Steam Box

The future of PC gaming: the living room

Cory Banks at

If anyone can direct and dictate the course of PC gaming for the next 10 years, it’s Valve. The creators of Steam—and a little game called Half-Life—have already changed how we get our games, and the prices we’re willing to pay for them. Now the company is going one step further, with an initiative that will expand where PC games are played.

It’s a plan comprised of three parts: SteamOS, the open-source operating system compiled by Valve and running on the Linux kernel; Steam Machines, PCs that are custom-built for living in an entertainment center; and Steam Controller, Valve’s solution to the input issues that have made living room computing, at best, an uncomfortable compromise. The message, according to Valve, is simple: “You want to bring your Steam library onto your sofa, and we’re building the best way for you to do that.”

Valve invites game devs to discuss and test Steam products

Perry Vandell at

Valve has announced a two-day game developer’s conference in Seattle called “Steam Dev Days” that will allow game creators from around the globe to speak in roundtable discussions, attend industry lectures, and test out SteamOS, the Steam Controller, and an assortment of Steam machines.

PC Gamer Podcast #364 - Doogie Don't Care

PC Gamer at

Valve has revealed the specs for the Steam Machines prototypes. Evan, Tyler, Cory, and T.J. weigh in on the implications. Plus: Mongols racing F1 cars, gobbleshaft transplants, the Battlefield 4 beta, and callbacks to the bizarre world of early '90s television.

Xi3 Piston Console launches November 29 in US

Perry Vandell at

Coming hot off the recent Valve living room news, Xi3 has announced that its modular gaming PC, the Piston, will be available for $999 in the US on the darkest day of deals—Black Friday.

Valve announces Steam Machines, coming in 2014 from multiple hardware manufacturers

PC Gamer at

On Monday, Valve announced SteamOS, a free Linux-based OS for living room gaming PCs. Today, it revealed part two of its plan to expand PC gaming beyond the desktop: Steam Machines. Beginning next year, multiple SteamOS systems will be available from different, unnamed manufacturers. “There will ultimately be several boxes to choose from, with an array of specifications, price, and performance,” says the Steam Machines announcement page.

Three big Valve announcements coming next week, probably a Linux-based Steam Box

Tyler Wilde at

Valve has posted a new teaser site which declares that "the Steam universe is expanding in 2014." Three symbols tease three announcements in Valve's typically-cryptic fashion, with the first coming 71 hours from the time of this article's writing, also known as "Monday morning."

Rumor: Leaked Valve project tracker shows Half-Life 3, Left 4 Dead 3, Source 2 in development

Katie Williams at

Are we finally going to be able to play Half-Life 3? While Valve isn't exactly holding press conferences or sending marching bands through the streets yet, a recent slip in its system supposedly exposed the details of every project it's ever worked on—including the long-fabled conclusion to one of gaming's best series, as well as Left 4 Dead 3 and Source Engine 2.

E3 2014: Predicions and wild, feral speculation

PC Gamer at

We used the only viable fuel source with the world's only time machine to visit E3 2014, and bring back the gaming news of the future for you, our loyal readers. The haters will say we could have done something more beneficial for humanity with this singular opportunity, but we usually just ban people like that. What new boxes will you be able to plug into your TV? Will everyone own a Rift? Do your emotional scars from Game of Thrones Season 3 ever heal? We have the 100 percent accurate, non-speculative answers to all this and more.

E3 2013: The impact on the PC

PC Gamer at

The new consoles have the spotlight at E3 2013 this year, but what will the expo's many reveals, demos, hardware rollouts, and buzzwords mean for the PC? Is this even a show for us at all, with the focus on the brick and mortar retail market? We discuss the implications, and speculate on which of the big, all-star console titles will eventually make it to our corner of the gaming universe.

Xi3 disputes Valve claims of "no involvement" in Project Piston

Shaun Prescott at

Valve has "no involvement" with Xi3's Piston

Phil Savage at

Valve have distanced themselves from Xi3's Piston, the small form modular PC that's now available for a pricey pre-order. Piston was originally revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where Xi3 announced that they had received an investment from Valve. But in a statement to Eurogamer, Doug Lombardi states they're no acting as the mini-PC's benefactor.

