According to a report from German site Golem.de, the Steam Box (such as it has been dubbed by the community) will officially debut this year. However, to be honest I can’t find any supporting information in the report to back this up. Granted, I am looking through the crusty, foggy lens of Google Translate here, but it seems like the original article is just kinda supposing that as fact.
Not that it’s an uneducated guess. The gaming environment is aching for a new platform, as evidenced by the scads of Android consoles. If Valve can debut hardware that feels like a safer bet against all the bizarre, middle-market hardware platforms coming out, it’ll be much easier to get business partnerships.
Plus, all of 2013’s gaming events remain for large announcements. GDC seems ripe.
The other half of the report is at least sourced to a living human being. Valve Mechanical and Electrical Engineer Ben Krasnow mentioned at EHSM 2012 in Berlin that the Steam Box will run Linux, which we already speculated would be the case. This means they can avoid the licensing cost of an OS with the hardware and keep the financial ecosystem with as few players as possible. Proceeds from game sales would just be between Valve, the developer, and the publisher.
Of course, this means that the biggest Windows-only games wouldn’t be playable on the Steam Box, but I’m guessing that’s not the point of the hardware.
The adoption of Linux as an OS jives with Valve Co-Founder Gabe Newell’s negative sentiments towards Windows 8. Then again, he’d be understandably negative on any additional digital marketplace that is poised to compete with his own.