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Valve dismisses Steam Box rumours

But marketing director Doug Lombardi won't rule out Valve hardware in the future

Valve's marketing director Doug Lombardi has squashed reports that Valve is developing a PC-console hybrid, Kotaku reports.

The "Steam Box" rumours began with an article on The Verge, which described an open platform in the vein of Google's Android with Steam as its core UI.

The article indicated that the actual hardware would be made by various partners, but Valve had constructed a sample spec similar to the Alienware X51 as a yardstick for developers.

However, Lombardi claims that the hardware in question was built to test Steam's Big Picture mode, a new interface that will enable people to use Steam on television sets and other displays.

"All of that is stuff that we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware," he 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 days, we built special boxes to test our software render... it's just part of development."

All of that is stuff we're working on, but it's a long way from Valve shipping any sort of hardware

Doug Lombardi, Valve Corporation

However, while the recent Steam Box rumour may be nothing more than smoke and mirrors, when Kotaku suggested that Valve was not ruling out its presence in the hardware market in the long-term, Lombardi agreed.

"I think that's accurate," he said.

This is consistent with comments made by Gabe Newell in an interview with Penny Arcade. Valve's managing director asserted that if nobody else was going to innovate with PC hardware, the company was prepared to step in.

"We have no reason to believe we're any good at it," he said. "It's more we think that we need to continue to have innovation and if the only way to get these kind of projects started is by us going and developing and selling the hardware directly then that's what we'll do."

Newell was recently included in Forbes Magazine's annual billionaires list for the first time. The article estimated Newell's personal wealth at $1.5 billion, and Valve's value at $3 billion.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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