Motherboard maker MSI: Steam Box is "expanding the PC landscape"

Omri Petitte at

While we expect the next console generation to shrink the technical gap between PCs and their couchy counterparts, Valve's Steam Box initiative continues to pick up buzz. Its mission to make PC gaming living-room-friendly may represent a new market for motherboard and video card manufacturer MSI, who says it thinks Steam Box will change PC gaming as we know it. Speaking to Gaming Blend, Associate Marketing Manager Alex Chang states an expansion of the "PC landscape" could result.

Xi3's Piston launches for pre-orders - $899 for the console-PC hybrid

Phil Savage at

It's not the "Steam Box", but Piston - Xi3's living-room friendly small form PC - is a box with Steam in it. Technically all PCs have the potential to be boxes with Steam in them, but most aren't designed both specifically for gaming and to fit in the palm of your hand. In fact, I've just attempted to lift my PC with one hand and now my fingers hurt.

At this weekend's SXSW Gaming Expo, Xi3 unleashed pre-orders of the device. It's a pricey proposition: $899.99 gets you the base version, with 8GB RAM and a 128GB internal solid state hard drive. And that's the special SXSW price. When the expo ends on March 17th, the standard cost of $999.99 takes effect.

Microsoft doesn't consider Valve as competition in console space

Omri Petitte at

As Valve finally prepares to roll out prototypes for its Steam Box in as little as four months, it's apparently as good a time as any for established living-room-gaming lords to talk about what they think of PC gaming's strongest push into their realm. During a talk at Microsoft's TechForum conference earlier this week (via The Verge), Microsoft's head of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick—that's "Xbox boss" in non-corporese—gave a simple "no" in response to being asked if he considers Valve a competitor.

Valve's "Steam Box" prototypes could be shipping to customers within three to four months

Phil Savage at

In a BBC interview ahead of last night's BAFTA Game Awards, Gabe Newell revealed that prototypes of Valve's "Steam Box," their planned living-room friendly PC, could be ready to ship to customers within the next three to four months.

"We're working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it," Newell said. "We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months."

Valve lays off several employees in hardware, mobile teams [Updated]

Omri Petitte at

In a first for the company, Valve let go an unspecified number of employees across multiple teams including hardware and Android development, according to a report by Gamasutra.

Gabe Newell: Steam Box's biggest challenge is Apple, not consoles

Phil Savage at

Gabe Newell has been talking about the dangers faced by Valve's Steam Box - and other living room based PCs. You'd think the greatest threat to couch-centric gaming would come from the existing dominance of Sony and Microsoft, but Newell disagrees. "The biggest challenge, I don't think is from the consoles," he says. "I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together."

Gabe Newell: "We thought the distinction between living rooms and PCs was artificial"

Omri Petitte at

If Valve boss Gabe Newell gets his way, we'll soon experience a gaming future devoid of the line between living room and computer desk (and it looks increasingly like a certainty). The studio's hardware ambitions aim to permanently bridge the gap between the PC and the TV, and in an interview with The Nerdist Podcast (via Develop), Newell said the divide was always "artificial."

Valve: "We saw this need" for Big Picture from players, operating systems

Omri Petitte at

Big Picture mode, a full-screen Steam interface suitable for TVs, released in December as part of Valve's attention-grabbing campaign to plant PC gaming in the living room. In an interview with Polygon, Valve Product Designer Greg Coomer spoke of capitalizing on the untapped niche of couch-side PC hardware.

Valve's Gabe Newell on Steam Box and the "giant sadness" of Windows 8

Omri Petitte at

Reclusive Valve boss and mighty beardsman Gabe Newell spoke with The Verge in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show today, sharing precious additional details on the studio's Steam Box hardware project. Among other topics, Newell discussed his interest for biometric control setups, the "giant sadness" of Windows 8, and the changes to Valve's game design structure. Oh, and Half-Life 3. (Just kidding about that last part, but we saw you jump a little in your chair.)