Speaking to the BBC, Valve’s Gabe Newell announced that the company is planning to start sending Steam Box prototypes to “customers” within the next “three or four months” to “gauge their reactions”. Newell didn’t reveal exactly how many of the prototype units they will be sending out, or who among their 50 million registered accounts will get one, but he did note that the hardware is not yet finalized.
“We’re working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it… There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it.”
Apparently, the main issue that is currently “holding up” development of the Steam Box is that the company has a “couple of different controller prototypes”, and they have not settled on exactly how the controller will work. The one thing that is clear, is that it Newell’s long-time fascination with biometric feedback will play some role in the Steam Box controller.
“If you think of a game like Left For Dead – which was trying to put you into a sort of horror movie – if you don’t change the experience of what the player is actually feeling then it stops being a horror game. So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is – what their heart rate is, things like that – in order to offer them a new experience each time they play.”
Although I’m not all that keen in actually owning Valve’s Steam Box, I am extremely interested to see what they come up with and how well it goes over with their existing consumers. Manufacturing and selling console-like hardware is a much different beast from what Valve is accustomed to. As such, there seems to be a real possibility that they might be overextending their business capabilities.
What do you think? Are you hyped for the Steam Box, or would you rather stick to Steam on your PC? Let us know in the comments below.