The "Big Three" console makers may soon be joined by a fourth. A Verge report citing unspecified sources and rumors states that Valve Software wants to break into the TV set-top console market with a "Steam Box" system of its own.
In keeping with Valve cofounder Gabe Newell's statement last month that the company doesn't want to get into the hardware market (but will if it has to), the Steam Box is said to operate more like a platform along the lines of Google's Android operating system or the 3DO. In theory, Valve would set hardware specifications and create the system software, but multiple partners (Alienware is one rumored name mentioned in the report) would be able to create their own Steam Box devices.
The baseline specs reportedly tout a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GPU. And in addition to running PC games through Valve's Steam storefront, the boxes would be able to run services of rival digital distributors, like EA's Origin service.
Verge also pointed to a Valve patent from last year as being related to the Steam Box. Specifically, the report says the Steam Box is slated to come with a USB controller that allows users to swap out different components to suit their tastes or different game types. Another possible feature of the controller is biometric readings that would allow games to change in real time based on a user's heart rate.
As for when the Steam Box could be unveiled, next week's GDC and the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June are given as two potential public debuts for the system. A Valve representative had not returned GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.