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Valve Working on a ‘Steam Box’ Games Console

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Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, move over. A new contender may be entering the games console market in the form of Valve, the company behind the immensely popular Steam games platform for PC and Mac.

At present Valve are big in the gaming market through software and digital content only, but The Verge believes it has plans to enter the hardware market with a new console called the ‘Steam Box’. The company is said to be in talks with hardware companies to create such a console, and even demonstrated a very early, hand-built, prototype of the device to prospective clients earlier in the year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Steam Box could be a serious rival to Microsoft and Sony’s current consoles, with purported specs including an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a graphics card from Nvidia. The specifications are more PC-orientated rather than the sort of parts we’d associate with a next-gen games console, so perhaps Valve is building a powerhouse that will run games from the cloud, similar to the OnLive service.

Apparently the box will play host to a number of different USB accessories, though it will ship with one controller that Valve has specially designed. Valve registered a patent for a games controller with hot-swappable buttons and control sticks last year which seems to fit the bill nicely (see below).

Biometrics will play a part in controlling the Steam Box, too, or so we’re told. Gamers may be able to incorporate things like bracelets and other extensions of the handheld controller to play games; something which certainly sounds interesting.

Through various interviews with publications such as The Seattle Times, it appears that Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has plans to not only take on Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, but Apple too. He states:

“On the platform side, it’s sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms,” adding that “They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people’s access to those things.”

Many believe that Valve aims to ‘do an Android’ in the gaming world, revolutionising the way in which we buy, download and play games. They’re well established enough to do so, we think.

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Source: The Verge