If you play computer games, you’ve more than likely know of Steam, and the impact it’s had on the gaming world over the last few years. Steam, developed by Valve, is a digital distribution platform. It is used for distributing games and other related media online. The games vary from small independent developers to larger software houses. With Valve’s share of the gaming market constantly rising, it was only a matter of time before they would release their own games console. At CES 2013, Valve showcased prototypes of what will be known as the “Steam Box”. Following is everything you need to know about Valve’s steam box.
What is Steam Box?
The Steam Box is primarily designed to play PC games, specifically it’s designed to play games downloaded from Steam. The early prototypes of the Steam Box seem much smaller than a PC, but it is a PC – even though it might not be running windows. What Prototypes are Under Development? Several prototypes are currently under development. This includes the Xi3 Piston and Nvidia’s Project Shield. The Xi3 piston has received investment from Valve to continue developing the Piston, which is based on it’s existing X7A series. The Piston is reportedly set to be optimized for Steam’s big picture mode.Nvidia’s Project Shield is set to take the handheld gaming world by storm. Featuring a new Tegra 4 chip, the device contains, what looks like, a large Xbox 360 controller, along with a 5-inch 720p display screen. The device will run on Android and is Nvidia’s first project outside of the graphics card world.
What Operating System will be Supported by Steam Box?
The Steam Box is rumored to run with a Linux-based architecture, and will have the ability to run all the games currently available on Valve’s Steam platform. Although according to CEO Gabe Newell, the Steam Box won’t be limited to a single operating system. This means that although the unit will be shipped with Linux installed, the user could easily install another operating system, such as Windows.
What Hardware Configuration will be Featured?
Rumours are still circulating about the features of the Steam Box, but at this time it seems that the console is modelled around the existing X7A line of miniature computers. Reports have surfaced that the console will contain up to 1TB of internal storage, with other options available to purchase faster CPUs and RAM. The prototype at CES 2013 contained four eSATAp ports, four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet as well as one full-sized Display Port and two Mini Display Ports. What Input Device Will it Feature?Newell has reported that the input device for the Steam Box, will be unique, potentially utilising biometrics and gaze tracking. Newell also stated that he has no intention of making Wii-like or Kinect-like controllers.
When Will it be Available?
It’s likely that the Steam Box will be released this year, although no precise date has currently been released. The console is set to be tested around July, so it’s likely that any release date would be nearer the end of the year – perhaps just in time for Christmas.