Valve’s hotly anticipated Steam Box will feature a variety of hardware options — that range from cloud based streaming to high-end dedicated CPUs and GPUs — and will utilize biometrics but not motion input according to Valve’s Gabe Newell.
Speaking to The Verge as CES, the big boss of Valve gave the most comprehensive set of details yet about his company’s plans to break into the gaming console business.
While stepping around the possibility that the Xi3 Piston is the Steam console, Mr. Newell discussed with The Verge the possible hardware options the Steam box will offer.
“The way we sort of think of it is sort of ‘Good, Better,’ or ‘Best.’ So, Good are like these very low-cost streaming solutions that you’re going to see that are using Miracast or Grid. I think we’re talking about in-home solutions where you’ve got low latency,” Mr. Newell said. “‘Better’ is to have a dedicated CPU and GPU and that’s the one that’s going to be controlled. Not because our goal is to control it; it’s been surprisingly difficult when we say to people ‘don’t put an optical media drive in there’ and they put an optical media drive in there.’”
“[Valve's position is]: let’s build a thing that’s quiet and focuses on high performance and quiet and appropriate form factors,” Mr. Newell continued to The Verge.
Mr. Newell confirmed to The Verge that the Steam Box will be Linux powered and not OS-locked by “any stretch of the imagination”.
“We’ll come out with our own Steam Box and sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box,” he said.
On the topic of controllers, Mr. Newell said that Valve isn’t overly enthusiastic about motion controllers.
“We’ve struggled for a long time to try to think of ways to use motion input and we really haven’t. Wii Sports is still kind of the pinnacle of that,” he said. “We look at that, and for us at least, as a games developer, we can’t see how it makes games fundamentally better.”
“I think you’ll see controllers coming from us that use a lot of biometric data. Maybe the motion stuff is just failure of imagination on our part, but we’re a lot more excited about biometrics as an input method,” he continued.
Mr. Newell didn’t have much more for details during his talk with The Verge, but more details about Valve’s vision for the future of gaming are likely to be released before CES comes to a close.