Valve, the world’s most successful online retailer of PC games, has made no secret of its desire to participate in the console wars and encroach upon hitherto unexplored territory. Earlier this year, it announced SteamOS and its own controller.
With the introduction of its Steam Machine prototype, Valve has taken one step closer towards invading the console space and mixing it up with industry giants Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
Some sources have already shown photos of the Steam Machine prototype. Judging by the available photographs, it should look at home amongst the typical denizens of a typical end-user’s entertainment center.
Perhaps unique amongst its intended competition, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, Valve’s Steam Machine will be available with different hardware configurations. One source says that, as far as graphical performance goes, “the graphics cards run the gamut from an Nvidia GTX660 to a Titan.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, this will also mean that not all Steam games will be playable on every Steam Box.
Per Polygon, the Steam Box’s cooling is one of Valve’s design priorities. Accordingly, the Steam Box’s interior is divided into separate zones, with optimized airflow into and out of these different interior zones.
Businessweek has also revealed that Valve is developing relationships with music and movie content providers to stream content directly onto its new console. This keeps the Steam Box in lock-step with its next-gen competitors from Sony and Microsoft, both of which will be launching their new products in just a few short weeks.
Valve is expected to announce even more details of its new gaming console at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and it is expected to start selling sometime in 2014. When it finally hits store shelves, the already-hot console wars are expected to hit thermonuclear levels.