Steam Box: Is Valve Working on a Console?

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Could gaming software titan Valve be getting into the hardware business? The makers of iconic games like Half Life and Portal and the creators of the gaming distribution program Steam are reportedly working on a hardware platform they could be announcing as early as this week’s Game Development Conference.

The rumor, reported by The Verge last Friday, puts Valve in an interesting position to shape the next generation of console gaming. The hardware’s presumed heavy integration with Steam would create a console store that Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store would have a lot of trouble keeping up with. PCWorld Editor Jason Cross actually discussed the advantages Steam has over other game and app stores on a recent episode of the Game On podcast.

The Verge speculates that Valve’s console would feature upgradable hardware that used biometrics in some way along with a proprietary controller that let you swap out components depending on game type. Valve filed a patent for just such a controller last year.

This is all in line with Valve president Gabe Newell’s comments in a recent interview with the PA Report. In the interview Newell confirmed that the company had some exciting plans ahead with biometrics in games, and even confirmed that the company was looking into the hardware space saying simple “well, if we have to sell hardware we will.”

Without any actual confirmation, this is simply remains a rumor. But we may find out what (if anything) Valve has in store soon. Rumor has it that Valve was already setting up meetings about their new console at CES and is planning to reveal the hardware either at this week’s GDC or at E3 this summer. We’ll let you know here at Game On as soon as we hear more.

[via The Verge]

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