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Valve Is Not Making a Steam Console, At Least Not Any Time Soon

Valve PR pointman Doug Lombardi shoots down earlier rumors of Valve's plans to get into the console business.

Rumors have been kicking around for the last few days about the possibility of Valve taking its currently computer-only Steam service to consoles--specifically, a console of their own. The original report, which came via tech site The Verge, cited various anonymous sources as it spun out the possibility of Valve contracting an outside hardware maker to essentially make a Steam set-top box for home televisions. The device would be less a traditional console than a way for Steam users to browse the Steam service and play their purchased games on the television, should they feel so inclined.

There really aren't any good images to attach to this, so here's Gabe Newell's bitchin' beard again.

Well, forget about any of that, because apparently it's all lies. Sort of.

Speaking to Kotaku's Stephen Totillo at GDC, Valve's longtime mouthpiece Doug Lombardi put the kibosh on the notion of Valve getting into the console business any time in the foreseeable future, explaining that yes, Valve has been contracting some new hardware from partners, but solely for the purposes of testing the upcoming Steam Big Picture Mode UI system, a new interface designed to let players more easily hook their PCs up to their televisions and play their various Steam games.

"All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware," he said.

Most of the console-centric news seemed focused especially on controller patents and various things related to biometrics, something that Valve has said before that it likes to use when playtesting certain games. Lombardi confirmed that these are all things Valve has worked on in various capacities, including in conjunction with the upcoming Big Picture UI, but that it has nothing to do with a new console that's coming down the pipes from the company.

Of course, ever the talented PR man, Lombardi didn't shut the door on the company ever developing something like what was reported in the Verge story. When asked by Totillo if maybe someday, long beyond this GDC or this year's E3 or whatever other near-future landmarks one might use to announce a new console, Valve maybe, just maybe, might actually decide to produce retail hardware, Lombardi simply replied, "I think that's accurate."

Guys? I'm actually a little confused on this one. Is this a happy ending or a sad ending? I suppose if nothing else, it is an ending, and perhaps that's enough.

Alex Navarro on Google+
112 Comments
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Posted by crusader8463

Thank the gods! Steam and digital distribution is the future. Why would they waste millions going backwards?

Posted by radioactivez0r

Wait, are you saying that the story with zero quoted sources and a whole lot of "a dude told us" speculation was, in fact, total bullshit? Like I posted everywhere I could, including The Verge site? NO WAY. I feel like nobody really gave them enough crap for how poorly that story was put together.

Posted by Mr_Lenin

A man can dream, a man can dream...

Posted by KaneRobot

Fuck Steam and digital distribution in all its forms. I like to own my games, not own a "license to play them."

. We need fewer consoles, not more.

Posted by tourgen

THE REAL STORY IS BIG PICTURE MODE IS COMING!!!!

That is that last piece of the puzzle to make my PC into a console. Which also of course has all the other online features I want without crippled interfaces or a monthly charge.

Posted by BestUsernameEver

This leans more towards good news. I can't imagine the sense in making a steam box when the PC is so successful for them. Plus, it would just complicate everything for Steam customers in the sense of possible fragmentation. Who knows.

Posted by Hef

This is a million times more exciting than a console. I'm sure WIll Smith and Gary Whitta agree

Posted by mnzy
@blacklab said:

Good, it doesn't make any sense. Consoles are a loss leader which enable the real revenue on the software side. Valve already sells a metric fuckton of software and to all appearances that's not going to change anytime soon.. Why sink capital into hardware? Makes no sense.

A partnership with a console that'll come out anyway on the other hand would be really interesting for them. And for me.
Posted by UltimAXE

I wasn't following the Steam box rumors outside of simply reading headlines, but it seemed like a pointless piece of hardware to put out. You can't upgrade that like you can a PC, so it would become outdated. Or, is it some kind of streaming thing like On Live? My PC happens to be right next to my HDTV due to me living in a one room studio, so connecting the two for gaming purposes is as simple as sticking a cord between them, making a box to simplify that rather useless (although, I recognize that a convenient furniture/living configuration like mine is not any kind of standard).
 
So, yeah. What would be the point of this thing?

Posted by goatmilk

I had a feeling it'd be something like that. Making a console would be insanely difficult.

Posted by fisk0

@KaneRobot said:

Fuck Steam and digital distribution in all its forms. I like to own my games, not own a "license to play them."

. We need fewer consoles, not more.

GOG games are yours to do what you want with, and they are distributed digitally, on the flip side, the majority of all physically released games also just give you the license to play them for as long as they care to keep their tages/origin/ubi/securom authentication servers up.

Posted by zombiepenguin9

I can't really see any real advantages to Valve developing a console. I mean, real advantages.

Edited by Kosayn

A Steam console could be great - if it pushed the other console makers to be more progressive about which games they authorize and import. It could be great if it pushed the hardware and customization standards of consoles to what PC gaming already enjoys.

But it could also fail miserably. Steam are big, but are they visionary enough to make mouse and keyboard work on a couch? Would they make a machine as customizable as a Windows box? Or would they mostly follow what other console makers have done? Keep in mind that Microsoft has already gone down that path, and the results speak for themselves.

Their focus on controller stuff is good news, anyway. Anything would be better than that 360 D-pad.

Posted by AhmadMetallic

Valve keeping their entire focus on giving me personal computer pleasure? I like.

Posted by ChernobylCow

Even though the steambox may not be real. I still need to build one for my living room. Having a pc in the room that the cats shit/piss in isn't going to fly for much longer.

