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Gabe Newell Opens Up About Steam Box Plans

Really not sure how I feel about relevant news coming out of CES.

That was fast. The Verge caught up with Valve’s Gabe Newell, who spilled way more beans that you’d expect about Valve’s hardware plans in the future, which do include a box of some kind.

Newell is at CES in Las Vegas this week to meet with different companies about its hardware plans, and has come with a number of prototypes in tow.

“We think that there are pluses and minuses to open systems that could make things a little messier, it’s much more like herding cats, so we try to take the pieces where we’re going to add the best value and then encourage other people to do it,” said Newell. “So it tends to mean that a lot of people get involved. We’re not imposing a lot of restrictions on people on how they’re getting involved.”

This explains the Xi3 announcement. Xi3 will not be the last piece of hardware to have Steam support, but it’s also not the mythical Steam Box that we’ve been expecting Valve to produce itself.

That box does exist.

“We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves,” he said. “That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have.”

The company is also experimenting with low-latency controller solutions, and some designs include a touch screen. It’s possible a controller could incorporate biometric data, as well. Valve's not sure if motion control has much more to it, either. All of Newell’s answers suggest there is significant experimentation happening at Valve, and it hasn’t nailed down specifics. How many companies can be this specific and vague at the same time and get away with it?

It’s worth reading the whole interview, by the way. Hopefully, we’ll have even more details soon. Exciting!

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

That was fast. The Verge caught up with Valve’s Gabe Newell, who spilled way more beans that you’d expect about Valve’s hardware plans in the future, which do include a box of some kind.

Newell is at CES in Las Vegas this week to meet with different companies about its hardware plans, and has come with a number of prototypes in tow.

“We think that there are pluses and minuses to open systems that could make things a little messier, it’s much more like herding cats, so we try to take the pieces where we’re going to add the best value and then encourage other people to do it,” said Newell. “So it tends to mean that a lot of people get involved. We’re not imposing a lot of restrictions on people on how they’re getting involved.”

This explains the Xi3 announcement. Xi3 will not be the last piece of hardware to have Steam support, but it’s also not the mythical Steam Box that we’ve been expecting Valve to produce itself.

That box does exist.

“We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves,” he said. “That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have.”

The company is also experimenting with low-latency controller solutions, and some designs include a touch screen. It’s possible a controller could incorporate biometric data, as well. Valve's not sure if motion control has much more to it, either. All of Newell’s answers suggest there is significant experimentation happening at Valve, and it hasn’t nailed down specifics. How many companies can be this specific and vague at the same time and get away with it?

It’s worth reading the whole interview, by the way. Hopefully, we’ll have even more details soon. Exciting!

Posted by headtrip

neat

Posted by MooseHead

Episode 2 was shipped in the Orange Box. Maybe Episode 3 shipped with the Steam box?

Posted by mlarrabee

Mr. Newell looks a lot different with a beard.

Posted by themangalist

how much of it functions like a PC though? Can I say, install Photoshop on it? Get mods for my games on the internet via a browser app on the Steam box? Still need to wait for them to reveal how everything is going to work. Right now being able to run a dozen of indie games and Valve products on a Linux-based "computer" just doesn't cut it for me.

Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY

Xi3????

HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED

Edited by BestUsernameEver

Strange how against windows 8 he is, but the box plans seem cool.

Here's my concern though, when asked about a netflix app being available on the box, he said "Absolutely, you can open a web browser and do whatever you want." What if I don't want to fiddle with a web browser on a TV though? Isn't this box supposed to be a TV solution first and foremost? Also, the details about you being able to install windows if you like just make is sound like a tiny, steam branded PC, I don't want a tiny PC, I want a well made, fast console.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@mlarrabee said:

Mr. Newell looks a lot different with a beard.

He usually has a beard in the crunch stages of a game, HL3?

Posted by Gerhabio

Not as much info as I'd like

Posted by HedinnWeis

TAKE THAT, ARTHUR GIES!

Posted by FLStyle

I hope this new Box will help shake things up a bit for the better.

Posted by Turambar

Man...he looks old.

Posted by mnzy

That interview is all over the place, he talked about everything and said nothing.

Posted by BestUsernameEver

@Gerhabio said:

Not as much info as I'd like

It's a lot more than not saying anything, this at least confirms Valve is now in the hardware space.

Posted by Ben_H

He looks way better with a beard. 
 
Also, it is good that they are going hard on supporting Linux (they will have to if this box is to be Linux based). Maybe I can finally get rid of the steaming pile of poo that is Windows once and for all. If it weren't for games I would already be fully moved to Linux and Mac OS.

Posted by Winternet

I am basically just waiting for Valve to come to my house and tell me how to live my life. I am ready and I have my black Adidas Mr. Newell. We can begin.

Edited by big_jon

seems to have been wrong?

Posted by falling_fast

I like him better with the beard. hope he keeps it

Posted by l3illyl3ob

An interesting part of that article is the bit on stores. In the future, people may be able to create their own stores on Steam and tie into the Steam API. Craziness.

Posted by Subjugation

@patrickklepek said:

The company is also experimenting with low-latency controller solutions

Sweeeeeet!

and some designs include a touch screen.

