Valve has told Kotaku it doesn’t plan on creating a console any time soon, as its first step is getting Big Picture Mode out for Steam.
“We’re prepping the Steam Big Picture Mode UI and getting ready to ship that, so we’re building boxes to test that on,” said Valve’s Doug Lombardi. “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.”
The site notes Lombardi never said Valve wasn’t working on a console but the firm is not ruling out the possibility.
Boxes being used to test Big Picture are being built by Valve’s Greg Coomer, and pictures of said box have been posted online, leading some to believe they were prototype images of a Valve console.
“Greg’s one of the guys leading the effort of the Big Picture mode,” Lombardi said. “The idea is that you can take Steam to any display. What we’re trying to do is say: ‘Here’s a box that we’re going to use for testing that’s common for Big Picture mode and get performance at a base level.’… We’re always putting boxes together. Going all the way back to the Half-Life 1 days, we built special boxes to test our software render… it’s just part of development.”
The rumors regarding a supposed “Steam Box” started last year when Coomer posted an image of a finished mini-PC, with “i7 quad core, 8GB ram, Zotac Z-68 mobo w/ onnboard Nvidia mobile gfx” – matching specifications leaked to the Verge last weekend.
Coomer also previously mentioned “building a mini-ITX form factor PC is hard” but gave no indication if he was referencing something official.
Over the weekend, the Verge reported a source had told it Valve was readying a set-top box and its hardware and software specs would allow the long-awaited “Big Picture” mode announced at GDC last year to be played on televisions or any other large screen.
The source also claimed Valve wouldn’t charge developers a licensing fee to release games on the system, and it even said the box could support game controllers and sensors which pull the players biometric data into a game.
Schematics for the controller were posted by the Verge, which also noted the patent Valve filed last year for a “video game controller having user swapable control components.”