While rumors of the SteamBox have been floating around for a while now, Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell has finally stepped up to offer some new details about the device and how it could potentially change the way we game.
So what exactly is the Valve Steambox? According to Newell in an interview with the Verge, the device is more than just a gaming PC. While you can game directly on the SteamBox, it is also a Linux-based gaming server PC that is designed to bring gaming way beyond just the living room. Basically, this one PC could be used to stream to a variety of different devices, such as all the TVs in your home or even Nvidia’s Project Shield gaming handheld.
Newell says that beyond the gaming server concept, they also have plans for innovative controller inputs that use biometric technologies to enhance the way we play. So what would that mean for gaming? In Newell’s own words, “Biometrics is essentially adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways that the player isn’t necessarily conscious of.”
Outside of Valve’s Linux-based game server, they will also be creating a hardware specification that can be used by their partners. These boxes will have the option to run on either Windows or Linux. The idea is that there would be three different tiers for SteamBox-certified hardware: good, better and best.
A good device would basically be a mirroring device that is used for streaming game content. These would likely be very low-cost.
A better device would have a dedicated CPU and GPU and would be all about creating a device that is reasonably priced for the average gamer. Best would basically be anything that is on the high-end that has additional extras like a media drive and more.
Although the SteamBox and its related partner products are probably still at least a year or more away, there is certainly potential here to stir things up a bit in the gaming world.
Keep in mind that the SteamBox project is still very much a work in progress. Some of the things that Newell speaks of will happen, others might not. There could also be additional undisclosed features in the works as well.
What do you think about a the idea of Linux-based gaming server, good idea or not?