back to article Proto Steam box may feel your arousal, hints Valve daddy

Game developer Valve will be pushing out prototypes of its living room download-and-play games box sometime in the next “three to four months”, company chief Gabe Newell has revealed. The machine, dubbed the Steam Box, is essentially a Linux PC linked to Valve’s online games shop, Steam. Being a PC, it’s easy to build, but …


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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge


    was my first thought as a possible manufacturer which would have sorted out that problem, but Steam Box is Linux and MS is involved in Dell...

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Alienware

      And Alienware is stupidly expensive.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alienware

      Well if it runs Linux, at least it likely won't be very secure and will be easy to hack and just download the games from TPB then....

  2. Captain Hogwash

    Steam Box?

    I thought they were calling it the Gabe Cube.

  3. Crisp

    Electric shocks when hit by a plasma bolt

    Finally! A way to electrocute people over TCP/IP!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play.”

      Brings a new meaning to they way we play!

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: Electric shocks when hit by a plasma bolt

      Valve has finally found a way to implement the SlapPacket©®™

    3. JPD

      Re: Electric shocks when hit by a plasma bolt

      old news - MS ActiveDeath technology has been around since 2001 - just waiting for developers to support it :)

  4. ElsieEffsee

    Apart from Kerbal Space Program

    Which is a great game BTW, I don't any PC game that isn't on Steam. If its no on Steam then I won't buy it no matter how much I might like it and this is especially true of EA titles and their Origin platform.

    I am looking forward to the Valve box for the living room as I believe it will offer something more 'grown up' than we see from M$, Sony or Nintendo. As for the control interface, that sounds really cool and better than waving a sex toy lookalike around (PS Move) or hoping that the 360 camera eventually recognises someone wants to get its attention.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Apart from Kerbal Space Program

      Same here.

      Outside of legacy code and re-re-re-re-re-purchases (pretty sure that I own the original Syndicate several times over), Steam is the only games platform I use. Hell, I buy the indie bundles primarily because they come with Steam codes.

      My brother has a Steam account (birthdays / Christmas = exchange of Steam gifts), my parents have Steam accounts (for Peggle and assorted silliness), my girlfriend has a Steam account (chock full of point-and-click adventures) and - since I met them - her parents in Italy have a Steam account (for playing puzzle games because it's so easy to "send" them a gift internationally like that).

      I'd buy them a SteamBox in a heartbeat if their listed games are supported on it and it was a half-decent price. No more tech-support hassle so they can play Peggle, etc. and it feels like a "real" console rather than something they have to manage.

      The only problem - as usual - is software support. Most of the indie developers get off their backsides and make a Linux version (usually nothing more than a compile with certain options turned on if you have a Mac etc. version and designed it properly at the start), most of the humble bundle titles are Linux-capable already (were before Steam even had a Linux version). Get people like PopCap (which is now EA-owned, I believe) on-board and you'd make a killing. But, unfortunately, that's the weak-point again.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Stop knocking Move!

      Play Portal 2 on PS3 with the Sixence motion control patch.

      Oh look my Move controller is a portal gun!

      Even the correct colours.

      I do like the colour matching on Move games Gold on Resistance 3 to match the Chimeras eyes. Red on Killzone 3 to match the Helghast goggles. Now Portal 2.

      I find that the knockers have basically never played a well supported decent Move game.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop knocking Move!

        > I find that the knockers have basically never played a well supported decent Move game.

        Mmmmm... knockers....

  5. GBL Initialiser

    I find myself wondering if Valve/HW vendor focus for gaming on Linux will shift when this releases. Unless Valve keep focus on Steam on the desktop as well as this Linux "Steam box" is there not a risk that hardware/software support will revolve around it?

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Good idea but

    What will it do my PC and PS3 cannot?

    Already play Steam games on the PC and Portal 2 on PS3

    1. Piro

      Re: Good idea but

      It's more like a cheap but well supported box for the living room, that's how I'd see it.

      PS3 I wouldn't say counts in the same area, it's not a standard PC.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Good idea but

        I know but I already have most bases covered with this combination.

        Basically I cannot play any Italian Plumber games or a couple of shooters.

        Apart from moving Steam into the living room, is there anything else?

        I do like the idea, will be tempted but PS4 would take priority for me.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Good idea but

      A Steam Box could do many things:

      1. Encourages non-MS-specific development of pc games - Develop for OpenGL, and you can cover MS, OSX and Linux. Develop for DX and you've got a non-portable game.

      2. That's important because MS are pushing their own shop. Valve don't want to lose business to MS' store and game devs don't want to be locked into a system like Apple's store (a single store to sell through) so Valve offering a non-MS gaming platform is attractive route to market.

