Valve denies Steam Box rumors

Valve's Doug Lombardi has denied rumors that the company is working on consumer hardware, claiming that the "Steam Box" rumors were sparked by boxes built to test the Big Picture mode.

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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.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 8, 2012 5:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Valve denies Steam Box rumors.

    Valve's Doug Lombardi has denied rumors that the company is working on consumer hardware, claiming that the "Steam Box" rumors were sparked by boxes built to test the Big Picture mode.

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      March 8, 2012 5:19 PM

      this is a sad day indeed

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      March 8, 2012 5:20 PM

      Bull shit. I wanted a box with steam on it....and half life 3 as a launch title.

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      March 8, 2012 5:21 PM

      I like to build my PC's for PC games. If I could build a Console I would too.

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        March 8, 2012 9:42 PM

        It would be nice if a case allowed for this. The other thing to solve would be the motherboard and video card orientation. In order to get a slim chassis the video card would preferably want to be parallel to the motherboard. Something like a 90 degree offset riser to the PCI slot could help with this, as well as enough clearance to allow for this as well as the CPU, etc.

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      March 8, 2012 5:22 PM

      [deleted]

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      March 8, 2012 5:26 PM

      I've also heard a rumor that when The Steam Box does come out, it will be water cooled!

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      March 8, 2012 5:47 PM

      haha

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      March 8, 2012 5:48 PM

      [deleted]

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      March 8, 2012 6:07 PM

      The OS was the part I couldn't figure out. I don't see how a system like that could work without replacing windows and I don't see how that's possible from a technical standpoint.

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        March 8, 2012 9:26 PM

        Yeah and having windows on there would cannibalize X-Box sales to a certain extent so Microsoft wouldn't be that hyped to do that.

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      March 8, 2012 6:11 PM

      [deleted]

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      March 8, 2012 7:16 PM

      Noooooo...yeah disappointed.

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      March 8, 2012 8:02 PM

      The only way Valve could bring a truly successful pc-like console is if it wasn't shackled with a microsoft operating system. I'm not saying Windows 7 or 8 is bad by any means, but Valve would be entirely dependent on Microsoft for OS and directx support, all while Microsoft would have their own console along side competing.

      For Valve to make their own console, they would either have go with an open source OS or create a version of steam that is it's own operating system. Also, a huge factor that would bring about it's success would for the Valve console to have the ability to stream any game a person already owns through steam, but is not available to play on the local hardware due to the different OS.

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        March 8, 2012 9:38 PM

        "For Valve to make their own console, they would either have go with an open source OS or create a version of steam that is it's own operating system."

        Why?

        Why can't they just release a PC that would fit in the home theater along with the consoles? Why does the underlying OS matter? Steam is a distribution system for Windows and Mac games, so a Steam "console" would basically just be a Windows PC.

        An OnLive type thing could be interesting, but cloud gaming is such an unknown right now. People who play PC games already have PCs, and those who don't want to spend on the hardware just play on consoles anyway.

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          March 8, 2012 9:40 PM

          People who play PC games already have PCs, and those who don't want to spend on the hardware just play on consoles anyway.

          this is why i think a steam box would have failed. i love steam, and PC games, and consoles too! but i don't see where it would fit in the ecosystem. they would sell some, for sure, but mostly to folks who already had powerful gaming PCs on which to play Valve and other PC-centric games. and console gamers won't want a steam-only system - they want to be able to play the console titles and most big-name steam games come to console anyway.

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            March 8, 2012 9:45 PM

            I do like the patents showing the controller they designed. MadCatz already sells something like this with the interchangeable parts (I wonder if Valve is going to sue or ask for license fees), but the trackball for aiming is something completely unique. I'd totally get one.

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            March 8, 2012 9:53 PM

            In theory, it would be a stepping stone for a lot a console players into the world of PC gaming in addition to an easy to setup living room PC box for those that want that. There's still a good chunk of console only gamers out there that Valve would like to get on board their train too.

            Most avid PC gamers probably wouldn't care for the specs of what most likely would be an entry level machine that's made to be affordable and unintimidating. They'd be building or buying exactly what they want as usual.

            As it is now, I don't see it ever happening, but I do think that could controller could come out along side that Big Picture Mode, and they may partner up with some 3rd party PC builders for special "Steam approved" machines that come with said controller.

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              March 8, 2012 9:54 PM

              i can't see console-only gamers caring about the steam box. their killer apps (halo, modern warfare, madden, japanese console titles) aren't really affected by better hardware.

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                March 8, 2012 10:04 PM

                Well obviously they would have to make them care. Be it selling the benefits of an open platform versus the closed ones they are used to, their prices of their games, frequent sales, and the disc free online delivery method, increased fidelity in the gap where the next generation of consoles don't even exist, access to games that don't work well or really exist on the console at all like MMOs, RTS, Simulations, F2P, etc.

                Whether it would fail or not sort of depends on how much they put into it. All theoretical anyway and I honestly believe it will never exist so any discussion is pointless.

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              March 8, 2012 9:57 PM

              Yeah, the big picture mode and controller are what I'm interested in

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      March 8, 2012 9:08 PM

      [deleted]

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      March 8, 2012 9:09 PM

      what a shock...to no one who follows console and PC gaming

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      March 8, 2012 9:35 PM

      Preorder Canceled!!!

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      March 8, 2012 9:58 PM

      SELLING ALL MY VALVE STOCK!!!!

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      March 9, 2012 7:05 AM

      Halflife 3! Where is Halflife 3? That is all that matters. Get it out and done. I want my story finished.

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      March 9, 2012 7:18 AM

      Called it, bitches.

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      March 9, 2012 7:48 AM

      God damn it - Pre-order CANCELLED

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      March 9, 2012 8:14 AM

      Well that sucks.

      Valve/Steam is in a fantastic position to try this. If it "fails" then whatever, carry on with the Steam mac/pc client and no one is affected.

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