Valve confirms Steam Box - a "very controlled" PC for the living room

Gabe Newell appears to have confirmed rumours that Valve are working on a "Steam Box" - a hardware package designed to bring the PC right to the living room. Talking to Kotaku on the red carpet at the VGAs, Newell said that the response to Big Picture mode was "stronger than expected" and that this, combined with the ongoing push into Linux, gave Valve a lot of flexibility when it came to designing their own living room-friendly hardware.

As for a time-frame, Newell said that he'd expect these sorts of packages to go on sale next year - though it isn't entirely clear if he was talking about Valve's own efforts or those of other companies looking to do similar things. "We'll do it but we also think other people will as well," he said.

From the sounds of things, however, Valve's plans for the living room don't entail recreating as open and malleable a system as the PC experience currently is.

"Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," he said, calling Valve's offering a turnkey solution. "If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC."

Which begs the question: will the Steam Box be a PC in any meaningful way if it is to be so very controlled?