Is Valve getting into the hardware/console business?

by: John -
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Valve's got the digital distribution sector of the PC down pat with Steam. It's pretty much the go to service if you want to get a PC game digitally. Now, there's a report on The Verge that Valve's looking into producing a set top box for PC games as well.

The specs for the rumored box is pretty straight forward. It will have an i7 CPU, 8GB of ram, and a NVIDIA GPU. You would think it would come bundled with Steam of course, but the story says that competing services like EA' Origin would be available as well. If that's the case, I commend Valve for not locking it down to just one specific service like other companies do. If Origin would be available, I'm guessing GOG, GameFly, and others would be as well, but that would just be a guess.

The Verge also thinks that various USB peripherals with interchangeable parts might be in the equation as well. Valve did patent such a concept so having this as an option isn't out of the question. This would be something that really differentiate the product from others.

Time frame for an unveiling ranges from GDC this week to E3 in June. Who knows if this is true, but it would be a pretty interesting scenario should Valve decide to go this route. You would think they would have to price this competitively though with the consoles and that means around the $300 price range. Can a PC be made that runs games well with that price point and if so, I would highly consider purchasing a device to be used for more than just gaming.

I currently have a Windows 7 PC hooked up to my big screen to serve as a media center, but have done some gaming on there using a wireless mouse and keyboard setup. I also hook up wireless Xbox 360 controller via the Microsoft dongle when I do need it, but for those that don't want to do it themselves and want to play PC games on the big screen, this is something that's geared towards them.

Hopefully, more comes out of this in the next few weeks, but for all you Valve fans out there, I bet the only question you want answered is when's the next Half-Life coming. Unless, this console will debut with that installed on it, just like how Steam debuted with Half-Life 2.
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