Game developer Valve, working with Nvidia and the Xi3 Corporation, has plans for a home-based console for its library of games available on the Steam Network.
Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are the three giants when it comes to console gaming. Sony has the Playstation 3, Microsoft has the Xbox 360, and Nintendo has the Wii. Also, Sony and Microsoft have plans on new consoles. However, those two companies could find themselves facing potential competition from the Valve Corporation which is known for its popular “Half-Life” and “Portal” franchises. Valve currently has its own online network where you can purchase and download games which is called “Steam.” It's similar to the Playstation Network (PSN) for the Playstation 3 (PS3) & Playstation Vita (PSV) and the Xbox Marketplace for the Xbox 360.
Back in mid-December 2012, in a TIME Magazine article, Valve admitted plans on releasing a home-based console to distribute Steam games. In short, it's a console that lets you play games in the Steam library. Back in that article, there was the possibility that this “Steam Box” would be using the Linux operating system (OS). Machinima, in a recently uploaded video, reports that Linux is confirmed to be the OS.
Back to the TIME article, it explains the importance of a Steam console. Since you can purchase digital copies of games from the Steam Network, there's no need to pre-order games let alone head to an actual store to buy the disc or cartridge. Through Steam, you download and be done with it. You don't have to make a trip to any store such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and so forth. Another reason explained is that Steam focuses mainly on games. If you're an independent game developer, Steam gives you a means to distribute easily with necessary exposure.
In a recent article on Gamasutra, the Steam Box is going by the codename of “Piston.” Also reported by Gamasutra, a possible prototype is to be displayed at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013. Also reported, Valve is in a collaboration with the Xi3 Corporation in the creation of this new console. Keep in mind, this “Steam Box” aka “Piston” is still being in development.
IGN reports that this Steam Box could be revealed at either the Game Developers Conference which is in March or the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) come in June.
Back to the Machinima video, Valve is also going to be working with Nvidia in regards to the Steam Box. It mentioned that this console would have to work with either Nvidia or AMD in regards for the video processing.
Also, Nvidia has unveiled its portable gaming console nicknamed “Project Shield” which operates on the Android operating system (OS). It is reported that Project Shield will let you stream, from a PC, games from your Steam Network library. In this respect, the partnership between Valve and Nvidia could provide formidable competition to Sony and Microsoft. Ultimately, if released out to the markets, there is the question to ask: How will this “Steam Box” measure up to the new consoles that will be released by Sony and Microsoft?