As CES gets its mojo back for the 2013 event, Steam Box in attendance, heats up its engine to position itself as a console killer. Dubbed as the “PC for your living room”, tech analysts that Steam’s hardware could be the last nail in the coffin of the limping console generation. It is engineered to allow a playing on multiple screens across different rooms using specific networking standards.
“It’s going to be different things for different people. We’re interested in investigating an ecosystem of devices that don’t necessarily have to share a common spec,” Valve hardware engineer Jeff Keyzer told Engadget.
In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Valve’s (makers of Steam Box) CEO Gabe Nexell has allowed the public to enter the train of thoughts and the future of the expected game-changer. Valve is the super-developer that created Half-Life and Half-Life 2.
The goal is for Steam Box to improve the lives of both its partners and customers. It is an open system that means you can easily pull out the graphics card and replace it when updates come in. This openness is set to be the newcomer’s biggest challenge to Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo.
Newell stressed, “Our view is that, in the same way users are critical in a multiplayer experience, like the fellow next to you is critical to your enjoyment, we should figure out how we can help users find people that are going to make their game experiences better. Some people will create team stores, some people will create Sony stores, some people will create stores with only games that they think meet their quality bar. Somebody is going to create a store that says “these are the worst games on Steam.””
And yes, these are going to be Linux-based Steam Boxes.
“We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination. We also think that a controller that has higher precision and lower latency is another interesting thing to have.”
Controllers are another area for improvement for Valve. They have expressed their dissatisfaction with the existing ones. According to Newell, the company will be tapping biometrics data for the controllers. While they see that using larger muscles of the body increases engagement, biometrics enhances communication between the player and the game.
“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. Motion just seems to be a way of [thinking] of your body as a set of communication channels.”
Glimpse of The Future
Steam box will also be a server. This is what Newell assured the public. The time will come when one GPU will be serving up to eight simultaneous game calls. Simply put, you have 1 PC, 8 monitors and 8 controllers running and being enjoyed by players at the same time.
Valve is also looking closely to somehow fit into the mobile industry. They are particularly interested in further understanding the multi-touch technology in order for them to assault in the tablet and mobile space.