The company behind massively popular cloud-based gaming service Steam is pushing its way into the living room with a run of "Steam Box" console-sized computers that deliver computer games to your television.
While the initiative is centered around the idea of producing console-like computers for the living room, they won't all look the same. Valve officials came to CES this year to meet with a variety of hardware companies and content providers to get them to create their own versions of the Steam-centric gaming rigs.
The first officially announced venture, Xi3's Piston, made a splash during the international show's opening. Stay tuned as we continue to chart the evolution of a software company, to a service provider, to a living room entertainment platform creator.
Without Microsoft delivering the annual keynote and filling the front of the Las Vegas Convention Center's Central Hall with its massive booth, the message seemed to be clear: CES is shrinking and its largest presence at the show can't even be bothered to show up anymore. If you thought that with Microsoft missing, Sony might divert some of its spotlight away from headsets and wireless speakers towards its PlayStation products you weren't alone. At the show, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai described PlayStation Vita sales as being "on the low end" of the company's expectations, making its relative...
As for the Steam Box specification, Newell said he envisions low-end, mid-range and high-end versions with varying capabilities and performance, but a few things in common. As devices designed for the living room, Steam Boxes will be quiet computers in attractive form factors. Valve's own Steam Box will run Linux instead of Windows, although the platform will be open so as to allow for the installation of Microsoft's operating system.
The vast majority of today's most popular PC games are made for Windows, with a growing number being ported to Mac OS X. Linux lags far behind in adoption by...
We stopped by Valve's CES booth this morning and spoke with Greg Coomer, product designer at Valve and one of the earliest champions of Steam's recently launched Big Picture mode, which reformats the PC gaming platform with a living room-appropriate 10-foot UI. With its part of the software problem solved, Valve is now meeting with hardware developers and has brought "multiple" hardware prototypes to the show, including the Xi3 system unveiled yesterday.
"We're surprised that there aren't more PC manufacturers who are addressing the combination of form factor, meaning size, and things like...
Valve is working on its own Steam Box hardware that will run Linux, according to an interview with Valve head Gabe Newell published on The Verge.
"We'll come out with our own and we'll sell it to consumers by ourselves," Newell said. "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."
The challenge in designing hardware and software for living rooms is manifold, but Newell sees promise in hardware and new input paradigms and wants to make the process of PC gaming on TV...
A Valve official tells Polygon that they plan to spend their week at the Consumer Electronics Show meeting with hardware and content developers in their booth and showcasing "multiple" custom hardware prototypes.
On Monday, Valve grabbed the CES spotlight when hardware partner Xi3 announced plans for their "steam box" Piston computer game system. The still-in-development Steam-optimized mini PC, backed by an "investment from Valve Corporation", will offer up to 1 TB of internal storage and modular component updates.
Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis walked Polygon through what...
The "Steam Box" modular computer announced by hardware maker Xi3 and Valve at CES is codenamed "Piston" and is modeled after the PC maker's X7A line of pint-sized computers, Xi3 reps tell Polygon.
Xi3 brought an early version of Piston to CES, but was tight lipped on details about the hardware currently in development with Valve. Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis told Polygon that Piston will offer up to 1 TB of interal storage and offer modular component updates, including the option to upgrade the PC's CPU and RAM.
Xi3 wouldn't discuss price for Piston, but commented that the...
Valve's oft-rumored "Steam Box" is making its first public appearance at CES 2013 thanks to a newly announced partnership with mini-PC maker Xi3.
Xi3 today announced "an investment from Valve Corporation" and a "new development stage computer game system," which is being showcased at both the Xi3 and Valve booths at CES this week.
The still-in-development device is optimized for computer game play on large, high-definition displays. Xi3 says that the modular computer was designed specifically to support both Steam and Big Picture mode.
"Today marks the beginning of a new era for Xi3,"...
The controller-ready and couch-friendly Big Picture mode for Steam is out of beta and ready for public release, developer Valve announced today, part of a wider push to bring PC gaming into the living room and onto HD televisions.
To celebrate the public release of Big Picture mode for Steam, Valve is holding a week-long sale on over thirty "controller-friendly games." Steam is offering savings up to 75 percent off on titles including Magicka, Braid, Portal 2, Lego Batman 2, Left 4 Dead, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Geometry Wars Retro Evolved.
Big Picture mode for Windows and Mac...
The "public test" for Steam's Big Picture mode – a television-friendly version of its online store and platform – went live today.
The beta was first announced last week in The New York Times, and Valve has since released videos showing how the service can be set up. Games on Big Picture can be played with controllers or with a keyboard and mouse set-up, and players can also use the service to surf the web, navigate Steam, and chat.
Steam's Big Picture mode is currently only available on PC, with a Mac beta "coming soon".
The set-up walkthrough video can be viewed below.