Valve: Steam Box Prototypes Are Almost Here

Valve: Steam Box Prototypes Are Almost Here

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Valve will be offering prototypes of its home console for testing within four months.

Valve's Gabe Newell recently spoke to BBC News, saying that the company expects to offer prototypes of its upcoming videogame console very soon. "We'll be giving out some prototypes to customers to gauge their reactions, I guess, in the next three to four months," Newell said. The Steam Box is rumored to run on a Linux-based architecture, and bring all of the games currently available on Valve's Steam platform to your living room TV, utilizing Steam's recently released Big Picture Mode.

"There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it," said Newell, explaining why the console is taking so long to surface. He added that the company has yet to finalize what kind of controller the device will use, saying that Valve wants to explore the possibility of including sensors to measure gamers' body states.

"If you think of a game like Left 4 Dead - which was trying to put you into a sort of horror movie - if you don't change the experience of what the player is actually feeling then it stops being a horror game," Newell explained. "So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play."

Valve's Steam platform consists of thousands of titles from multiple developers, including all Valve-produced titles. It has over 50 million registered accounts with software for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

The price and features of the Steam Box have yet to be confirmed. Newell, as expected, declined to comment on whether or not Valve is actually working on a Half-Life sequel.

Source & Image: BBC UK

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"You need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play."

O__O

Mr. Newell, you're trying to seduce me.

""There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it,""

Gee, I wonder why no one else got into the console market before trying to push into the technology juggernauts of Microsoft and Sony with nothing more but a buggy platform and, albeit well-designed, very buggy games?

rapidoud:
""There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it,""

Gee, I wonder why no one else got into the console market before trying to push into the technology juggernauts of Microsoft and Sony with nothing more but a buggy platform and, albeit well-designed, very buggy games?

Considering heat management issues combined with a certain lead free solder led to the rather expensive RROD debarkle for Microsoft (another company who hadn't had much experience with hardware) I'm glad to see Valve taking things slowly.

dear gabe,

i have never once made a fat joke at your expense, and i am patiently awaiting HL3, with little to expected levels of complaining. i've been good. i guess what i'm getting at is...

Steam Box Prototype please!

Turns out the device in the controller to monitor the player's heartbeat was originally intended just for Gabe's personal use, to insure he didn't have a heart attack mid session.

But seriously, I love that HL3 question at the end. Journalists could go to Gabe about any question at all and still have to slip a HL3 comment in there somewhere.

Random Journalist: "So Gabe, ya... heard that Steambox is gonna have a solid state HD in there, is this true?"
Gabe: "Huh? who told you th--"
Random Journalist: "Nice one. So how about HL3? Where's that at?"

That measuring the gamers heartbeat part might be possible.

Treadmills use that and hell, that's a big example. Really tiny things use that too. However, if you're expecting examples from me please divert your attention to Google. XD

Granted I have no idea exactly what entails in adding that feature but yeah, it's possible and would be really really cool if the controller would have something like that. >.>

I feel like if I knew I was being monitored by the game, and that those changes were affecting my experience, I'd be completely sucked out of the game. I dunno. I feel like that's something that would cripple my immersion.

If it was just built into the controller's grips and measured heartrate on the palms or something, and I wasn't outright told that it was measuring my response, I suppose the intrusion of immersion wouldn't factor into it. But otherwise, I can't see a way of a game saying "HEY YOUR HEARTBEAT WILL AFFECT BITS OF THE GAME NOW SO REMEMBER TO BE SCARED!!" doing anything but slamming my head harshly against reality.

I feel I'm the only gamer who doesn't care AT ALL about Half Life 3, or any HL for that matter...

That said, I'm eagerly looking forward to the Steam Box!!!

VERY EXCITING! I'm very much looking forward to seeing some new consoles in the running. Not just the Steam Box, but things like the Ouya too. It'll be good just to see how it affects the landscape of the industry.

My concerns here are:

Will developers alter games to use the Steam box controller, over a more traditional Keyboard and Mouse (thinking more on RPG titles which on consoles often feature clumsy UI's as a result of using a controller ... see Witcher 2, UI is clearly a console friendly implementation despite the game being a PC title which was later ported to the consoles).

Will developers consider the Steam box as the target technology when they develop games (basically not utilising any new tech post Steam box launch )?

I cant really see the value here in this box, I mean a PC is defined by its ability to be upgraded, to be adjusted for the evolving market... unlike current gen consoles, a PC adapts to new technology.
A PC thats in a console form most likely wont be so easy (if at all possible) to upgrade core components so its a PC that cant upgrade which sort of loses the one advantage the PC has over consoles.
The fear then is as gaming is now more than ever big business, will developers targeting the PC consider this as the PC tech level. A case of ' if it runs on the Steam box then its fine for ALL PC's '.

... or is the intent that the Steam box will be a new market, a new platform entirely using the steam library as a launch base ?

I already have a steambox its called a gaming pc. Honestly i cant see what new a steam console could offer me

Well it BETTER almost be here, you fired the person that was making it.

You know Gabe if you've got a couple prototypes going spare I could take them off your hands >.>

MPerce:
"You need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is - what their heart rate is, things like that - in order to offer them a new experience each time they play."

O__O

Mr. Newell, you're trying to seduce me.

My first thought on this is "oh god what will happen once Team Ninja get a hold of this controller?"

Meh, I'm still waiting to see if valve actually actively supports the console, not just throwing it out there and telling users "good luck". I mean look at how the TF2 Linux trial turned out it really wasn't smooth at all, considering some people had to find user related workarounds. I think Valve is going to be in for a big wake up call when people throw an absolute shit-fit because they expect plug and play like consoles and that is not going to happen with the steam box.

ASnogarD:

... or is the intent that the Steam box will be a new market, a new platform entirely using the steam library as a launch base ?

I think it pretty much has to be. They cant just treat it like a PC because its not upgradeable and will quickly be left in the dust by PC games that are not optimized for it. Otherwise valve would be forgetting half of what the plug and play ability of consoles entails.

 

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