Gabe Newell discusses Valve's Steam Box intentions

Valve's own Steam Box will be based on Linux; company also looking into creating its own low-latency controller with biometric feedback.

Valve CEO Gabe Newell has shed some light on Valve's own plans towards the much-anticipated Steam Box, confirming that the beloved publisher intends to make its own device, but that third-party vendors will also be invited to create their own Steam-capable hardware.

In an interview with The Verge, Newell confirmed Valve's intentions to use Linux on its own machine but that users would be freely able to install a different OS, such as Microsoft's Windows, if they wish. "We'll come out with our own and we'll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That'll be a Linux box," Newell said. "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."

Newell also spoke of Valve's plans to create low-latency controllers with biometric input, and that Valve's eventual device--which has the current codename of "Bigfoot" inside Valve--will function as a home server that can broadcast to multiple displays.

"The Steam Box will also be a server," said Newell. "Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaneous game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors - now we’re saying let's expand that a little bit."

Following on from hardware manufacturer Xi3's announcement of its own Steam-friendly hardware, Newell spoke of how Valve has its own three-tier approach to how it sees itself and other hardware companies integrating various aspects of the Steam platform. According to Newell, Valve sees the types of hardware as "'Good', 'Better,' or 'Best'."

"So, Good are like these very low-cost streaming solutions that you’re going to see that are using Miracast or [Nvidia's] Grid. I think we’re talking about in-home solutions where you’ve got low latency. 'Better' is to have a dedicated CPU and GPU and that’s the one that’s going to be controlled. Not because our goal is to control it; it’s been surprisingly difficult when we say to people 'don’t put an optical media drive in there' and they put an optical media drive in there and you’re like 'that makes it hotter, that makes it more expensive, and it makes the box bigger.' Go ahead. You can always sell the Best box, and those are just whatever those guys want to manufacture."

And Valve's position on all this, according to Newell? "Let's build a thing that’s quiet and focuses on high performance and quiet and appropriate form factors."

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103 comments
MajinSquall
MajinSquall

i want one release it already STOP TEASING US!

andrew_ribbons
andrew_ribbons

I've been trying out Linux Steam.  I have to say, Steam Linux is really not all up to much.   Getting it installed is a bit of a chore, Ubuntu tossing up hippy complaints about AMD's graphics drivers not being open-source.  I went through several issues regarding drivers, then got faced with Ubuntu crashes.  Getting my mouse working was interesting too.

Once on Steam however:  It's slow, it's still very very buggy, it's got virtually no games released recently for it.  None of the Valve games apart from TF2 are on there, the ones i wanted to see, and to make matters worse you're teased on the Store about all these wonderful new releases....literally none of which you can play.  To have this and only this on your home PC, now and into the forseeable future, would be utter misery. 

Windows, all is forgiven, i'm coming back onto your partition now.

starduke
starduke

Interesting.

 Hmm, now they should make a version of steam box that's ready for recording and streaming game footage right out of the box. That would be awesome for me and my fellow youtubers.

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW it's so cute!!! 999.99 cute! 

tgwolf
tgwolf

...Well I suppose it can't be helped because no one has bothered to rival Linux with a better OS option...

SolidTy
SolidTy

I have four gaming PCs, and I don't have any need for a steam box as I have it installed on the four PCs, but to each their own.

deviant74
deviant74

There has to be away where you pay $20 a month And that gives you 1 free streaming rental of movies that just came out on BR DVD.  If you don't use the free rental in 3 month then you lose it.

buccomatic
buccomatic

"The Steam Box will also be a server," said Newell. "Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simultaneous game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors - now we’re saying let's expand that a little bit."


so i'm guessing the gpu is an nvidia 660ti or higher


if that's the case then it's going to be more powerful than the new xbox.

oflow
oflow

my only question is how will this box run high end graphics games? its got an integrated graphics card in the mobo doesnt it? or is it using something like a mobile gtx 670?


