Valve may get into the hardware business someday, but not anytime soon according to Doug Lombardi. The company marketing director was responding to rumors of the Steam Box, which rumors suggested could be unveiled later this year. It was said to be a custom-made piece of hardware that Valve would sell to run the Steam interface, but Lombardi dismisses the reports.
So if the Steam Box isn't real, where did all the rumors come from?
"We're prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we're building boxes to test that on," Lombardi told Kotaku. "We're also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we've talked about a fair amount. All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware."
Lombardi also mentioned that Valve's Greg Coomer, who built a PC last fall that matched the supposed Steam Box specs, is part of the team working on the Big Picture mode. "We're always putting boxes together," Lombardi said. "Going all the way back to the Half-Life 1 days, we built special boxes to test our software render... it's just part of development."
Though the Valve exec was hesitant to claim that the company would never build a console, he agreed when the question was posed as "nothing coming soon, nothing at GDC or E3," but "maybe some day Valve would make hardware."
That seems to shut the book on the Steam Box rumors, at least to the extent that we'll be surprised if we see anything of the sort showing up this year at E3. If Valve ever does decide it wants to get into the hardware business, though, Forbes claims it has the capital to back it up.