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Steam Hardware Plans?

A post on The Verge follows up on recent comments by Valve's Gabe Newell about the possibility of Steam hardware by saying this is exactly what Valve is working on, and a reveal may come as early as next week at San Francisco's Game Developer's Conference (thanks Kotaku).

The article cites unnamed "sources" who say Valve is working with various hardware vendors on a "Steam Box," which sounds more exotic than "Windows PC," which is what this seems like, as word is: "Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up." They note a couple of possibilities that may make this more distinctive than a hardware specification, speculating it may include a proprietary controller, a biometric feedback device, and could take better advantage of Steam's "big picture mode."

This all still speculation at this point, as Valve has not responded to their request for comment.

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139 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 6.
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39. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 16:32 [VG]Reagle
 
TheEmissary wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:23:
[VG]Reagle wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:11:
Guys this ain't a steam branded PC. Its a box that only suports steam or other types of game software. In other words its a PC powered console. Probably connect to TVs and you can play any steam game you want.

The fancy controllers are needed for one reason. To replace the mouse.

I wouldn't read much in to the controllers. On a PC you can use what ever controller you want if the game supports it. Portal 2's DLC supports a Razer's Hydra motion controller. I see the controller as optional just like the controller is optional for onLive.

There are only two options available to Valve if they want to support the back-catalog of games being a custom install of Windows or Linux+Wine. Given they said they are going to support legacy games and competitor software I'am leaning more towards a full windows install.

They could try the Wine route but that would be support nightmare considering hardly any games run flawlessly (Gold+/Platinum Level) on that and not mention the DRM issues. It would be easier to just build a branded machine to support their catalog of games. Also on Wine you just lost supporting DX10/DX11 games.

I think your missing the point. Admittedly its a guess on my part. But I don't think this "hardware" is a PC at all. The number 1 problem that steam itself has is access to the console market. So this is their solution...they are going to make a console that makes PC games playable on the TV. This solves many problems and unites once and for all the games markets.
 
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38. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 16:23 TheEmissary
 
[VG]Reagle wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:11:
Guys this ain't a steam branded PC. Its a box that only suports steam or other types of game software. In other words its a PC powered console. Probably connect to TVs and you can play any steam game you want.

The fancy controllers are needed for one reason. To replace the mouse.

I wouldn't read much in to the controllers. On a PC you can use what ever controller you want if the game supports it. Portal 2's DLC supports a Razer's Hydra motion controller. I see the controller as optional just like the controller is optional for onLive.

There are only two options available to Valve if they want to support the back-catalog of games being a custom install of Windows or Linux+Wine. Given they said they are going to support legacy games and competitor software I'am leaning more towards a full windows install.

They could try the Wine route but that would be support nightmare considering hardly any games run flawlessly (Gold+/Platinum Level) on that and not mention the DRM issues. It would be easier to just build a branded machine to support their catalog of games. Also on Wine you just lost supporting DX10/DX11 games.
 
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37. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 16:11 [VG]Reagle
 
Guys this ain't a steam branded PC. Its a box that only suports steam or other types of game software. In other words its a PC powered console. Probably connect to TVs and you can play any steam game you want.

The fancy controllers are needed for one reason. To replace the mouse.
 
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36. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 16:08 Overon
 
killer_roach wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:03:
Overon wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:41:
8 GB of RAM? Is the entire game supposed to fit into RAM?

Less RAM than my desktop... and besides, RAM is cheap.
This isn't meant as fighting words but "so what?"
What programs do you have to run simultaneously in a gaming computer do take advantage of 8 MB of RAM?
 
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35. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:59 eunichron
 
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:47:
You are confusing valve with MS/EA/actiblizz/sony.

And how exactly is Valve different than MS/EA/Actiblizz/Sony?

Oh, right, they aren't.

Actually, Valve has better PR. That's about the only difference I can see.
 
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34. I am a bit disappointed in you guys... Mar 3, 2012, 15:52 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
I am a bit disappointed in you guys, no one made any pun on the Steam Box hardware as "Vaporware."

Not that Valve won't be able to release it, but steam-> vapor...
 
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33. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:47 Dev
 
Overon wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:41:
8 GB of RAM? Is the entire game supposed to fit into RAM?
Ram is super cheap. $35 for 8gb ram. Doing an i7 box (IMHO they'd be better off going with i5, but whatever) they'd be stupid not to invest the tiny bit more for a lot of ram so the system can last a long time. One of the things holds back games on xbox 360 is the super limited amount of RAM that's in it, 512 meg ram thats shared between system and graphics. When trying to hit 720p and 1080p, that takes up a lot of graphics memory, and there's not much there at all. Imagine buying a 128 meg graphics card today, its silly.
zirik wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:42:
Hump wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:40:
I'm guessing if this IS going to happen that Valve will premiere Hal Life 3 to make the presentation more memorable.

thats the scary part. they might make HL3 exclusive to the steam box.
You are confusing valve with MS/EA/actiblizz/sony.
 