Jebril
Jebril

I know a lot of people may not realize this but this Piston thing has been confirmed at 20 to 40 Watts of Usage that's insane compared to your typical hardware like a low-end computer taking 300 to 400 Watts of power. I'm really excited for something like this, it could potentially just replace computers for a lot of people.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

It all hangs on the price and how many games will play on Linux (windows 8 sucks -I know, I've used it).

fieryermine
fieryermine

Am I wrong in thinking that most games on Steam are not Linux-compatible? Can this thing actually play most Steam games? Also, without a graphics accelerator, most modern games won't play very well either.

 I realize I may be wrong about Linux capability, so please correct me if I am.

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

valve is trying to move away from microsoft by going with linux smart move as it might motivate more devs to develop for the OS and linux is mostly free also it will save people from copping with microsoft B.S

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

Way to go Valve. built from the ground up for Steam, games. This looks like it will be big. I am sure they will get developers to switch to Linux or help code for the thing but with handheld gaming on Android I am sure this will be compatible or something,

leeko_link
leeko_link

Looks like a bigger brother to the Ouya.

Kaobasa
Kaobasa

A lot of people are quick to trash this whole idea.  To me it sounds really great.  At least for one reason in particular.  Getting LANs together sounds a lot more practical.  Since these things are so small and use up way less power that's really nice.   If you travel a lot the the compact size of this thing is also great.

Could you build something like this on your own?  I am sure you could, assuming you had the knowledge or even such an interest in electronics.  Some people just want to play PC games without all the hassle that is known to come with them and there is nothing wrong with that.  And that's kind of what a lot of this is really.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

As much as I like Valve/Steam for cheap games they are helping kill the gaming industry as they are one of the online services that slashes prices on games for digital download way too soon.  I am shocked that we continue to see so many games put on their service.  Yes I like things to be affordable but on Steam at times they get ridiculously affordable.


As for this console of theirs well at least it will be upgradeable but I think it will be priced beyond anything I want to pay but eventually I may have to get it as Half Life 3 may just be exclusive to it.

buccomatic
buccomatic

i don't like the idea of "biometric controller."


i might end up skipping this altogether over that one thing - to intrusive.

kawaiiflonne
kawaiiflonne

@buccomatic The Nvidia 660 Ti is a amazing Graphics card it is the one, I am running and I agree with you.

sephsplace
sephsplace

@oflow  

 The design will be modular (upgradable). so no, the gpu wont be integrated, it's not a laptop, it's a more a compact desktop

sephsplace
sephsplace

@Jebril  

 the 20-40 watt of power consumption is the thing that worries me about its performance...

sephsplace
sephsplace

@GamerMani 

.... it will have won the nextgen console race imo.... as it is a pc, and pc will always win the race, longest gaming platform going.

i think most users of steambox should duel boot, or will do over time, cause there will be some games that wont run on steam (bf3 for example) but I guess if steam is a success, origin will be soon to copy, I mean follow :)

mosterslayer22
mosterslayer22

@fieryermine Don't forget that if you want to run windows on it instead, you can. [Newell said. "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."]

LtReviews
LtReviews

@fieryermine  

 Linux is capable of playing any game released on any other OS, it is a matter of the devs willingness to port the game and make the proper compatibility changes.

 I'm not entirely sure how it would do graphically, but i'm guessing since the system is built from the ground up just to play games, it probably gets more power than identical hardware on traditional pc's, because it devotes all resources to gaming, rather than caching them away for other purposes.

It would likely run on a heavily modified Linux distro meant to play games- and therefore heavily optimized for games. Most OS are made to do many different things, not specialize in one, creating some performance comprimises.

geezerdaman
geezerdaman

@leeko_link 

Sort of but not really. This will be a fully functioning PC while the Ouya will be running Android. But that;s good as they will be bringing 2 different markets to your HD TV.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

@DeViLzzz well since you are cutting down on distribution/manufacturing cost through digital shouldn't the prices be lower?

96augment
96augment

@DeViLzzz "Kill the gaming industry"? A little bit dramatic, don't you think?

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

@DeViLzzz 

Yes Steam do do some very big discounts on games, but only when they think all business has dried up at the previous price.  They don't just slap a 75% off sticker on a new game - it drops in stages.  One sale will be 25% off, the next 33%, then 50%, 66%, with each stage drawing in more customers who didn't take it at a higher price.

