Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Report: Valve Working on 'Steam Box' Game Console

By - Source: The Verge | B 63 comments

More rumors that suggest Valve could be about to take on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

With Mobile World Congress over, the industry's attention is turning to all things game as GDC is almost upon us. Last month, Gabe Newell got people talking when he said in an interview that his company could end up selling hardware. Newell said that while Valve had no reason to believe it was any good at selling hardware, they had to continue to innovate, and if that meant developing and selling hardware, then so be it. Now, the latest rumors say Valve is indeed working on its own hardware and it could talk more about it at GDC this month.

According to an exclusive report on the Verge, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." The site's sources also said that the device would be manufactured by a variety of partners, and the software would be readily available to any company that wants it. The Verge reports that the hardware in question would be capable of playing PC games and would also be able to run services like EA's origin. Basic specs of the Steam Box are said to include a Core i7 processor from Intel, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GPU, and the Verge points to both the Alienware X51 and a recent patent filed by Valve as possible reference designs for the console and its controller. This particular patent was filed in 2011 and details a controller that allows for swappable components depending on the game you're playing.

Not too long after the Verge report surfaced, Kotaku pointed to a November 2 tweet from Valve employee that included the specs listed above and a photo of a gaming PC.

"Built this tiny PC. i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/ onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx. Runs Portal 2 FAST," the tweet read, with a link to the following photo:

Based on the information we've heard (and seen) so far, the Steam Box sounds a lot like a Valve-branded PC, which makes us a little bit skeptical about this move. For a software company, entering the hardware market is a big enough risk, but at least a console's life-cycle is usually pretty long. The same cannot be said of a gaming PC. There's also the issue of price -- a gaming PC is significantly more expensive than a console. For example, the Alienware X51, which the Verge reckons may have been designed with the Steam Box in mind, starts at $700.

Valve hasn't revealed anything about its plans where hardware is concerned, but the Verge's sources say the company might reveal more about the Steam Box at GDC or perhaps E3 later this quarter, so stay tuned.

Follow @JaneMcEntegart on Twitter.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    chuckydb , March 5, 2012 11:16 PM
    ''onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx''

    Confirmation that this might be an underpowered, overpriced failure!!!!!!
  • 19 Hide
    esrever , March 5, 2012 11:09 PM
    this thing is going to be overpriced and under performing. The i7 is pointless in pc gaming and they can cut price there massively by going with an i5 or even i3, nvidia graphics card would be interesting but usually the lower end AMD cards are much better performance/$$ and performance/watt so thats a stupid technical decision. I can't see this thing succeeding and anyone with any skills with google can put together a much better gaming PC for less money...
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    mikenygmail , March 5, 2012 11:07 PM
    How about an AMD version at half the price, or at least a couple of hundred bucks less? :) 
  • Display all 63 comments.
  • 19 Hide
    esrever , March 5, 2012 11:09 PM
    this thing is going to be overpriced and under performing. The i7 is pointless in pc gaming and they can cut price there massively by going with an i5 or even i3, nvidia graphics card would be interesting but usually the lower end AMD cards are much better performance/$$ and performance/watt so thats a stupid technical decision. I can't see this thing succeeding and anyone with any skills with google can put together a much better gaming PC for less money...
  • 3 Hide
    kukhri , March 5, 2012 11:13 PM
    While exciting, I hate to think of Valve entwining itself with console gaming. It's an all to common trend and it seems fewer PC centered titles are released every year.
  • -3 Hide
    aznplayer213 , March 5, 2012 11:13 PM
    i would imagine that it wont be a super hit but it'll sell. if steam wants to sell the box there should be a kool incentive to buying the box.
  • 21 Hide
    chuckydb , March 5, 2012 11:16 PM
    ''onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx''

    Confirmation that this might be an underpowered, overpriced failure!!!!!!
  • 1 Hide
    Minus_i7 , March 5, 2012 11:22 PM
    Wonder if they'll bundle it with, I don't know... Episode 3?
  • 7 Hide
    nforce4max , March 5, 2012 11:22 PM
    $700 is to high for a console, in the past consoles that came or even exceeded this price didn't sell well except for Neo Geo (SNK) arcade systems and home consoles. This should have been built around a cheaper i5 or used a AMD apu for less. A less complex design is cheaper and in the long run better as it is less likely to fail.
  • -2 Hide
    cTs Corvette , March 5, 2012 11:25 PM
    Dumbest idea Valve has ever had. Their user base already has PC's, most of which are probably better than this, so I can't imagine who they intend their target market to be.
  • 5 Hide
    Yuka , March 5, 2012 11:32 PM
    Just give me a Companion Cube HTPC case and I'll just email them my whole salary.

