Gabe Newell: Valve Will Soon Give Out Prototype Steam Boxes

At least a few lucky customers will get their hands on prototypes the Steam Box within the next few months, Valve boss Gabe Newell says.

Speaking to the BBC at the BAFTA awards show in the UK today, Newell said the company is still trying to figure out just how quickly they can crank out their new living-room-friendly PC machines.

"We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months," he said. "There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it."

How many models will there be? How much will they cost? What will they look like? Details are slim right now — but Newell has hinted that they're looking into biometric controllers in some form, and he reiterated that desire while chatting with the BBC today: "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."

Earlier this year, Xi3 showed off the first unofficial Steam Box, called Piston, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Last December, Newell told me that the company plans to release their own line of Steam Boxes in 2013.

Valve readies prototype Steam Box video game console [BBC via Polygon]


Comments

    I'll take one.

      They should give me one becuase I can't handle PC gaming & surely I'm the target market. No?

    Aroused? MmmmmHmmmmm

    Why didn't we think of this, let's combine all the things gamers hate about consoles [poor upgradability, Not general purpose], with everything bad about PC [No used games, fewer first party titles] and combine it to a tiny box that has no disk drive.

    No Thanks.

      Why would you expect it to have a disc drive? Steam is all about downloading games, is it not.

        Yes. But that wasn't my point. What's the target audience? I can't figure that out. If I wanted a simplified device for gaming I have my console/s. It also let's me play used games. It's got a great community of friends. It can also play Bluray Dvd etc on my TV.
        OK. Forget the disk drive.

        When I want powerful hardware I have my easily upgradable PC. "Big Picture" mode is good. I like it, but this, I honestly don't understand the need.

        Last edited 06/03/13 1:56 pm

        maybe he means no hdd (as in size worthy) instead of no odd?

        Last edited 25/03/13 6:42 pm

      No disc drive? I didn't realise that people still used optical media, how quaint!

        I only use my disc drives to rip CD's that I buy and burn the occasional DVD..

        I have a Bluray movie collection and HQ TV. I have audio CDs. Call me old fasioned. It's ok. But they still sell those for a reason.
        If we discuss this on the internet we won't get as many physical media users. It's only a small slice of the demographic.

          It would seem this is more aimed at the casual PC gaming market who aren't into the whole build your own thing or just are not interested but want an out of the box experience like a console offers.

      To be fair we don't even know what kind of operating system it will be running, it might end up running a custom Linux Kernal, we don't know anything about it. Also it's not that hard or even expensive to buy a USB powered dvd drive they're as cheap as 30 dollars if you know where to look.

    I'm very interested to find out what sort of components are inside that tiny box. Wouldn't it have to be able to play every game that's available on steam?

    I find it very hard to believe that a box that small could house components that are good enough to run something like Battlefield 3 or Crysis 3.

    That said, this is something I will be watching with interest.

    Last edited 06/03/13 12:41 pm

      It's not like it couldn't house laptop components that are more than capable of running the top games on Steam.

      Also not sure why you picked BF3 & Crysis 3 since neither are on Steam :S

        Aren't they? My bad, I just assumed they would be.

          All good, we all make mistakes!

          Nah EA use their own digital delivery service Origin now and haven't released anything on Steam since Crysis 2 I think..

    There's an interesting duality at the moment.

    If the PS4, Xbox, or WiiU were to be download-only, no used games machines, people would be crying murder.

    Steambox does it? "Lol this is the future, are you even trying other consoles?"

    I don't understand the logical inconsistency here.

      Probably because still a lot of off the shelf games for PC aren't Steam keys. Sure a lot of Activision games are, but most games I have bought retail they were not Steam keys.

      The only keys that have been for Steam that I purchased retail were Saints Row 2, AVP, Counter-Strike: Source, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 & The Orange Box. Out of dozens of other games I have bought retail, 6 were were able to be registered to my Steam account, and even then 4 were Valve games so that's not even a valid point. So yeah, maybe that might be the reason?

      Considering not every publisher/Developer has to choose to use Steam it's not really something you can compare here to Xbox & PlayStation, and if they do release on Steam they don't have to make their boxed retail copy work with Steam.

        By reports, we're looking at a region-locked, price disparity, digital only, no used games, Linux powered Valve console.

        I don't see why people are mad for it.

          People were mad for the PS3 and it was a similar to what you just described. The PSN is region locked depending where you live/where you created your account for.

          The used game thing isn't really much of an argument if you ask me. Especially when you can see PC games drop faster in price on Steam, than most console games do in store, I have noticed, and given the amount of sites where you can buy Steam keys for anywhere upto 1/4 the current Steam price and then the holiday sales they have, which makes it easy for anyone to buy the games.

          For example I picked up Max Payne 3 during the Christmas sales for 22 dollars, it had been out all of 6 months or a little bit more by then, it was also still being sold for 80+ dollars at the retail side of things.

      It might have to do with the competitive pricing. Steam is much cheaper than the PSN and xbox live, although that is improving.

        I would posit that a move to digital only, no used games consoles would see a significant price drop occur there too.

    I have a Steam Box already. Been big-screen PC gaming since 2005 (>32", have a 40" at the moment).

      at what res? with a controller? what os/hardware do you run

        1080p, 360 controller on a Q6600, 8GB RAM and a GTX 460. Initially I had a Celeron 2.4 GHz but it was capable of HDTV with a TV tuner card. Unfortunately some great recorded sporting moments have been lost due to a dead HDD :(

          i just got a 360 wireless controller for windows - works great in big picture mode :)
          now i just have to build a mid range htpc that wont get too hot, be too noisy or suck up too much electricity and i'll have a steam box too :D

          do you use windows 7 or 8?

            Windows 7. The only good thing about Windows 8 is the task manager.

            If you're after a HTPC I'd go with 7, 8 doesn't come with Media Centre.

            I've always used a full tower, much easier to upgrade. I bought a 360 controller a year before I even got an Xbox, most games support it and I find it is the best for my SNES emulator. Some new games don't use it, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series for example, which seems silly seeing as they designed the games for the Xbox as well. Some developers insist on K&M, I wish they would at least give us the choice!

            If a game doesn't natively support controllers you can use x-padder, although it can be a bit of a nuisance mapping the keys for games like GTA SA where controls change depending on whether you're on foot or in a vehicle.

              windows media centre is not a big deal for me - xbmc with plugins does everything well enough, except maybe the pvr functionality.
              full tower does not meet WAF -needs to look like it belongs, hence the htpc :)
              xpadder/glovepie/whatever may get used, but i dont think i will use any games that ARENT controller aware on the box really

            Also I recommend an nVidia card if you want to keep power usage and noise down, not to mention better driver support for games.

              really? i would have thought the opposite. its been my experience ATI cards offer most of the performance with lower power usage and noise, including apu's, than nvidia cards. and more bang for your buck. i was thinking of get some kind of amd apu possibly. does nvidia have anything to match? no way am i going intel :)

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