Gabe Newell, the leader of Valve, believes that all PC-based companies will launch new types of living room oriented hardware packages, which will allow them to compete directly with the next generation of gaming consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
The game developer tells Kotaku that, “I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that a better environment for them. Cause 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.”
Newell says that Valve has made a lot of progress in the development of its own living room based hardware solution, but he says that other companies will follow his company’s example during 2013.
“Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. 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,” he adds.
The ultimate aim is to create a set-top box kind of hardware that will allow gamers to run Steam and play video games using a controller.
Newell points to the success of the recently introduced Big Picture mode as a sign that the idea is well positioned in the marketplace and that players are ready for a device which takes it to the next level.
The PC is very customizable and allows users to control their own gaming experience and the new hardware solution from Valve will take away some of that freedom in order to introduce streamlining.
Neither Sony nor Microsoft has yet announced official plans for the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox 720.