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Valve's Gabe Newell Gives Details on Steam Box

By - Source: The Verge | B 32 comments

Gabe Newell gives a little more insight on the Steam Box.

After much rumor mongering and speculation, Valve finally showed off its Steam Box—or rather, a variation of it—at CES Las Vegas earlier this week. Manufactured by Xi3 and dubbed Piston, this mini-PC boasts an incredibly sleek and tiny form factor. However, there was a bit of confusion when the Piston was first announced. Was the Piston Linux-based Steam Box that the gaming world has been aflutter about or was Valve working on something else?

In an interview with The Verge, Gabe Newell gave a little more detail on what Valve's plans for the Steam Box are.

First, the notion that this is the Steam Box is false. Rather, there will be a variety of different Steam Boxes as Valve is working with various partners to develop a variety of different "Steam Boxes." Newell explained that Valve would be working on its own version of the Steam Box, the Linux-based console that we've heard so much about, stating "We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have."

When asked about controllers and creative inputs, Newell poo-pooed motion control, saying that, "trying to talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying "oh we’re going to stop using ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up." He's much more interested in biometrics and gaze tracking, something that Valve may already be exploring with its VR headset project.

He went on to discuss the future of the Steam platform and emphasized the importance of user generated content. "Right now there’s one Steam store," he said. "We think that the store should actually be more like user generated content. So, anybody should be able to create a store, and it should be about extra entertainment value." As of late, Valve has already been taking steps towards bringing more user-generated content onto Steam through the Steam Workshop, which allows users to generate downloadable content for supported games, and Greenlight, a process that allows users to vote which projects developers have submitted that they want to see sold on Steam.

Newell's plans for the Steam Box's future are ambitious. He plans on having it support more than two screens, running multiple instances of games, stating, "The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaneous game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors — now we’re saying let's expand that a little bit."

Ultimately, Valve's version of the Steam Box sounds like a gamer's dream come true. Gabe Newell's now gone on record revealing the company's ambitious plans for the console. Valve's had a history of delivering quality when it comes to games, but in the hardware space, it's still so far untested. Will Valve be able to carry out Newell's ambitious vision for Steam and the Steam Box? Newell's response to his thoughts on whether or not the Steam Box will be able to overtake competitors Sony and Microsoft? " The internet is super smart. If you do something that is cool, that's actually worth people's time, then they'll adopt it. If you do something that's not cool and sucks, you can spend as many marketing dollars as you want, [they] just won't."


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  • -6 Hide
    kcorp2003 , January 10, 2013 12:32 PM
    awesome work Gabe. redefine console entertainment and its support services
  • 2 Hide
    Soul_keeper , January 10, 2013 12:43 PM
    This reminds me of the old tuxbox console ideas from ~10yrs ago
    Back when socket A duron and 128MB of mem was being put in a prototype console running linux.
    This should be interesting :) 
  • Display all 32 comments.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , January 10, 2013 12:44 PM
    i dont get it
  • 5 Hide
    wannabepro , January 10, 2013 1:01 PM
    I wonder what the price range will be. I'm definitely interested. If it can get 1080p gaming in the $500 range for four plus controllers and modern graphics details, VALVE TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!!
  • 7 Hide
    kellybean , January 10, 2013 1:19 PM
    Wow, open platform too, I'm really liking Valve and STEAM right now.
  • -5 Hide
    kellybean , January 10, 2013 1:19 PM
    Wow, open platform too, I'm really liking Valve and STEAM right now.
  • 8 Hide
    kinggraves , January 10, 2013 1:27 PM
    Gabe doesn't seem to even comprehend the differences between consoles and PCs. Important factors for consoles are things like simplicity, accessibility, pricing. This doesn't sound like it will hit any of those factors. The average console player isn't looking to buy 8 TVs to play a game. They aren't looking to have 20 different models to play the same platform. You know how many of the 8GB inferior version of the Wii U sold? Not a whole lot. Iwata likely wishes they had never had a second SKU. They aren't going to bother with installing a new OS on their console. How many people actually installed Linux on ps3 without any intention on piracy or "just to have it there"? This doesn't sound like any competition for consoles.

