Valve Boss Admits To Pushing Hardware Into Living Room

Valve Software bossman Gabe Newell admitted during a podcast interview with Seven Day Cooldown that the company is looking to create an open hardware platform both in the living room and mobile space that the industry can use. The idea is to get out of the "proprietary traps" that are currently leading both sectors (thanks to Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) by offering an alternative to existing proprietary console technologies.

The news arrives after Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he did not speak with Newell during a supposed visit to Apple's headquarters. The rumored meeting led to speculation that Valve's "Steam Box" technology would be used in Apple's upcoming iTV rather than serve as a stand-alone console. Now it seems that we're back to the original rumor of Valve entering the living room space on its own.

Newell said during the interview that an initiative into the console and mobile space would involve "barely out-there hardware design," or rather, hardware that would be relatively unique. However Valve hasn't made any final decisions on hardware design, nor is the studio even confident that it has what it takes to build a competitive console. But Newell nonetheless hopes that Valve can add something to both sectors.

Valve's CEO has been vocal about open platforms for quite a while, saying that closed platform holders are currently severing the direct lines between the developer and the consumer for their own benefit. Even more, he says that Microsoft, Nintendo and even Apple view themselves as "more rent guys who are essentially driving their partner margins to zero."

"They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people's access to those things," he said, adding that it was "ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms." Later on he stated that if Valve needed to step in and offer hardware based on an open platform to resolve the problem, then it would do so.

Recently Valve's Doug Lombardi indicated that the company doesn't have any immediate plans to release a console, but it was quite possible in the future. Originally there was speculation that Steam Box was more of a certified hardware spec list that manufacturers had to follow in order to release Valve-approved desktops and laptops. But an actual console would definitely solve Valve's problem in delivering updates and other content to couch potatoes who currently can;t receive similar content on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

Yet now we have confirmation that Valve's looking into the mobile sector. Does that mean we'll see a Windows 8-based Steam Tablet?

  • computernerdforlife
    "Does that mean we'll see a Windows 8-based Steam Tablet?" Does speculating on information that's provided through hearsay in a form of a question spark critical thinking? Does asking more and more questions help you prove your hearsay speculative point?
  • No, but it does invite commentary from the peanut gallery.

    I think its a good idea, but doubt Valve/Steam could keep themselves above the level of proprietary "traps" that Newell accuses others of being. Not that I disagree with him.
  • Flameout
    wouldn't it be easier to create console-like input devices for the pc?

  • aftcomet
    There is already hardware free from proprietary crap and it's called a PC. This desire by Newell for "open hardware" is nothing but a smokescreen.
  • sp0nger
    Seems like valve has been in the news a lot lately, seems like there may be something on the horizon, something big.
  • lordravage
    Flameoutwouldn't it be easier to create console-like input devices for the pc?
    Do you mean something other than the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows or the Kinect for Windows?

    Because if you aren't, then I don't understand what you mean by console-like input devices. Please elaborate.
  • spasmolytic46
    I'd be happy to get a steam handheld device of any sort, but please for the love of god, keep windows 8 off it or at least give am option for installing and alternate windows version.
  • queenfan
    Use the Tegra 4 or get AMD out there with a Dual Core A15 and Dual Core X86 + High End GPU .28 integrated SoC monster chip that can run any OS?
  • jwcalla
    Michael Larabel (Phoronix) seems to be indicating that Steam is coming to Linux, as per his Twitter feed.
  • alxianthelast
    Only matters if it is more appealing to developers (who can self-publish through steam) to support an open platform (that has all steam supported operating systems installed and updated) with games in mind, versus getting some money back from big publishing deals for exclusive console games. which only seems to be encouraging halfassed efforts and ridiculous and often fraudulant marketing and post sale value adding content campaigns. Who would pay them and help them with marketing?

    I like that iTV and Steambox still haven't been officially discounted, only just an official partnership.. though I do still support Tim Cook being locked in a room with Gabe Newell.