Valve engineer confirms Linux-based Steambox for 2013, could appear at GDC or E3

#1
German site Golem.de attended a conference on the 29th of December where Ben Krasnow, Valve electronics engineer, talked ( among other stuff) about the company's plans for a Linux-based console. Here are the main takeaways from the article:

- Valve's console will launch in 2013
- It will use Linux, not Windows
- Valve's hardware labs will reveal other stuff in 2013 (possibly controllers? VR?)
- Krasnow has been working on Valve hardware with Jeri Ellsworth since 2011
- Possible reveal at GDC, Phoronix thinks that E3 is more likely

The article is in German so it would be great if a german GAFer could translate.

Edit: Translation of the important bits, courtesy of Yoshi:

Steam Box without Windows

the Valve developed PC-game-console Steam Box will seemingly be based in Linux, not Windows. And it's not the only exciting hardware project, that Valve will present in 2013.

It doesn't come off as a huge surprise, considering that Valve-boss Gabe Newell views Windows 8 as a catastrophe: Steam Box will not be based on Windows, but on Linux instead. this was confirmed by Ben Krasnow, one of Valves hardware developers, when inquired on this topic. With that, the Linux client for Valves download and community platform Steam, which is currently in its Beta phase, gets an all new background because of this - especially as Linux will also support the big-picture-mode.

(some blurb on what Big Picture is and what Krasnow is doing in his free time and that Valve is also working on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality projects.)

But according to him, there's more than just the introduction of the Steam Box: "the hardware lab has some secret projects that will be released in 2013. We have a good groop of electronic- and mechanics-engineers and we are glad to build some really cool things", says Krasnow. In summer 2012 Valve's higher ups crticised a frustrating lack of innovation in the area of computer hardware - in a job offer. In that they also wrote: "... we want to change this."

So it's going to be exciting, if there will already be a concrete announcement on the GDC 2013 from March 25th till March 29th 2013 in San Francisco, or if we will have to wait until the US-trade show E3 2013, which is going to take place in Las Vegas from June 11th till June 13th 2013.

Sony Computer Entertainment, Nintendo and Microsoft might well get some serious competition from the PC sector - while Ouya is attacking from the mobile side with the Android console of the same name Ouya.
Links:

Original link (in german)

Google Translate version
 
#3
Isn't Steam's vast library its greatest strength though? Having a limited Linux selection wouldn't be very appealing.
 

RoboPlato

I'd be in the dick
#8
Looking forward to this if the price is right. Hopefully they'll still release stuff on other consoles as well.

The Linux based part kills a lot of my hype though. I want to be able to play other stuff than the limited Linux Steam selection.
 
#10
If it's Linux based, doesn't that mean only a few dozen games?

I think Valve probably has most of the popular titles Linux ready but maybe they're saving it for an announcement.
 
#14
Well of course now that I finally made the jump into pc gaming and I'd like Valve to be 100% focused on delivering great software/games they go on to spending their time and resources releasing a console hahaha
 
#17
IT'S HAPPENING!



Really excited to learn more details. As if the wait for March wasn't long enough already because of Monster Hunter 3G...

Well of course now that I finally made the jump into pc gaming and I'd like Valve to be 100% focused on delivering great software/games they go on to spending their time and resources releasing a console hahaha
People aren't being pulled off of games to work on this.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
#29
If Valve makes the transition away from Windows more than likely more companies might join them. Imagine if Half Life 3 is Linux only.
Absolutely will not happen. Valve may have a love affair with Linux due to Windows 8, but the company isn't going to alienate its millions upon millions of fans by making the third mainline entry in its flagship FPS franchise exclusive to a "new" platform.
 
#30
I pray that PC\Steambox crossplatform multiplayer is common. The idea is interesting but it does make me a little nervous, for both Valve and it's impact on the PC platform.
 
#31
Absolutely not. Valve may have a love affair with Linux due to Windows 8, but the company isn't going to alienate its millions upon millions of fans by making the third mainline entry in its flagship FPS franchise exclusive to a "new" platform.
No but it could encourage adoption by giving early access.
 
#33
Games will be ported to their linux distro without big problems.

I think that, during the years, a good part of the past library will be available on linux
 
#35
Isn't Steam's vast library its greatest strength though? Having a limited Linux selection wouldn't be very appealing.
I'm guessing most, if not all, controller based games will work on this device on day one. Since that is the target market.

Of course, if Valve has some sort keyboard/mouse type controller in the works to use on your sofa that would be amazing.
 
#36
If it uses Linux, isn't that going to limit what games can run on it significantly? Guess we will see but my hype is a bit diminished now.
 
#37
Linux-based ?

This thing is DOA. No way big publishers are going to port their games to the Steambox in that case unless Valve offers something significant in exchange.
 
#44
translating, always updating when I have a new section finished.

Steam Box without Windows

the Valve developed PC-game-console Steam Box will seemingly be based on Linux, not Windows. And it's not the only exciting hardware project, that Valve will present in 2013.

It doesn't come off as a huge surprise, considering that Valve-boss Gabe Newell views Windows 8 as a catastrophe: Steam Box will not be based on Windows, but on Linux instead. this was confirmed by Ben Krasnow, one of Valves hardware developers, when inquired on this topic. With that, the Linux client for Valves download and community platform Steam, which is currently in its Beta phase, gets an all new background because of this - especially as Linux will also support the big-picture-mode.

(some blurb on what Big Picture is and what Krasnow is doing in his free time and that Valve is also working on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality projects.)

But according to him, there's more than just the introduction of the Steam Box: "the hardware lab has some secret projects that will be released in 2013. We have a good groop of electronic- and mechanics-engineers and we are glad to build some really cool things", says Krasnow. In summer 2012 Valve's higher ups crticised a frustrating lack of innovation in the area of computer hardware - in a job offer. In that they also wrote: "... we want to change this."

So it's going to be exciting, if there will already be a concrete announcement on the GDC 2013 from March 25th till March 29th 2013 in San Francisco, or if we will have to wait until the US-trade show E3 2013, which is going to take place in Las Vegas from June 11th till June 13th 2013.

Sony Computer Entertainment, Nintendo and Microsoft might well get some serious competition from the PC sector - while Ouya is attacking from the mobile side with the Android console of the same name Ouya.

So not a lot of concrete things there...
 
#48
If it uses Linux, isn't that going to limit what games can run on it significantly? Guess we will see but my hype is a bit diminished now.
Not if people develop games for Linux.

I'm sure if there was a device which was available to consumers to purchase that made Linux simple -- something like a Steambox, maybe -- then that would make it an attractive platform for developers. People who think Linux doesn't have games because it's Linux are being really shortsighted here. And to be honest, not having access to my entire Steam library on this thing isn't a big deal. Backwards compatibility will probably be similar to how it was done on Xbox 360 this generation: done on a game-by-game basis using an emulator, though in Steam's case, it'll probably be a WINE wrapper of some sort. You'll never get 100% of games running on Linux for one reason or another, but Windows game compatibility in Linux is constantly improving.

What new games it has going forward will sink or float this device.
 
#50
Linux-based ?

This thing is DOA. No way big publishers are going to port their games to the Steambox in that case unless Valve offers something significant in exchange.
Valve did hint at working on a (powerful?) toolkit for porting DirectX games to OpenGL in one of their Steam for Linux blog entries.