Speculation that video game developer and distributor Valve could compete directly with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in the console stakes has been rife since March, when the corporation's MD Gabe Newell floated the possibility to Penny Arcade. The hardware has since been dubbed "Steam Box," after the digital distribution system Steam, pioneered by Valve. Speaking to Kotaku, Newell has now confirmed that Valve does indeed have a "Steam Box" in the works, though he did not refer to it by that name.
"If we have to sell hardware we will," Newell said in March. It appears that Valve is making good on that promise (or threat?), with Kotaku reporting that "according to Valve boss Gabe Newell, you'll be able to buy a living-room-friendly PC package next year."
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The dedicated PC would inevitably run Steam, a popular games (and software) distribution platform that allows PC gamers, and more recently Mac gamers, to download and manage blockbuster games old and new, as well as independent titles, to their computers. Gamers are able to access their games and save data over numerous computers.
According to the report, Valve is working hard to get Steam's support for Linux, an open source operating system, out of the Beta stage.
The Steam Box project is further buoyed by a "stronger than expected" public launch of its Big Picture mode, which lets users navigate Steam to buy, download and launch games on a big screen such as a living room TV, with a user interface optimized for a gamepad rather than a keyboard and mouse. Kotaku reports that Valve's next step is to get Big Picture mode up and running on the Linux version of Steam.
The reports all but confirm that Valve is looking to Linux as the operating system that will run on Linux, following intense criticism of Windows 8 from Newell. However, Newell did warn that prospective owners should expect a "very controlled environment," less open than a regular Linux PC with a Steam installation.
Kotaku also reports that Newell predicts that other companies will launch TV-optimized PCs in 2013 which could also run Steam. Gamers considering a console upgrade next year may be drawn the prospective of accessing their saved games on both their desktop PCs and their TV games consoles.