Valve president Gabe Newell shed light on the much anticipated Steam Box at this year’s CES, and yes, he called it a Steam Box. Despite initial predictions that the Steam Box would be a home console, instead it’s a line of streamlined gaming PCs designed to integrate with your TV. Interestingly, it will run Linux and be completely open source which shouldn’t come as a surprise given Gabe Newell’s general disdain with Microsoft Windows (the company he worked for and product he worked on over 15 years ago). Furthermore, it’s designed to be more than just a PC… the plan is to have it work across all the screens in your house as a server via high speed WiFi standards. Steam Box is not near done yet and still has the codename of “Bigfoot” back at Valve.
We’ve compiled a list of features and planned/possible features that Gabe Newell has revealed for Valve’s Steam Box. It’s worth noting that none of these are official features yet and for many of them, they are still in the R&D stages.
- Linux based PC
- Windows can be installed
- Compact size
- Lower Latency controller
- Possible Biometric controller
- Possible Eye/Gaze based controller
- User created stores on Steam featuring either their own selections or their own self made content
- Netflix support
- Web Browser
- WiFi TV streaming via services like Miracast
Gabe Newell says that there are still some things to figure out, for example making sure that all games on Steam will support the controller. He also wants to make sure the web browser functionality works well. Valve is also researching the portable market in a project they’ve codenamed “Littlefoot”. Interestingly, Gabe Newell expressed support for Nvidia’s Shield handheld console. Linux as the operating system shouldn’t come as a big surprise, especially with the recent release of Steam for Linux. Furthermore, Steam’s previously announced Big Picture mode will also be playing an important role in the integration of Steam into home entertainment.
There were actual Steam Box prototypes at CES on display and playable. Here are a few pictures of them so far…
CES also had Xi3Corporation with a booth, which Valve funded to develop all in one gaming computers. These computers, currently codenamed “Piston” are specifically designed to run Steam and allow for easy at home play of PC games on your HD TV. Engadget revealed the following details and specs about…
- Manufactured by Xi3Corporation
- Modular Motherboard allows upgrades
- Quad core AMD processor
- Up to 1TB of storage
Some photos of Xi3Corporation’s “Piston”…
Gabe Newell says Valve will be releasing the Steam Box in 2013 but has not revealed a solid release date. Pricing has also not been officially announced, but we reckon it might retail for between $800 to $1000 (just guessing), which isn’t really bad for a gaming PC at all.