When Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed his company’s plans to build a Steam console last December, we learned that it would feature a somewhat different design architecture than the traditional “box” units of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Even though the hardware will compete against the Big Three’s next-gen offerings (and even though fans have taken to calling it the “Steam Box”), Newell vaguely described it as a “PC for the living room,” a system that culled PC-centric functionalities into a more streamlined, controlled, approachable-for-the-living-room-masses interface.
Confused a bit? So are we. But a new report has emerged painting a schedule for when we can expect to learn more on Valve’s Steam console, and it also claims the device will run the Linux operating system.
The details reportedly come from Ben Krasnow, a Valve electronics engineer who spoke last month at the EHSM 2012 conference in Berlin. According German technology website Golem.de, Krasnow confirmed that Valve’s console will be revealed fully in 2013 — either at GDC 2013 (March 25-March 29) or E3 2013 (June 11-13) — and that it will eschew Windows OS support in favor of the open-source Linux.
Given Gabe Newell’s noted animosity towards Microsoft’s operating system — he issued some, shall we say pointed remarks about Windows 8 last July — it’s hardly a shock that it would be locked out of the Steam Box. But the decision also illustrates part of Newell’s vision for the future of interactive entertainment. Whether it’s Valve’s console, Nvidia’s newly announced handheld, “Project Shield,” or Boxer8′s crowd-funding-success-story, Ouya, the next generation may further establish open-source operating systems as a viable platform for marquee developers — one on par with the traditional PC or the longstanding console coterie of Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo.
Linux shouldn’t prove too difficult for Valve’s hardware engineers, either; Steam has been running on the operating system for a full six-months now, and the upcoming console intends to integrate its television-optimized Big Picture Mode.
How do you see Linux shaping Valve’s Steam console?
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