    Cheers! XD
  • 7 Hide
    shardey , March 5, 2012 11:37 PM
    Steam needs to make an OS that is dedicated for gaming. Thus, eliminating the need for another piece of electronics.
  • 0 Hide
    omega21xx , March 5, 2012 11:48 PM
    Well, steam does take a small portion of cash from sales. They could go the way of Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo because of this. Console makers sell consoles at a loss and expect to make up for it in game sales. (lower price, more buyers, more games sold) I agree however, that if the rumored specs are true... This will be a flop.
  • 0 Hide
    emperorxyz , March 5, 2012 11:57 PM
    As long as they continue to offer great PC services, more competition is always a good thing.
  • 1 Hide
    tyrusswon , March 6, 2012 12:00 AM
    Come on don't compare Alienware with actual prices. The X51 which comes with a bottleneck of a GPU anyway is already 200$ over price...
  • 4 Hide
    southernshark , March 6, 2012 12:06 AM
    I love it. I'd much rather buy this than a 720....

    Haters gonna Hate, but whateva.
  • 2 Hide
    koolkat574 , March 6, 2012 12:09 AM
    I don't want another console or boutique pc; I just want Half-Life to continue ='(
  • -1 Hide
    raven2510 , March 6, 2012 12:13 AM
    Uggg...Really? I hope they aren't serious about this. All we need is another console. I know that most games are multiplatform, but having to buy 4 different consoles to play games is just asinine.

    I hope this never happens. This is a stupid idea, and its bound to fail. They will never get it at a cheap enough price to be profitable for them. Any new console needs to be under $500 new for consumers to even think about buying it.
  • -1 Hide
    unksol , March 6, 2012 12:18 AM
    oh come on guys. this is just dumb. Reporters are worthless these days. so a "tweet" from a random valve employee who built himself a micro PC for the living room 5 months ago and was just pushing portal 2 is now official specs for a "steam box"? it wouldn't use those parts and this is just stupid.

    its MUCH more likely valve is working on a controller with swappable controls. You know, the thing they actually filed a patent for. And the only fact in this article. Than working on some horrid alienware clown that already exists.... They have steamworks on ps3 and are working on Xbox. this doesn't even make sense
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , March 6, 2012 12:39 AM
    kukhriWhile exciting, I hate to think of Valve entwining itself with console gaming. It's an all to common trend and it seems fewer PC centered titles are released every year.


    um... you do realise that if this takes off, more pc centered games right?

    aznplayer213i would imagine that it wont be a super hit but it'll sell. if steam wants to sell the box there should be a kool incentive to buying the box.


    older valve games for close to free if not free? i mean to a normal person, getting a system preloaded with what at least 5 games regarded best of the genre would be a major selling point.

    chuckydb''onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx''Confirmation that this might be an underpowered, overpriced failure!!!!!!


    lets assume high end mobile gpu... it can play damn near every game maxed so long as you aren't trying to force retarded settings on it... i play all my games at 1920x1080 windowed or 1920x1200 full screen basically maxed with shadow effects toned down on a 5770.

    low, lets see here, an i7, no mention of a mobile version, so assume 250$+ a mobile gpu, im assuming a high end, so 200-300$, now motherboard, ram and such, i'm assuming 50 and 80 in that order, probably less if they get it bulk. and a psu, which if gotten geared for the hardware, could be cheaper than what we buy and just as good of quality, so ill assume 50$

    so in total 630-730$, now realize that valve would put this out with plans on making that money back through subsidizing if they do sell it below cost, wall mart and such sell a game with 12-17$ profit margin, valve gets what 25-33% (selling it digitally lowers the cost allot, giving more to devs than store bought)

    cTs CorvetteDumbest idea Valve has ever had. Their user base already has PC's, most of which are probably better than this, so I can't imagine who they intend their target market to be.


    people who dont have a gameing pc and would buy a gameing pc from alienware.

    omega21xxWell, steam does take a small portion of cash from sales. They could go the way of Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo because of this. Console makers sell consoles at a loss and expect to make up for it in game sales. (lower price, more buyers, more games sold) I agree however, that if the rumored specs are true... This will be a flop.


    no no no no no... thats later in the game, first run of consoles, at least sense xbox was to establish themselves, no matter the cost. second run was to get into homes no matter the cost. ps2 and ps3 both pushed a hardware standard, not even focused on games, just wanting to win the war, so it was less about games and more about getting the hardware out...

    once all that crap was dont, than yea, it becomes more of a games make up for it.

    emperorxyzAs long as they continue to offer great PC services, more competition is always a good thing.


    not in gameing, due to the cost of about 10 million per extra platform. but seeing as this will most likely be just a valve branded pc, it wont add to the cost of games.

  • 0 Hide
    ukulele97 , March 6, 2012 12:47 AM
    Great for hospitals.
Display more comments