While we still don’t know a whole lot about the Steam Box, Valve’s Gabe Newell explained much of the thinking and intent behind it in an exclusive interview to The Verge. While you should read the whole thing, there are a few key takeaways that give us more clues as to what Valve plan with the Steam Box.
First, while Valve are working with a lot of different hardware partners, they also plan on making their own Linux-based Steam Box. Newelll: “ ...If you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination.” It will use some streaming technology (Miracast or Grid, according to Newell) to pipe video out to different screens. So there’s the endgame for Big Picture mode.
Second, Newell claims that Valve want to loosen their control over the Steam store. Or, more accurately, there should be many different stores run by many different people. Newell explains, “Some people will create team stores, some people will creates Sony stores, some people will create stores with only games that they think meet their quality bar. Somebody is going to create a store that says ‘these are the worst games on Steam.’ So that’s an example of where our thinking is leading us right now.”
Third, Valve are experimenting with novel sorts of controllers and contemplating a move in to the mobile space. They are currently trying to figure out what they might want to do with multitouch and, oddly enough, it sounds like they also have a prototype of something akin to the WiiU’s tablet controller. Newell admits: “We’re trying to figure out where that’s useful.”
He also has some words about Nvidia’s Shield and, of course, a jab at Windows 8: “Windows 8 was like this giant sadness.”
But seriously, go read the full article, because Newell’s thinking about the future of the Steam store and user-generated content hints at exciting possibilities for changes the Steam Box could bring to PC gaming.