The Steambox, Valve’s rumoured console, is the current hot topic across the internet, has many rumours around it and is looking like it could be the most powerful thing to hit the console market yet. It has the potential to defeat the other consoles, should Valve go the right way about it, but for those who don’t know what Valve and Steam do for PC gaming, let me explain.
Valve owns Steam, the digital distribution platform which owns the majority of the PC gaming market, selling games from the Call of Duty series to almost unknown titles such as Broken Sword. Steam tops around 5 million online users a day, sells games for ridiculously low prices during the sales and makes unthinkable amounts of money every year. Valve is producing a console to play Steam titles on and judging by information on the internet, it’s going to be truly amazing. Gabe Newell, director of Valve, patented a device looking like a controller but with what appears to be interchaneable attachments for the thumbsticks.The specifications for Valve’s box of tricks are apparently an Intel i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and an nVidia graphics processor, as well as running PC games via Steam.
The Steambox is certainly sounding like a truly amazing piece of kit, but I personally think this could go either way. Sure, this Steambox could take over home consoles, but do PC gamers really want those communities merged with theirs? The Steambox has impressive hardware, but it’s not going to be cheap. A £500+ (roughly $700) PC won’t be a cost efficient gaming solution compared to an Xbox 360 — even a PS3 was less than that at launch. My last worry is that Steam accounts are registered to one person, so will there be split-screen multiplayer? Will there be multiple accounts on one Steambox, and if there is, will they have access to each other’s games? Digital distribution has its advantages and disadvantages, but if it the Steambox interferes with the PC Steam client, what does it mean for PC users? Will PC users be overshadowed in favour of the smaller, but growing Steambox playerbase? It’s in its very early days, and I guess it’s all speculation with very little concrete information.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t say much about this Steambox without concrete information, and by all means, tell me your thoughts.