Software company Valve wants to get into the hardware game.The firm, which is one of the few studios that still specializes in hardcore PC games, has posted a job listing for someone with an expertise in product hardware, suggesting that the company wants to create its own video game console.
This gives even further credence to rumors that Valve wants to expand the presence of its digital distribution platform, Steam.
Steam is by all measures the pioneer of digital downloads for computer games. After several years of being the main destination for gamers who want instant access to new games, it has locked up content deals with virtually every major game publisher.
For a while, it was essentially the only player in the downloadable PC game market. Sure, there were other platforms out there but if you wanted to be able to play a high-profile, brand new PC game and you wanted to start playing in minutes, Steam has been pretty much your only option.
In the past couple years, though, Steam has had to deal with new competing platforms. Most recently, EA, one of the largest publishers in the world, launched its own digital download platform called Origin. In an effort to drive new customers to its platform, EA stopped delivering content to Steam, a move that many are still upset about.
And then there’s Onlive, which can best be described as Netflix for gaming. Onlive’s main draw is a set-top box that players can connect to their TV and have instant access to games that are stored on the cloud. The company offers a monthly subscription service that gives gamers unlimited access to a wide selection of titles.
Onlive also has a pay-per-game structure with a library that has come to rival that of Steam. So now Steam is apparently trying to break into the set-top market as well. Theverge.com reports that a “Steam Box” is in production that would allow PC gamers to take their favorite games and play them on a TV.
According to previous reports, the “Steam box” would have an Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, an Nvidia graphics card, and a customizable controller that could be adjusted based on game type.
There’s no word in when it will be available or how much it will cost, but it could shake up the market significantly.