      3. Many of the old games will run on WINE. Despite their age, they make good console/tv games can be resurrected & sold to a generation who have grown up on PS3/xbox rather than PC gaming. More sales of old games.

      4. Console games are expensive. Valve have a great competitive sales opportunity by placing their sales model in the living room.

      5. x86 Linux can give way to ARM linux (if the market goes that way).

      6. If its always on, it gives more features. You've already accepted the DRM for games - would you like to download films too? We've already got Steam voice chat - would you like a DDI number with that? Would you like Asterisk, to integrate your local phone with VOIP? Would you like MythTV? Would you like to buy a year's supply of cleaned-up TV schedules with that? Have a free copy of LibreOffice for this console, Windows or Mac. Here's a samba share and if you'd like, we can back up your data to the cloud. I see you also run OSX - would you like to be able to use your Steambox for time-machine? Ah, you are running Windows - why not back up your Documents directory to Steambox? Would you like to sync all your Documents between systems without sending all your data to the cloud? This is vast feature creep, but who knows if Valve have greater ambitions?

      7. A local game server. Invite your friends to a game at your house, or anywhere on the internet. You can make sure that the hardware is spec'ed to support this and Valve have more freedom to configure the box if its a "console." Various functions could be put into virtual machines - so for example, an L4D2 server could virtualised, given internet access and then wiped to reduce threat exposure.

      Nobody is kidding themselves that linux is currently a better gaming environment than windows, but that doesn't mean that there aren't compelling reasons for it to become one. Valve is also quite well-placed to to help make it happen and with the trend towards closed ecosystems popularised by Apple, I'd be surprised if Valve didn't have quite a bit of industry support, even if the market is currently rather small.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feeling your arousal?

    Yeah, I can see a lucrative market for that ... and it isn't involving any plasma bolt ...

  8. jubtastic1

    The next generation of consoles

    Reminds me of all the HD DVD vs Blueray fuss, with everyone competing to be the guy that loses to streaming. In ten years time no one is going to buy a console, pretty much anything with a screen will be able to connect to an online platform that does the grunt work and sends the video to the player. It's just a matter of time before the bandwidth and latency is up to snuff, It already is in some parts of the world.

    Which isn't to say that they shouldn't bother, just that it's curious that a company well placed to thrive in the coming gaming revolution is trying to break into the static hardware market it will render obsolete.

    1. Test Man
      Thumb Down

      Re: The next generation of consoles

      We're talking about the here and now, not some theoretical scenario in some distant future.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: The next generation of consoles

      It is the here and now.

      Why would I want to stream a film in lower quality than a BluRay which I can buy for under £10 from Asda? And I can keep it.

      Good idea, it will sell, but no idea how well. Valve are not stupid.

  9. MJI Silver badge

    Interesting times ahead

    I will be very intrigued to see what this box is.

    What OS?

    Will it be SSD?

    Control options?

    1. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Interesting times ahead

      And, most importantly, will it have Half-Life 3 (or possibly HL2Ep3) bundled as an exclusive?

      That way they might sell more than a handful of the things...

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  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Valve will need this kind of gimmick if it’s to make any significant headway against the likes of Sony and Microsoft. Redmond has yet to detail the next version of its Xbox platform, but Sony’s PlayStation 4, set to ship before this coming Christmas,"

    So having a library of around 3000 games versus PS4s dozen release titles isn't enough of an incentive?

    Unless of course the new valve box only runs the games currently approved for linux - in which - fair enough.

  12. Gazareth

    It's Valve

    So it'll actually be released sometime around 2022?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: It's Valve

      More like it'll come out as a kit. The first part will be released in 2022, the second part in 2024 and the rest of it will never turn up at all.

  13. DRendar

    Launch Title

    May I humbly predict the launch title?

    Half Life 3 (aka HL2 ep3 probably)

    I recon this is why it's taking so bloody long to come along. I tell you what - THAT will shift a few boxes!

  14. Alan Dougherty

    Noise and heat issues

    Oh yes, that's why PC gamers have been installing big fucking fans and heat sinks in to tower cases for the last two decades.

    To be fair steam is a godsend for not having to drop a CD/DVD into a drive everytime you want to launch a game, but please, performance = heat, and heat = fans+sinks.

    If he can really crack that one, and make it upgradable, when the next gen games arrive, then I'll buy him a pint. Meanwhile, I'll be swapping out my 550W PSU for a 750, and buying a cheap gtx460 to sli.

  15. Inachu
    IT Angle


    USE TEC cooling! its cheap and all collge students use them in their tiny fridges to keep their food cool.

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