PC gaming giant: Valve is attempting to evolve the PC gaming industry by developing a new product called the Steam Box which is intended to harmonize traditional PC and console gaming into one product.
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Valve co-founder Gabe Newell announced that although the Piston, which is a joint project developed by Valve and Xi3, is showing off prototypes, Valve still plans to release their own product which will run on Linux but will also support a Windows installation or any other x86 based operating system.
“ We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, and 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.”
The project is meant to place steam in the centre of household gaming by creating a PC/console hybrid. Newell also explains that the Steam box will also act as a sort of mini-server that will run up to 8 games on 8 different monitors or televisions with 8 different controllers on one GPU simultaneously. This means that you’ll be able to wirelessly link every screen in your home to one box at the same time, allowing friends and families to engage in LAN parties or play their own separate games all through the use of just a single console.
Another way the Steam Box harmonizes PC and Console is through upgrades. Conventionally with consoles it takes about 6 years or so for new technology to be released at which point consumers purchase the new product. To this end, the Steam box will share a PC’s flexibility and ability to be modularized and upgraded. Consumers will be able to purchase new boards and other components to increase speed and performance as soon as the technology becomes available.
So far Valve hasn’t set any release date for the Steam box nor are there any major releases scheduled for 2013 but in the meantime Xi3 continues to feature prototypes for their Piston system.