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32. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:42 zirik
 
Hump wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:40:
I'm guessing if this IS going to happen that Valve will premiere Hal Life 3 to make the presentation more memorable.

thats the scary part. they might make HL3 exclusive to the steam box.
 
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31. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:40 Dev
 

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 13:31:
Afterall, it knows the resolution of my monitor, the power of my graphics card and the speed of my processor - it can't be THAT hard to automatically select the appropriate settings (admittedly a minority of games do this properly).
[...]
Originally the Xbox was only going to be an extension to the PC but they went down the proprietary route and fucked over PC gamers (buying up studios, paying for exclusives, etc) as soon as they realised they could make more money that way.
Yeah you'd think, but the latest attempt at that (rage) was totally screwed up. Plus with something like rage, as new generations of hardware come out, rage will go nuts trying to figure out stuff its not familiar with. IMHO, it would be much more useful to have steam recommended settings. Steam could put all that survey data to good use, and look at what settings people are running games with and say in an overlay text "most people run the game at this setting, we recommend this." Or they could do it with a survey type thing where people could voluntarily enter in what settings they use for various games. If valve gave 5 cents off for each game you did that for, they'd quickly have a database built up.

As for the xbox, MS has now taken it in the opposite extreme. With Vista they made a number of OS changes (such as its "new" sound engine) to bring windows closer to the xbox, so it would be easier to port from xbox.

This comment was edited on Mar 3, 2012, 15:46.
 
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30. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:40 Hump
 
I'm guessing if this IS going to happen that Valve will premiere Hal Life 3 to make the presentation more memorable.  
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29. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:36 zirik
 
it can also sanitize baby bottles and cook sea food.  
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28. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:06 Dades
 
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:54:
So Valve wants to build a Steam branded console that is really just a micro-PC with standard PC hardware that runs Windows with a Steam overlay.

What exactly is the point again? If I wanted to game on a big screen I can just plug my tower into it. If I wanted to use a controller to play PC games I can just plug my USB 360 controller into my PC.

This whole idea seems entirely pointless and unnecessary.

It sounds like it's intended to be a living room type device, a bridge for people who don't know how to put together a PC. It's important because it prevents them from buying some shitty HP computer that can't really game without an addin video card.

 
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27. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 15:03 killer_roach
 
Overon wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:41:
8 GB of RAM? Is the entire game supposed to fit into RAM?

Less RAM than my desktop... and besides, RAM is cheap.
 
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26. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:54 eunichron
 
So Valve wants to build a Steam branded console that is really just a micro-PC with standard PC hardware that runs Windows with a Steam overlay.

What exactly is the point again? If I wanted to game on a big screen I can just plug my tower into it. If I wanted to use a controller to play PC games I can just plug my USB 360 controller into my PC.

This whole idea seems entirely pointless and unnecessary.
 
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25. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:46 Prez
 
Genesys wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:44:
"Steam Box"? What kind of a name is that? It will be called the Steam Engine, of course.

It's better than the perennial "Worst Title Ever" award-winner "Orange Box", also by Valve, so for them it's progress.
 
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24. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:44 Genesys
 
"Steam Box"? What kind of a name is that? It will be called the Steam Engine, of course.
 
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23. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:41 Overon
 
8 GB of RAM? Is the entire game supposed to fit into RAM?  
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22. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:37 DG
 
kibbled wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 11:44:
I am going to through this out there. Maybe its just a "Steam" Branded PC with some extra functionality that is sold by another company like Gateway or Dell.
Yep.

It's just a PC that looks OK in the livingroom, plugs into a 1080p flatscreen and has a sticker that guarantees games with the same sticker will play okay.

Anything else would be totally insane.

The only leverage Steam has is the distribution network. Any OS other than windows (including Linux or OSX) requires developers to support it and losing Direct-X and so for all intents and purposes it's another console.

Literally all we're looking at is a PC that is a bit less offputting to console gamers, at the likely expense of more games being developed with a hardware cycle in mind (that is, even PC-oriented devs may target the "steam spec").

But yeah, HL3 launching with it is a no-brainer. Either it happens or Gabe has no brains.
 
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21. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:26 TheEmissary
 
Prez wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 14:05:
Personally, I'm not interested in using a PC that I didn't build myself, but this seems like a good move for Valve - by lowering the barrier to entry into PC gaming (on Steam, natch!), they are almost certainly helping out there own business. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

This is really no different than Amazon producing an Android compatible device to consume their ecosystem of apps, music, movies, books, and etc. It is pretty obvious given that they said they are allowing previous pc software and competitors on the device that this isn't going to be a walled garden.
 
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20. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 3, 2012, 14:05 Prez
 
Personally, I'm not interested in using a PC that I didn't build myself, but this seems like a good move for Valve - by lowering the barrier to entry into PC gaming (on Steam, natch!), they are almost certainly helping out their own business. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

EDIT: Changed "there" to "their".

This comment was edited on Mar 3, 2012, 14:39.
 
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