While this should come as no surprise to those that follow gaming and especially Valve, the long discussed “Steam Box” has been unveiled at CES in Las Vegas. Although the name “Steam Box” was not mentioned in the official release, the unveiling finally gives us a look at what Valve’s Gabe Newell confirmed back in December, and what many (including us) think could change PC gaming - and by extension the entire gaming industry – for good.
The announcement today is the first step towards elevating the Steam Box beyond the realms of talk and design that it has firmly inhabited thus far. The name may change, and the specifics have yet to be discussed, but a prototype has been commissioned through the Salt Lake City-based Xi3. That coincides with the announcement that Valve has invested in the hardware manufacturer.
Although still in the development stage, the device is being shown off at CES. It takes advantage of Valve’s “Big Picture” mode, which allows for games to be played on HD TVs. Combining that with the games available via Steam’s service, could make for some serious competition for the big three console makers, as well as retailers that thrive on physical media sales.
It’s far too early to start guessing about things like price and availability, but the hardware is essentially a vehicle for the successful Steam service, which could mean that the Steam Box (or whatever name it finally lands on), could be coming sooner than you think. It might even beat Microsoft and Sony to the punch, and introduce a new, legitimate contender in the next console war.