Gabe Newell confirms plans for Steam Box gaming console

In an interview with Kotaku, Valve boss Gabe Newell confirmed the company's plans for its own gaming console. While the console itself will virtually be a PC...

In an interview with Kotaku, Valve boss Gabe Newell confirmed the company's plans for its own gaming console. While the console itself will virtually be a PC, the 'Steam Box' will be specially designed for the living room. This can easily be done with the Big Picture mode for Steam, which was launched earlier this month. Newell revealed that the console would be going head to head with next-gen gaming consoles.

"Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," he said. "If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them."

 Gabe Newell confirms plans for Steam Box gaming console

Confirmed plans for a Steam Box


The possibilities are wide with the recent release of Steam on Linux. Linux could potentially keep the costs of the Steam Box low. It could also be possible to have the Box upgradable, thus avoiding the locked-hardware problem that makes the graphical capabilities of the consoles plateau.

The Big Picture mode for Steam is a complete revamp of the interface to be used with larger screens with a controller. The mode introduces the Daisywheel keyboard that is meant to help make typing with a controller more intuitive. Currently, Big Picture mode is available in over twenty languages, which include German, French, Russian, Korean and Portuguese, along with the obvious English.

To commemorate the launch of Big Picture mode, Valve had a sale on more than thirty games that are controller-friendly, which includes games like Portal 2 (75 percent off), Left 4 Dead 2 (75 percent off), Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (75 percent off) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (50 percent off), among other games.

The previous major change to Steam was the update to the platform's community features which were added earlier this year. "The New Steam Community is all about showing off the best content that gamers have created," said Emily Kent at Valve. "With over 89 million screenshots, videos, Steam Workshop maps, levels, mods, and items, plus news articles and product updates, the community has created an unbelievable wealth of content around their favorite games."

Some of the new features in the update include Game Hubs, Group Updates, My Content and Friend Activity, not counting other extra tweaks. Let's take a detailed look at the new features.

Game Hubs: Every game on Steam has a new Game Hub. The Hubs highlight the most popular user-created screenshots, videos and Steam Workshop items as rated by the community and combine it with related news, discussions and comments for the game all in one central location.

Group Updates: The revamped groups layout makes it easier to see what a group is really about, who’s in it and what they’ve been up to recently. Valve has added a group overview, friend showcase and more. Most significantly, each group will now have their own discussions area, enabling public and private discussions within the group. You get complete moderator control over your group forums, with the ability to create sub-forums, add moderators, delete posts etc.

My Content: The content you’ve published will also get a new treatment. Valve has put all the content you've created in one convenient place to make it easier to both show off and manage. This goes for all your friends and people you follow as well.

Friend Activity: See what your friends are up to in the new visually rich and more interactive feed where nearly everything can be rated and commented on. Share your opinion, taunt or help your friends, save the best content to your favourites and rate your friends’ content to get them to the top of the Game Hubs.

Other tweaks include things like sharing links on Steam that will automatically give the link a thumbnail.

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