. I will never, ever play a PC game with a console controller - I can barely stand to use them for actual console games!

    If they sell this thing for $600 it will do pretty well. If they sell it for $400 or less, it will do *insanely* well.
  19. Uvindu

    Uvindu TS Booster Posts: 120

    So would the steam box run windows? If it does then I don't get why you have to buy the team box (basically a whole new PC) when you can connect your normal rig to a TV and play the games

    If it doesn't run windows, then does that mean that all the games will have to be ported to valves new platform? Isn't that like a lot of work? Won't all the game developers then have to develop games for this new platform for it to be able to take off?

    Am I missing some crucial point?
  20. All you guys rejecting this based on the ability to upgrade it, run another OS or the fact that you can connect your existing PC to your living room TV are missing the point of this. If you're a core PC gamer you're going to keep playing on your PC. This thing is for people who buy consoles or who want an extra cheap PC for gaming for whatever reason. It's meant to be simple plug and play like an Xbox.

    The problem I see is this: Console people are tied to their game discs.

    They pretty much don't have downloadable full AAA game titles on consoles. They might balk at not getting a tangible disc so they can pretend they "own" the game. They also like to buy and sell used games and rent them. We all know that consoles will be 100% digital soon, as is already virtually true on PC's, but they're just not quite ready for the new world yet.
  21. blimp01

    blimp01 TS Enthusiast Posts: 144

    shouldnt they just create their own OS instead? load it onto a hard drive and forget about windows because its just for games
  22. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Great in theory, but I'm not sure how it would work in reality. The sheer number of users and size of the available library would require an absolutely massive hardware backbone to run everything. The logistics seem daunting, to say the least. At the very least, it would completely change the operational dynamic of Steam, require subscription services, etc.

    I've dreamed of a "gaming OS" for years, like maybe a custom Linux kernel that would give "instant on" and "insert disc to run automatically" console functionality. It's great in theory, but the reality of the situation is that creating their own OS would be one heck of a rabbit hole to start down. You would start out with no compatible gaming titles, and only be able to offer titles as they got fully ported over. Who's going to pay for all of that programming and testing? And who's going to be patient enough to wait for your existing library to be ported over?
  23. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    True, but (IMO) ironically it is very evident that consoles are the primary target of game development now, which then get ported to PCs, in effect it means that PC gaming is loosing this battle with consoles.
  24. ramonsterns

    ramonsterns TS Enthusiast Posts: 744   +12

    PC isn't losing any battles, we just continue to prove that not all of us are brain dead ****** with no standards who buy all the expensive shinies and are easily amused by mediocre products.

    On another note, I probably wouldn't buy it. Pointlessly large CPU/RAM and I heard rumors the GPU was lacking. They should stick to a beefy i5 with maybe 4-6gb of RAM and a beefier GPU.
  25. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    i love valve but i worry for them if they get involved in hardware , surely its just not true? . Maybe it will basically just be a branded PC. Valve have done a lot for the PC so i wish them luck in anything they do.

    I'm sick of hearing PC gaming is dying , complete rubbish . The facts speak otherwise , PC game sales are more than 10 years ago. Good games still thrive and sell well. It's just a lot easier for a company to make an average console game than a good PC game that will sell. How many copies will diablo 3 sell? lots and lots , Pc gaming isnt dying just consoles are more popular.

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