Sunday, March 4, 2012

Valve to Develop New Gaming Platform

Valve co-founder, Gabe Newell, recently told Penny Arcade that, ”Well, if we have to sell hardware we will.” This opens up some interesting debate about what a platform that fully integrates Steam, Valve’s digital distribution hub, would look like. Would there be integration into a current platform? How complete would such integration be? Would games even be playable on said platform?

Steam Mobile Games View
Valve answers these questions handily by stating that they will make their own platform and that it will simply run PC games. This “Steam Box” will basically be a console for the living room that runs just like a PC, and will have an upgradable central GPU unit. The unit upgrades forgo the need to buy an entirely new system every generation. So instead of shelling out $500-700 for a new box to play the current games, we may be seeing $150-200 upgrades to your current system. Seeing as the Steam Box is basically a PC, all of your old games would simply work natively on the new upgraded platform.
There will likely be proprietary controllers that come packaged with it, but they will be in standard USB format. This opens up so many possibilities as far as controllers go. You may just be able to use your wired 360 controllers on the Steam Box. You may also be able to use your USB arcade stick, or your Logitech wireless USB Dual Analog controller. You could use your trusty flight stick or your analog racing rig. Think of it as a miniature, dedicated gaming PC for the entire family.
There is no required devkit and there will be no development fees associated with making games for the Steam Box. This means that we will see the same amount of indie games being made for the Steam platform. Possibly we may even see more, seeing as the Steam Box will be as accessible as the current console giants but much easier to develop for.
I’m excited to see what kind of developments occur over the next few months on this subject. I’ve got nearly 200 Steam games poised to make the jump to my 52″ TV.
Visit Valve’s site here.
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