A supposed Valve Software employee has jumped on popular site 4chan to spill the beans on what the company plans to reveal on Wednesday and Friday. Posting only as Anonymous, he also discusses why Valve chose to use Linux as the foundation, dishes out a few insults towards Microsoft, and talks about the platform's streaming feature. But take all of this with a grain of salt: it's easy to write fiction while under the anonymous umbrella.
For starters, as expected, Valve will supposedly reveal a reference design on Wednesday, not a complete out-of-the-box console. This design will be highly upgradable by the end user to that customers aren't locked into one hardware set for a near decade. Xi3 Corp could still be one of these partners, and maybe even Zotac and a few other barebones Mini PC providers, but the unnamed source indicates that the ideal form factor may not be quite that small.
"It will support all hardware. All CPUs, all GPUs -- from three generations ago at the oldest for Nvidia, two for AMD and all going forward," the unnamed employee claims. "The release design, however, will have a Nvidia GPU and an AMD CPU. It will use regular PC parts, however, there will be a certification program. We have to guarantee some sort of baseline performance – if there's analog out, then the audio must not crackle, PSUs that are small won't burn your house down, small cases without retarded branding, low latency wireless networking, etc. You are free to build an 800 pound glowing monstrosity if you wish, and it'll work, but that's not really what we want you to do. There will also be prebuilt and bundled solutions."
So that's part two of the reveal: a certification program for hardware builders looking to provide full solutions, and a reference design for the ideal "Steam Box". As revealed on Monday, Valve is also releasing the SteamOS platform not only for Valve partners for creating a complete package, but for PC gamers wanting to build their own Steam Box. He said that the reference design doesn't use Intel because the company wanted to be paid for its involvement while Valve in turn would be marketing Intel's hardware for free.
"[Nvidia] reached out to us and have been extremely cooperative," the employee said. "They even let us use their streaming tech – the one they showcase on the Shield (which is getting Steam integration, btw, as are all Tegra devices), even though we told them it would have to work on AMD cards. If you were wondering what Nvidia was unveiling soon that wasn't a video card, this is it. They're the first choice for Steam Box hardware. (We even set it up so that it rains on AMD's video card announcement, kek). Expect extremely good Linux drivers from them over the next few months. AMD is… hesitant to comment."
That's it for Wednesday. On Friday Valve will not reveal new Steam peripherals, but the Source 2 game engine. The employee said it won't have a line of DirectX in it (meaning it presumably supports only OpenGL), but will work on Linux, Windows and OS X – possibly even the PlayStation 4 in the future. There will also be a game possibly using this engine that will be bundled with Nvidia cards and redeemed on Steam Boxes.
The update also goes into how Linux is faster than a Windows platform, and how Microsoft is extremely lazy and greedy. We've already heard Gabe Newell thrash the Windows 8 platform, so it's no surprise hearing similar talk from supposed employees. Windows is the real cancer killing PC gaming, not consoles, he claims.
Naturally take all of the new Valve talk as simply rumor until Valve dishes out the official news on Wednesday and Friday. Cross your fingers the new Source 2 game is Half-Life 3!
Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.
They need to secure a major hardware partner to really push it over the edge though. Someone like Asus perhaps who has the distribution power to make sure those cool reference boxes are sitting on shelves at Game Stop, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy right next to the xfail one and PS4.