Ive been seeing reports that Valve may release a "Steam Box" to compete with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in the console market.

The picture above is from a patent application filed by Valve last year for a "game controller having user swappable control components."

"Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up."

Some more interesting bits from The Verge:

"Part of the goal of establishing a baseline for hardware, we're told, is that it will give developers a clear lifecycle for their products, with changes possibly coming every three to four years. Additionally, there won't be a required devkit, and there will be no licensing fees to create software for the platform."

I think this is very interesting because if this is all true then the Steam Box will be a much simpler system for developers to port games to in terms of licensing fees. Steam is great for indie publishers to get something to market and make money with it. Consoles are not quite as easy and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo take more of a cut of the sales than other hardware makers like Apple or Google.

Looking forward to E3 this year, hopefully it will be showcased.

What do you all think? Is another company entering the console market a good thing? Is this even needed at all? Never going to upgrade from your original NES?


Tungsten wrote on 03/03/2012 at 10:03pm

I think it would be pretty cool. I'm loving Steam over Live with all the indie titles, but I'm already wondering about my hardware. A steam box would be the near of both worlds.

That said, have you seen the RAZOR gaming tablet? Throw steam on that and I think you'd be set.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/03/2012 at 10:06pm

Ive got a pretty decent gaming rig but its fairly new. A Steam Box seems like it would be as beefy as a PC and have something devs can target that is more open than a PS3 or XBOX. Then again, the price might be very very high.

I haven't seen the RAZOR yet, ill check it out.

Tungsten wrote on 03/03/2012 at 10:18pm

It's not something that I thought would be cool, but a few people I (kind of) trust have said they like it.

vdogmr25 wrote on 03/04/2012 at 03:40am

It seems like a cool idea. It would really open up the PC market in a way by allowing a cheap way to get a solid gaming machine and games. If it allowed for mouse and keyboard, I might bag one down the road.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/04/2012 at 06:18am

I kind of hope it supports mice, keyboards and standard controllers. Be cool to put a Steam machine in the living room.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 03/05/2012 at 07:50pm

I'm very interested in seeing what this will look like. At the moment it sounds like you're basically buying a gaming PC. So, uh, why not just buy a gaming PC instead? However Valve seems to know what they're doing and Steam has been a huge success, so I'm looking forward to hearing more about what will make the Steam Box stand out over the other consoles and regular PC gaming.

The controller looks cool, but I can just see all the pointless add-on's third parties are going to make for this thing. Just look what they did with the Wii-mote to get an idea.

Tungsten wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:03am

I'm all for a relatively cheap standard box. It's kind of like phones now: older models are slowly just losing the capability to play new things. You could buy one years steam box, use it for 2-3 years, then it will just stop being able to play some games until you upgrade to the next steam box.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:32am

I think the reason why people still use PC's is because of games else you could just have a Mac or Linux laptop. Ill admit, owning a console is simpler to play some games because I don't have to track down extra RAM or an upgraded video card. If the Steam Box offers an advantage I won't mind upgrading. Wonder if it will be able to run non steam games?

Tungsten wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:35am

They said EA Origin would be a possibility, so it'll have to run some sort of stripped down windows. I don't see EA playing nice with a linux box. No technical reason, just a feeling.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:37am

Plus it would be hard for publishers to support Linux when its hard enough for them to support a Mac. Its not technically impossible its prob just more work than they want to do. Id say, for Valve, start with the platform on Windows and get users and developers to adopt. In a later iteration worry about the API changing to something better.

Tungsten wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:40am

Shoot, if sony can get people to develop for the cell, then anything is possible.

What about OnLive though? Wouldn't that put a big fat nix on the way we play games now?

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/06/2012 at 03:45am

I'm not sure people are ready for OnLive. I am not sure the market is ready for OnLive yet. When I see people chatting about OnLive it seems lag is a major issue. People don't seem to trust that if they pay for a game in OnLive it will last them as long as they would like.

I think two things need to happen before OnLive is the next thing:

1) Internet Speeds get wicked fast so streaming a game lags out as much as a modern game that can run at like... 30-60FPS or equivalent. Right now, my Netflix is pretty flakey and Netflix is a huge company with a ton of smart people. I imagine its a harder problem with game streaming.

2) People want to move to a rental model for games. Lets face it, I don't own anything with Netflix and OnLive is no different.

Timogorgon   Member wrote on 03/08/2012 at 10:41pm

Looks like valve has said they're not working on a steam box at this time.

Tungsten wrote on 03/09/2012 at 03:57am

No Moar Hats :(

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/09/2012 at 04:01am

Ok, what they said is they are working on having Steam work in the living room. I think, it's possible they are first making it so Steam can work in the living room and then later a Steam Box?

I don't know but it wasn't great, I really wish we had a new "open" take on consoles.

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