Could Valve's Steam Box be a Chromebox? We'll Find Out at Monday's Launch
September 20, 2013 3:33 PM
comment(s) - last by
New "console" is expected to run Linux, play Windows-compatible games
For PC gamers who love Linux, but are loathe to give up their games that run on Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Windows operating system, Valve Corp. thinks it has the solution. That solution, the "
", is expected to be announced at a special event on Monday after months of rumors and anticipation.
Rare staffing changes at Valve may have delayed the console, but it appears to be finally ready, much to the joy of eager gamers.
I. Steam Box Strikes Another Blow to Limping Windows Hegemony
sometimes "CEO" Gabe Newell
(Valve employees have no official job titles, although Mr. Newell -- a company cofounder, performs most of the typical functions of a company's CEO) told the audience than next week his company would reveal, "the hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room."
And today a
with a countdown timer went live. The countdown points to a Monday unveil and a 2014 ship date for the console with the title:
The Steam Universe is Expanding in 2014
The page states:
Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads.
This year we’ve been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room.
Soon, we’ll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam.
Reportedly the Linux-based box will be fully compatible with most Windows OS games of the past and present without any complicated custom fiddling. It is unclear what Linux distribution the console will run, but we should soon find out.
II. Steam Box Runs Linux -- Could it be a Chrome Box?
Google Inc.'s (
) hot Chrome OS is one potential possibility. At the 2013 Intel Developer Forum multiple companies showed off
Chrome OS laptops (Chromebooks) and desktop machines (Chrome Boxes)
. The Steam Box may prove to be the ultimate Chrome Box, with gaming geared modifications to the operating system to provide smooth compatibility with x86 Windows games.
The Steam Box could be a ChromeBox. [Image Source: Google]
If not Chrome OS, it's likely that Valve will have adopted and modified another popular Linux distribution, such as Canonical's Ubuntu or Mint OS.
Valve's decision to use Linux for its upcoming console, rather than Microsoft's Windows 8/8.1, is a sign of the companies'
. While Valve remains loyal to its customers -- including Windows gamers -- Gabe Newell
publicly attacked Microsoft's decision to limit third party app stores
like Steam in Windows 8.
The decision is also somewhat a testament to the weakening position of Windows in general. At the
2013 Intel Developer Forum
, Androids -- the mascots of Google Inc.'s (
) industry-leading mobile Linux distribution -- danced outside the convention center in Intel Corp. (
) garb. Intel, long
so closely aligned with Microsoft Windows than customers dubbed the pair "Wintel"
a number of subtle jabs at Microsoft
during talks and keynotes, while emphasizing a growing number of Android and Chrome OS solutions.
Microsoft is still the world's most used desktop and laptop operating system, but its grip on the market appears to be weakening after Google's
stellar Chrome OS
, along with the
chilly reception of Windows 8
II. Three Steam Boxes Planned?
As for the onboard hardware, Valve may look to use content streamed from Windows servers for its initial implementation, allowing the Steam Box itself to feature minimal hardware in its initial build. Such a scheme would not be unheard of -- Microsoft's own upcoming Xbox One offers developers the ability to
offload processing to the cloud
. Other companies like OnLive have offered
streamed, virtualized Windows desktop environments for iOS devices
a January interview
, Gabe Newell described the plan for "good", "better", and "best" hardware solutions, stating:
The way we sort of think of it is sort of "Good, Better," or "Best." So, Good are like these very low-cost streaming solutions that you’re going to see that are using Miracast or Grid. I think we’re talking about in-home solutions where you've got low latency. "Better" is to have a dedicated CPU and GPU and that’s the one that’s going to be controlled. Not because our goal is to control it; it’s been surprisingly difficult when we say to people "don't put an optical media drive in there" and they put an optical media drive in there and you're like "that makes it hotter, that makes it more expensive, and it makes the box bigger." Go ahead. You can always sell the Best box, and those are just whatever those guys want to manufacture. [Valve's position is]: let's build a thing that’s quiet and focuses on high performance and appropriate form factors.
