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Posted by Chuck Corbin on Jan 9, 2013

Steam Box Details Revealed By Valve’s Gabe Newell

Earlier this week we heard a bit about the new Steam Box, being developed by Xi3. At this time many people have been assuming that Xi3’s offering is the full Steam Box, but it turns out that that’s a bit of a misconception. Instead, what we’ve found out that the Xi3 Steam Box, codenamed Piston, is instead one of many different third-party hardware offerings. According to Gabe Newell, Valve will be offering a Steam Box themselves, but instead of going the route that Sony and Microsoft have gone, in having only one official manufacturer for their consoles, Valve is going with an open system where people will have a choice in their hardware.

This choice is also apparent in the OS being ran in the systems. While the Steam Boxes will come loaded with Linux, consumers will have the choice to install an OS like Windows if they so desire, making it that the Steam Box “is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination.” You’ll also get the choice of how you want to hook up your games, because according to Gabe the Steam Box will also act a server, where you could possibly hook up 8 different TV’s to one Steam Box and let everybody play off of the one machine. To me, that’s quite a bit better than Sony and Microsoft’s insistence that you can only play multiplayer with people if they have their own console and copy of the game.

Controllers are going to be a major part of the Steam Box as well. While the machine itself is definitely PC-based, the fact remains that if you want to play on your living room TV you’re going to have to pick up a controller. According to Gabe, though don’t expect to see any motion controls like the Wii U or the PlayStation Move: to Gabe, the future is all in biometrics. While he didn’t go into specific detail, he did mention that biometrics are a good way with “adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways the player isn’t necessarily conscious of.” In other words, you can expect horror games to start measuring your heartbeat, so that the game can wait until the exactly right second to unveil that giant monstrous zombie that wants to eat your brains.

If you want to find out more about what Gabe had to say about the Steam Box, you can find the full interview here. Make sure you stop on by later, though, when our very own Chris Barr gets back from CES to report on his thoughts and overall feelings of Xi3’s Steam Box!

 

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