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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.
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+