EA CEO is in the 'Gabe Newell fan club' but needs more information on Steam Box

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is "squarely in the Gabe Newell fan club," but said during an investor relations call that he needs more information before he can say whether Valve's "Steam Box" will be a competitor in the next console cycle.

After praising Newell and citing Portal as one of his favorite games, Riccitiello said that he's not sure whether Valve's Steam Box console will compete with other consoles, in part because he doesn't know enough yet.

"Having said that, Valve really hasn't put enough information out there to suggest whether or not they've got the wherewithal to compete in consoles," Riccitiello said. "There are lots and lots of issues, but large scale in game consoles usually goes with multiple billions of dollars in investment, both in content development investments made across a bunch of developers and publishers, retail relationships, online relationships, consumer marketing, chip fabrication, manufacturing, supply pipeline and the rest."

"They need to put a few more breadcrumbs on the ground to tell us what path we're on."

Riccitiello said that the Steam Box could be anything form a niche product to a tentpole product in the next generation.

"They need to put a few more breadcrumbs on the ground to tell us what path we're on. Good people. Smart people. Technologically innovative people. Right now, there's just not enough information out there to really answer."

Valve confirmed the long-rumored Steam Box at CES this year, first with a device manufactured by Xi3 and codenamed "Piston." In an interview during CES, Newell later confirmed that the company would make its own Steam Box, which would run Linux.

At a talk in Austin earlier today, Newell said that the Steam Box's biggest competitor isn't other consoles, but Apple.

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