Newell: Valve designing its own living room PC

Newell: Valve designing its own living room PC
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

December 10th 2012 at 6:20AM

Steam's Big Picture mode could see PCs competing with consoles for the living room

Valve is planning on releasing its own gaming PC hardware as early as next year, Gabe Newell has said.

The new Steam Big Picture mode brings the PC experience to TVs, which seemed to explain rumors circulating earlier this year about a "Steam Box" console from Valve.

In an interview with Kotaku, Newell confirmed his company's rumored console experiment was exactly what big picture mode makes possible - a PC custom built to take advantage of Big Picture mode.

"I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that a better environment for them," said Newell.

"They won't have to split the world into thinking about 'why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?' So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments."

The reaction to Big Picture mode has been better than expected, and Newell said Valve's next step is to get it working on Steam for Linux.

Once the Linux version is complete Valve will use that additional flexibility io design its own hardware solution for a living-room PC that could compete with big-name consoles.

The implications are staggering; if Newell is right, such a system could be on the market before the next-generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony.

Not only that, his statements imply Valve will be using a Linux-based system for its hardware.

Customers need not even wait that long - those who own a PC could simply hook it up to their TV now.

Newell expects this will be a popular solution, but that many companies, not just Valve, are going to begin building their own machines.

"We'll do it but we also think other people will as well," says Newell.

The Valve PC won't be quite as flexible as a traditional desktop, but the strength of big picture mode is that it makes any PC a viable solution for living-room entertainment.

"Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment," said Newell.

"If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room.

"The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them."