The countdown page features three dots, with only the first one active with the countdown timer to Monday.
has speculated these dots line up with the different configurations Mr. Newell discussed.
has shown off one alleged hardware configuration from
, a maker of small, stylish modular computers:
A reported Steam Box prototype [Image Source: Polygon]
It's unknown whether this will be one of the final Steam Boxes.
Aside from software and the box's general hardware, one last feature to point out is the inclusiion of the aforementioned
Miracast wireless display technology
. Valve has partnered with Miracast to including this technology in the Steam Box -- which will allow it to connect to multiple televisions all around your house, or even to use
select mobile devices as a second screen
Gabe Newell on YouTube
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: They lost me at Linux
9/20/2013 4:17:03 PM
For something that's meant for gaming, I think it's makes absolutely no sense to have a full-fledged, and fat ugly OS running on it. Secondly, I'm sure they'd rather not pay any licensing to MS, it's an avoidable cost. It simply needs to run the games, a stripped down, customized Linux makes complete sense, similar to what most hardware manufacturers do...
RE: They lost me at Linux
9/20/2013 5:15:47 PM
One can look at it both ways. That license cost to Microsoft empowers users with a much larger and broader game library which would only enhance their sales figures, since more games would be available. They could easily swallow the cost of the license and make it up in sales via steam rather quickly. This is obviously not their goal, though. It's clear they want to push the Linux market, so that's what they went for.
RE: They lost me at Linux
9/20/2013 5:56:27 PM
Yeah. I think they want to be in control, they want to start defining so they are always in full control. They do not want to just be a Windows "promoter". They are clearly not seeking to just get Steam to run, and hope you run what's available. They want to move the entire platform forward. This is a big picture move, no pun intended lol. They will have more freedom with Linux, etc. etc.
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
CyanogenMod To Release Two-Step Easy Installer, Plots World Domination
September 18, 2013, 6:04 PM
IDF 2013: Intel Distances Itself From Windows 8, Microsoft
September 12, 2013, 11:31 AM
Motorola Introduces the Customizable Moto X
August 1, 2013, 5:40 PM
Quick Note: Samsung Chromebook is Top Selling Notebook on Amazon
July 18, 2013, 2:16 PM
Microsoft "Hopes" Developers Will Make Xbox One Games Unplayable Offline
May 24, 2013, 12:13 PM
Tim Cook Touts Apple’s Product Portfolio, Performance in Letter to Employees
October 21, 2014, 8:05 AM
Buoyed by Strong iPhone Sales, Apple Reports Revenue of $42.1B, $8.5B in Profit for Fiscal Q4
October 20, 2014, 5:21 PM
Windows 8.1 + Android "Sell Mini PC" w/ Bay Trail Creates New PC Form Factor
October 20, 2014, 5:07 PM
OnePlus to Open Pre-orders on October 27
October 20, 2014, 1:34 PM
Apple Releases iOS 8.1; Adds Apple Pay Support, SMS Relay, Instant Hotspot
October 20, 2014, 1:00 PM
Quick Note: Android Gmail App to Gain Yahoo, Outlook Account Support
October 20, 2014, 9:15 AM
Most Popular Articles
Update: Motorola Droid Turbo Coming Oct 28, 48-hour Battery Life Confirmed
October 19, 2014, 9:19 PM
Google Announces Android 5.0 “Lollipop”, Nexus 9 Tablet, and Nexus 6 “Phablet”
October 15, 2014, 12:41 PM
Cool Science Video of the Day: Carnivorous Leech Eats Giant Jungle Worm
October 16, 2014, 6:44 PM
HBO, CBS Lead Charge to Ditch Cable
October 16, 2014, 4:40 PM
PS4 "Masamune" Update 2.0 Will Bring New Music and Customization Features
October 17, 2014, 1:05 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information