Somebody better get Gordon Freeman on the phone and stop the presses – Valve is shooting down rumors surrounding a major company project. This time, it’s in a much less acrimonious manner than keeping Steam groups in the dark on Half-Life 2: Episode Three or Half-Life 3. But needless to say, fans looking for a challenger to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s reputable console brands in the next generation might have to throw down their chips on someone else.
Earlier this month, the Rumor Patrol encountered reports that the Half-Life and Steam creators were developing a “Steam-box” for their digital distribution service with all the bells and whistles needed to square off against a Wii U, PS4, or “Durango.” Allegedly, the console would be an OnLive hybrid of sorts that would run digital PC titles and incorporate a biometric scanning device – sans the crutch of slamming developers and publishers with licensing fees. It was a believable premise with
equally semi-equally believable reporting – but according to Valve, it’s better to keep dreaming.
Speaking to Kotaku, Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi said that the rumors just don’t add up, and posited instead that they stem from Valve’s development of the Steam Big Picture User Interface:
“We’re prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we’re building boxes to test that on. We’re also doing a bunch of different experiments with biometric feedback and stuff like that, which we’ve talked about a fair amount.”
“All of that is stuff that we’re working on, but it’s a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware.”
Lombardi later went on to explain how, going all the way back to Half-Life 1, Valve has used prototype boxes to test software under their development. He wouldn’t rule out a Valve console at some point in the company’s distant future, but was adamant that nothing would be shown at GDC, E3, or any time soon.
Bear in mind the company we’re talking about, though. Lombardi’s explanation seems to resemble an airtight alibi against the console allegations, but for a group that’s been widely accused of trolling fans on Half-Life 3 and embracing the subsequent criticism for it, it’s impossible to be 100% sure on any sort of speculation or info dissemination.
On the bright side, we did gain some insight about the upcoming Big Picture UI, which aims to adapt the overwhelmingly successful Steam service for today’s big screen TV displays. We should be hearing more details about it soon – maybe even at GDC – and it could become the next feather in recent Forbes billionaire Gabe Newell’s gold-trimmed hat.
Ranters, do you think the Valve console reports were premature, or is Valve simply building up a crafty cover story? Would you like to see someone compete with Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo in the next generation?
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