While some of you may have been a bit confused with the unveiling of the Xi3 Piston box which has been officially backed by Valve, we’re hear to remind you that it isn’t the ‘real’ Steambox. Gabe Newell confirmed earlier this week that a Valve-built Steambox from the company is definitely happening and will be based on the Linux operating system, but also with support for Windows if users need it. Following on from that, we’ve now heard that the Steambox may have three different price tiers and the lowest version could be a very attractive proposition indeed for console gamers who are now interested in converting to the PC scene whilst spending the least amount of money.
Prior to CES 2013, the Steambox was still very much a rumor but it looks like the arrival of the Piston box from Xi3 was the perfect time for Valve to make it clear that their own Steambox is a different product altogether and we’re guessing will be marketed as the the definitive PC box to own in 2013. Newell is not really known for his public appearances, but when speaking to TheVerge recently, he confirmed that their Steambox may even feature some biometric features and innovative controller inputs that should help to separate their product from other PC boxes from manufacturers that will inevitably look to emulate Valve’s product.
While it still could be a long time until we finally see the Steambox available to buy, Gabe Newell has surprisingly revealed very early that the box will have three pricing tiers – suggesting the categories as ‘good‘, ‘great‘ and ‘best.’ He then went one step further to state that the lowest Steambox could enter the market as low as $99, leading to the next version at $300 and then a premium model for those who want the best best experience possible.
A $99 Steambox that can play any Steam game obviously sounds good at first, but so far we do know the consequences that consumers will face by opting for the cheapest version. Hardware specs are obviously going to be at optimal level for the premium model, so does that mean a $99 Steambox won’t be able to play all games? These are questions that hopefully Newell will confirm at a later date, but it does make you wonder how the three versions will differ.
Either way, it looks like we are set for a major industry shakeup in 2013 and leading into 2014. The PS Vita may now be blown out of the water with NVIDIA’s Project Shield, while Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo now have their work cut out to convince consumers that their respective next-gen consoles will still be better than the upcoming onslaught of living-room PC boxes.
What are your initial thoughts on the Steambox? Are you prepared to quit home consoles for good if pricing is spot on for Valve’s box?