.... nooooooooo!

Posted by PrintedCrayon

Exciting times at Valve. Great to see Gabe open up more about their future plans too, that's a rarity - maybe they're gearing up for a reveal of their own? Regardless, I hope the "Steam Box" or whatever it ends up being called is highly customisable. The Xi3 stuff seems expensive and no doubt the on board graphics will be outdated before long. Not that it's a major issue but just to have the ability to do that would maybe make me consider a purchase depending on the price of course.

Posted by ProfessorEss

I can't even read the article. I... I can't take my eyes off the beard...

He's Videogame Santa Claus.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

Meh, not really what I want from PC gaming. I have my PC hooked up to my TV.

Posted by LikeaSsur

Year of the beard?

Posted by bybeach

Looks better with a beard. Might trim it for just the jawline, As for a steam box, I personally do not see a need at the moment, like building my own PC's Boy did I overspend on this one, but at least I learned.

Posted by IzzyGraze

Now where is Half-life 3? But seriously. I am really excited and I'm not even really a new hardware guy.

Posted by vaportra1l

GABEN WILL SAVE US

Posted by BestUsernameEver

@IzzyGraze said:

Now where is Half-life 3? But seriously. I am really excited and I'm not even really a new hardware guy.

With the announcement of this, I can imagine HL3 is a launch title for the box.

Edited by Skyfire543

Xi3 is actually Half-Life 3.

You heard it here first.

Posted by WasabiCurry

@BestUsernameEver: That would be a system seller.

Posted by Ronald

I have a feeling the box with be Linux based because Linux is free and it's an easy way of keeping the price of the box down. You want to play Windows games on this thing? Fine, you pay for Windows. Still, it will be interesting to see where this will go.

Posted by Rattle618

My biggest dream regarding gaming is now starting to become possible, please Gabe move this along so I can get rid of fucking Windows forever, no more dual-booting!

Posted by UberExplodey

Half-Life 3DS.

Posted by Hunter5024

I feel like 2012 would have been the year to release it, and I can't see it being all that successful now.

Posted by BestUsernameEver

@WasabiCurry said:

@BestUsernameEver: That would be a system seller.

Most definitely, and with me, I like PC gaming, but don't like tinkering with the system, and prefer a leanback experience, so even though I do have a gaming computer, I'd prefer the steambox copy of HL3. I assume there are more people like that to make it a viable market. It'd be really nice if you can share your purchases between your existing PC steam account and the steambox library.

Posted by dancingpolkabear

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

@mlarrabee said:

Mr. Newell looks a lot different with a beard.

He usually has a beard in the crunch stages of a game, HL3?

I wish but probably Dota 2

Posted by ThePantheon

So.. what are you not sure about how to feel with this? Gaben is continuing his open, and easily personable entry plans for the PC and expanding it even further.

Posted by crusader8463

I play PC games because I hate playing with controllers and prefer the Mouse and Keyboard, so this has zero appeal to me. I really hope if this takes off that it doesn't just mean devs will become even lazier when it comes to making sure a games UI and controls take advantage of what you can do with a MKB and don't just use this thing as an excuse to not bother.

Posted by Video_Game_King

...Is Gabe Newell slowly morphing into Robin Williams?

Posted by WasabiCurry

@BestUsernameEver: I have been very much a tech enthusiast ever since my girlfriend got me into learning about building my own PC. Nevertheless! It has been so exciting these past two days by having more information about the Steam Box and the Nvidia Shield handheld. I would have never guessed that Gabe would put out that much information.

Just makes 2013 more exciting to see! I really do hope that Half-Life 3 will be a launch title or if I may go off the deep end; be bundled with the Steam Box. Quite the incentive if you asked me to get it.

Posted by Ryanmgraef

I want the happiness a steam box would provide right now!

Posted by DeF

@Subjugation said:

@patrickklepek said:

The company is also experimenting with low-latency controller solutions

Sweeeeeet!

and some designs include a touch screen.

.... nooooooooo!

Optional touch interface is awesome.

Posted by villainy

@Video_Game_King said:

...Is Gabe Newell slowly morphing into Robin Williams?

I was thinking Richard Stallman... Much much scarier.

Posted by Sanity

Neat, but i think i'll keep building my own.

Posted by Iodine

Valve can do whatever they want at this point

Posted by JEC03

Doesn't appeal to me I'm in the very few that prefers playing close up to a monitor then far away to a TV I find being closer makes gaming to me at least feel more immersive also I prefer M&K to a controller.If I was going PC game on a big screen I probably would go with a HD projector and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Posted by mr_shoeless

He wasn't so revealing before the beard

Posted by kycinematic
Posted by Beforet

So, how does this differ from me turning my PC into its own Steam Box? Hooking it up to the TV and whatnot.

What I find much more interesting is the Linux side of this. If this results in more developers developing for Linux, I might just make the switch.

Posted by TooWalrus

I'm definitely interested in a "Steam Box." In my head, it's a cheap, durable media box that can play most of the games I've already bought on steam (probably on low settings) in a different room or lug to a friends house. It's gotta have a handle on it...

What I'm saying is, just hollow out a GameCube and stick some PC parts in it.

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