Posted by HadesTimes

Glad to have atleast some what of an answer. It would have made my year if it were true.

Posted by Deusoma
@Kosayn said:

Their focus on controller stuff is good news, anyway. Anything would be better than that 360 D-pad.

You forgot "Except motion controls". Fate is a fickle bitch, and she has a rather cruel sense of irony, so please avoid tempting her.
Posted by selbie

Gabe and Tim Schafer are starting to look eerily similar. Beard is legion.

Posted by scarace360

no shit

Posted by lockwoodx

Edited by HerbieBug

They totally should though.  Take over the video game world.  Goodness and love for one and all and you and me.  <3

Posted by scottygrayskull

Maybe monkeys with a bitchin' beard might fly out of my butt.

Good to know that, Verge is indeed doing the "quality" journalism I expected from it.

Posted by buckybit

Verge should enjoy their ONE day of clickbait - cuz that's the last time they will get any attention for a long time. Fake news ain't NEWS!

*industry sources* (listen to the "8-4 Play" podcasts)

Posted by dream431ca

What the hell happened to Gabe?? He needs a day off, badly!

Posted by dagas

But, but I READ IT ON THE INTERNET! How can it not be true!?

Posted by WilltheMagicAsian

I'm sorry, that beard is far from bitchin'. I can grow a fuller beard than that.

Posted by Eyz

What??

Excuse me from missing the "internetz" on this one but did people actually believe that??

And they say people where more naive in the past, from the looks of it, it gets worse!

Posted by James_ex_machina

if Valve is not making a Steam Console are they making a Steam PC or sponsoring PC manufacturers to make Steam approved PC's? just asking

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

Why would they? They already get a cut of every game purchased on Steam. Thats the reason companys make consoles, the 10% of every game sold.

Posted by Ronald

Might be time to give Vox Games their own website, since this does nothing but hurt them by association.

Posted by pow1149

Hardly surprising.

Posted by Yownage

I think applying a console portion to the steam market would be kind of awful if it became the focus. PC games have a heritage of pushing technical boundaries to keep everything up to date. Steam being a major content provider for the PC market, I can't help but assume that if such a console were to take off PC games would then be gated by the system hardware, much as they are for console.

Done right it'd be fantastic, but it might be better to integrate Steam into existing platforms first (as impossible as that may be) just to see how this works out.

Posted by Ravenlight

Dat beard.

He's like a knife-wielding Santa Claus.

<3 gaben

Posted by Gamer_152

Cool to get some final word on this instead of it just being left hanging, but I wasn't expecting these rumours to be true anyway.

Moderator
Posted by mercury228

I do not see why they would not do it. I think it could be way better than an xbox or Playstation. They have the money to do it, but maybe they are partnering up with someone to make the next console. Oh well, I have a gaming pc so this is not that important to me. I think it would be cool though, and of course they are not going to come out and say they are making a console. They would wait for E3 anyway.

Posted by TheKraige

I wouldn't mind them making a console, as long as its' like Alienwares small laptop and is more of a cheap PC so that like Onlive I could still use the PC and get the same experience. I would hate to see them abandon the PC altogether in favour of their own Xbox or PlayStation. I would however love to see the modular Steam controller that they said about for PC.

Posted by Lunar_Aura

If Valve does ever make hardware, let's hope it's in the shape of that one guys head with the faucet on the noggin.

Posted by leebmx

3 pages of comments and not a single person bitching about HL3. I guess we really have all given up.....

Posted by sirdesmond

Lame. I was looking forward to the slew of interesting stuff that box would have created.

Posted by bennym6

YUP it was never coming out this soon anyway

Posted by MrKlorox

It's neither happy or sad. It's a realistic ending. Nobody should have expected a Valve console.

Posted by dcgc

A Valve console Steam-based? No, just no...

Posted by JuggaloAcidman

 
Valve should make Half Life 3 already... This is getting stupid! I don't care wiether they are making a consule or a hybrid monkey rhino.. As long as they atleast acknowledge that they haven't forgotten about the Half Life fans! They have all this time on they're hands to make yet another Counter Strike game that won't live up to expectations.... Yet have no time for Half Life, just saying.

Posted by BitterAlmond

Seems like they might have some ideas bouncing around the office, or perhaps some sort of very early work being done on something that could easily get the axe. Either way, it's still under wraps.

Posted by gsGaret

@JuggaloAcidman: I care about it, I am highly invested in the hybrid monkey rhino, if it doesn't pan out I'm completely and wholly boned.

Posted by Pacinamac

What's up with Gabe's Steve Jobs glasses?

Posted by shishkebab09

This is way better than Steam making a console. A controller-friendly UI sound totally kick ass! I don't want to buy a console and worry about the limitations it puts on games.

Posted by imooumoo

Then what exactly is Valve doing? Just rolling in more money towards.... Dota 2?

Posted by YukoAsho

There was no way in hell Steam was going to go to market with hardware, especially if said hardware supported other distribution channels such as Origin. It'd basically be what happened to the 3DO: The companies making the hardware didn't get royalties from software, so the machines were priced well beyond market tolerances. Valve, and anyone else signing up for this inane idea, would have been taken to the cleaners. Also, digital-only would have limited them to tech-savvy hardcore gamers in urban centers who probably already have bitchin' gaming PCs.

Posted by YukoAsho

@imooumoo said:

Then what exactly is Valve doing? Just rolling in more money towards.... Dota 2?

Portal 3. They're trollin' now.

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