    As far as PCs go, a box that small isn't made by wizards. It will have the performance of any other PC in a box that small, pretty lousy compared to what a full sized PC can do. PC gamers who want performance aren't going to get it from a Steam box. This doesn't sound like a good choice for PC players.

    So who IS this a good choice for? The promise of cheap, functional VR is nice, I'll believe it when I see it. I don't see anything promised by the Steam Box that couldn't be achieved through any other PC or that would be desirable for a console gamer. In b4 Steam fanboys mark me down for questioning the infinite wisdom of Gabe Newell.
  • -2 Hide
    azraa , January 10, 2013 1:42 PM
    "We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination.''

    God damn it I love this guy.
    Now im having trouble with a W8 notebook, trying to get it to W7.
    OS lockdown sucks big time
  • -1 Hide
    therealcold187 , January 10, 2013 1:45 PM
    boju8 screens from the one comp @ 1080p each...Hangooon, just getting the calculator, jeez that's like a whopping 8640p...

    If you read it again you will realize he's talking about playing multiple games on multiple tv's. If he was talking about playing one game on 8 monitors/tv at once then he wouldn't of stated 8 controllers....
  • -1 Hide
    nukemaster , January 10, 2013 1:50 PM
    Wow look at all those re-posts.

    I wonder how much of this will be purely streaming in your own house. This is NOT a bad idea at all. PC in one room feeding more then one room with games.

    By streaming they can also avoid having games not work on the steam box(Direct X).

    Add some media streaming and take my money.
  • -1 Hide
    Parsian , January 10, 2013 2:01 PM
    Gabe, I
  • 0 Hide
    bigpinkdragon286 , January 10, 2013 2:03 PM
    Hangooon or hangover? Put down the calculator, step back from the keyboard, and breathe!
  • 6 Hide
    warezme , January 10, 2013 2:05 PM
    boju your a douche
  • 2 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , January 10, 2013 2:08 PM
    hopefully they'll build a standard pc size steam box that we can upgrade with standard parts.
  • 1 Hide
    stoogie , January 10, 2013 2:15 PM
    boju wtf stfu lol
  • 2 Hide
    godfather666 , January 10, 2013 2:43 PM
    DOA in my humble opinion.

    Why? Well the target audience is tiny. PC running Linux (with few games) with all the problems of a PC and none of the benefits of a console.
  • 2 Hide
    vmem , January 10, 2013 2:56 PM
    it's starting to sound more and more like Gabe just wants to take a crap all over microsoft, Win8 AND xbox.

    Linus based Steam console? sure that would be awesome, but multiple form factors AND open source plateform and this "multiple user based steam store" business? on a CONSOLE? he needs to understand that the main buyers of consoles just want to plug and play at a reasonable price, say $300-500. when it's all said and done, HOW on earth will this steam box be different from just using steam's new "big picture" function?
  • -1 Hide
    vmem , January 10, 2013 2:57 PM
    upgrade_1977hopefully they'll build a standard pc size steam box that we can upgrade with standard parts.

    isn't that just running steam on linux? steam is doing a pretty good job of getting that plateform started, why would they shoot down their own linux expansion?
  • -1 Hide
    alfaalex101 , January 10, 2013 3:12 PM
    Multiple instances on one piece of hardware (Think old school splitscreen gaming, without the split)
    User generated store (Think, frequently updated, hilarious and creative store)
    Upgradable hardware (Think, graphics getting better all the time, no more waiting under a decade for a new PlayBox, being able to pay a little less for a decent but not so powerful setup or going all out)
    Upgradable software (Think XDA developer mods...on a console..)

    Seems like the best of consoles and PC's are coming together.
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