Rumour: Valve’s making a set-top console

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Steambox

Not even a month ago, Valve’s Gabe Newell said his company might be interested in producing console hardware. “Well, if we have to sell hardware we will,” he said to the PA Report. “We have no reason to believe we’re any good at it, it’s more we think that we need to continue to have innovation…”

If new rumours are to be believed, Valve’s a little further along with their hardware than believed – and they’re set to release their own dedicated gaming hardware.

The Verge has received information for unnamed sources that not only is Valve set to enter the gaming hardware market – but that they’ve already demoed the thing to partners at this year’s CES in January. According to the rumour, Valve’s Steambox will run a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU – but that’s not what’s interesting. More intriguing is the fact that it won’t have any associated licencing fees – meaning anybody could develop for the system without having to buy a development kit, or pay Valve for the honour of releasing games. It’ll play PC games, even allowing competing services – such as EA’s Origin – to join in the party.

According to the same rumours it’ll ship with a modular controller that might allow you to modify it depending on the type of game being played, and will feature Steamworks “The Big Picture” which makes navigating Steam more controller friendly. It could also ship with a bracelet or other sensor that would read a player’s biometric data and incorporate it in to games.

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So it’s pretty much a pre-built PC in  smaller box then? Well yes, that’s what it seems to be. It looks like Valve is trying to establish a baseline for PC games to make them more accessible for the masses, with a customised operating system or new user interface to makes things more navigable. Interestingly, it’s rumoured that the Steambox isn’t intended to compete with existing consoles – but to rather  take Apple and its new Apple TV head on.

What do you think? Is this the sort of kick up the butt PC gaming needs, or is this just a bad idea?

Last Updated: March 5, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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