Indie games do jump in with larger sales straight away, but in the majority of cases this is to get some intereste and recognition of the game - to make it stand out and get people to notice it.  That then builds word of mouth amongst gaming communities like here and promotes more people to buy the game.

The Steam Xmas sale that has just finished was widely regarded as being very poor for what it offered - not many big discounts on big name titles from the last 3-4 months, and repeatedly offering the same things in the flash sales.

Meanwhile Ubisoft has been withholding games like Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed from Steam, and EA has been holding back some of its games to only be on Origin.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@DeViLzzz This may not stop piracy but lower prices can get people to TRY a game they would not normally buy. If the price is right I will get one in the future. Consoles may have a tough competitor in the coming years.  

JoSilver
JoSilver

@DeViLzzz Publishers are the ones who regulate the prices of their games or at least I can only assume so. Most game while under sale make more money then when they are not and there are many games whose price hasn't budged a cent. This whole thing of steam sales devaluing games is a really stupid argument. Especially when there are people who pirate game. Anything is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.

slave1_basic
slave1_basic

@DeViLzzz Just looking at Steam right now and Skyrim is still, a year later, 60$. And it didn't go down that much during the holiday sale. Oh, and that's just one example

nu1mlock
nu1mlock

@DeViLzzz There will always be people who purchase games right when they are released (or have them pre-ordered).

I'd say, having sales "early" doesn't do anything except letting people who would otherwise wait months and months to actually purchase the game sooner. 

LtReviews
LtReviews

@buccomatic  

What in the hell are you doing with your hands on the controller that you don't want Valve to know?

mosterslayer22
mosterslayer22

@GamerMani @buccomatic If you're going to bash something, at least give a few reasons why you think that. I think it's going to be great, I can play my multiplayer steam games with friends on a big screen TV without having to set up my PC to the TV.

buccomatic
buccomatic

@kawaiiflonne @buccomatic hey. i'm building a pc right now and am thinking about getting a 660ti or (taking the plunge) and get a gtx 680.


are you running your 660ti at 1080p resolution? if so what games are you running? and do the frames dip below 60 with everything maxed out on ultra at 1080p?


would really appreciate some suggestions on a video card! looking at the msi 660ti oc

oflow
oflow

@sephsplace @oflow the guy in the video said its got an intergrated gpu.  Also, a friend of mine works in the industry and says he has one of these for testing and the integrated card isnt that great. (its like nvidia 280 range)

Jebril
Jebril

@sephsplace @Jebril I guess we'll have to wait and see what the specs are, there's no way they're going to release something that can't play every Steam game out there right now on max settings. I'd be willing to bet it'll be very impressive.

LtReviews
LtReviews

@geezerdaman  

Leeko is actually kinda right on.

 Android is actually a Linux distro. Just like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, and GNU are all different, but they are still all Linux distros.

 Android is just a Linux distro designed to work well on mobile devices- it doesn't mean Android isn't a "fully-functioning PC", it just means Android is a Linux distro designed with a specific goal in mind.

 

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

@buccomatic @kawaiiflonne I'm running a regular 660 at 1080p resolution and its amazing.  The only recently released game Ive been playing is Natural Selection 2, I average around 60-80 fps in 1920x1080 resolution with everything maxed out.  CS:GO I'm getting around 150 fps on 1080 resolution.  My fps might dip under 60 a few times but for the most part stays above 60 at everything maxed out.

Get a 660 from EVGA, their FTW class gpus are excellent in performance.  MSI is a great company, my mobo is from MSI, but EVGA wipes the floor with Nvidia gpus.

oflow
oflow

@sephsplace i mean even if it is modular, the gpu companies dont make mini gpus currently.  My gpu is friggingg huge its 2-3 times the size of this thing lengthwise.

LtReviews
LtReviews

@GamerMani 
 You're delusional to think that these titles are PC exclusive because the publisher has some special affinity to PC. It's because PC currently has a larger market share, and Linux does not have as large a gaming population.


A linux gaming platform would obviously grow the customer base for games on the platform, and it would be ridiculous to think that titles won't be ported to the platform in response.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

@buccomatic

Compare it to the sales from 2010 and 2011, and then read the comments in the Steam sales thread in the PC Games forum.