The rumors about Steam Box – a console-like system powered by Valve's popular digital distribution platform Steam may turn out to be true after all. Speaking to Kotaku recently Valve co-founder and top executive Gabe Newell said that custom PC packages featuring Steam that can go head-to-head with Sony and Microsoft will start shipping in the early part of 2013.
"Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," Newell said. "If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room."
Earlier this month Valve launched Big Picture mode, a special version of Steam that can run on high definition television sets that also provides support for the use of a controller. Newell also hinted that it is already working on an updated Steam engine that would be capable of working on next-generation consoles. The likelihood of Microsoft and Sony cooperating with them on this seems impossible.
No word on what the special hardware they are developing would use for an operating system, but one would guess that Linux or Android and not a Microsoft OS like Windows 8 would be used – given Newell's very public disdain for that OS.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.