Speaking to Kotaku, Mr. Newell didn’t elaborate what a Steam console would look like — whether it would be a Linux-based Steam OS or a Windows-based HTPC made in partnership with an OEM — but made it clear that his company was dedicated to putting PC gaming in the living room.
“I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them,” Mr. Newell told Kotaku. “Cause they won’t have to split the world into thinking about ‘why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?’ So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments.”
Should Valve release a steam branded console, it wouldn’t be a customizable as some expect; it would be as locked down as an Xbox but with PC hardware. This would create a closed, unified, experience like a console.
“Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC,” Mr. Newell stated. “For people who want a more turnkey solution, that’s what some people are really gonna want for their living room.”
Considering that leaked documents and rumours point to the Xbox 720 and PS4 having hardware that is only incrementally better than mid-range current-gen tech, Mr. Newell will certainly have something marketable if he can deliver gamers a high-end gaming experience (think: Kepler GPUs) in their living room.