Just days after Gabe Newell hinted to a possible Steam Box reveal next week, Valve Software on Friday sent along this link stating that the Steam Universe is expanding in 2014. Placed under the heading is a large-screen HDTV with a portal glaring back like a blue-black eye, and three smaller portals underneath, one of which has a countdown timer (71 hours to go at this writing).
"Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads," the company teases. "This year we've been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room. Soon, we'll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam."
Valve said in an email that next week, the company will be talking about steps it's taking to make Steam more accessible on televisions and the living room. The first announcement will be on Monday morning, hence the first portal with the countdown timer. That said, bookmark the link and see what the company has in store beginning next week.
During LinuxCon in New Orleans earlier this week, Gabe Newell said that Linux is the future of PC gaming because there are no closed networks; it's an open-source environment that ultimately will provide a cheaper gaming platform for PC gamers because there's no added OS costs. Updates should also not be an issue with an open environment -- he said it took six months just to get an app update approved by Apple.
Valve has already proven its Linux dedication by launching a standalone Linux client in February, and added 198 games to its Linux library. However, Newell hinted to the possible Linux-based Steam Box by illustrating how Linux can eliminate the complexities of having hardware with proprietary software in the living room. Gamers want their systems to be simple and not locked to specific hardware sets for many years.
He said that bringing Steam to Linux "was a signal for our development partners that we really were serious about this Linux thing we were talking about." The company is also contributing to the LLDB debugger project and co-developing an additional debugger. Currently, Linux gaming accounts for less than one percent of the market, including players, player minutes, and revenue. Valve looks to change that.
"It feels a bit funny coming here and telling you guys that Linux and open source are the future of gaming," Newell said after walking on stage. "Sort of like going to Rome and teaching Catholicism to the Pope, so bear with me."
Rumors surrounding Steam Box have focused on the user's ability to upgrade the device when needed, which is why everyone was sure that Xi3 Corp's Piston machine was the flagship device. But sources close to the two companies said the relationship fizzled during CES 2013 in January, so now we're left wondering what will actually power Valve's platform. Yet the company has stated several times in the past that Steam Box won't be a specific hardware set, but more like a Steam Box certification for multiple hardware solutions from partners.
"Next week, we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get [living room unification], and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile."
See you Monday.