Should You Build Your Own Steambox?

Introduction


Steambox has been a topic of much debate in the PC gaming community, promising a more gamer-centric PC experience, removing the need for the Windows operating system by providing you with a free alternative, while also bringing PC gaming into the casual mainstream, much like consoles, only a lot better.

It’s been an ambition of mine to buy a Steambox, simply because “why not” and while that’s all good and well, there’s not really a lot of options out there that I’m happy with. A few system integrators have released beta-systems, but what I would like to call a “final product” still seems to be sitting on the horizon. What if we could simply do it ourselves? A Steambox is just a PC with a fancy Linux Distro installed on it anyway…

I’ve picked out a few choice components to build my own Steambox, nothing crazy expensive or overly powerful, but more than enough to provide good 1080p gaming performance. I’m sure many of you love to bash consoles from time to time, so we’ll just round that up with “it’s going to be more powerful than consoles.”

SteamBox – Building Your Own HTPC Gaming System

Introduction


There has been a lot of talk in the last year about SteamBox, but at the end of 2014, very little, if anything was shown that really brought this into the hands of consumers. There’s a few systems from system integrators such as iBuyPower and CyberPower that are designed “like” a SteamBox, but Valve have yet to put their official units to market.

Now let’s not get carried away, because chances are that you’re reading this article from a PC, or that you at least own a PC. If you own a PC, congratulations! You own a SteamBox. All SteamBox is, is some clever marketing for a gaming PC, the main difference being the operating system. Valve have been working on their own version of Linux that essentially boots to Steam instead of a normal desktop, much in the same way an Xbox One boots to a dashboard rather than Windows; this is something you can achieve yourself.

I want to game on the big screen!

If you’re eager to break away from your desk and start gaming in the living room, or any other room of the house for that matter, then you’ve likely been enticed by the SteamBox concept. The HTPC gaming system market is booming right now and while there are great systems out there, it can be great fun building your own.

You’ll need to pick the right hardware for your budget, while also trying to balance things such as system heat and acoustics; this rig is going to be in your living room after all. Fortunately, we’ve already tested a bunch of chassis’ for this very task, which you can check out here in our Best Chassis For Steambox feature. Today, let’s see if we can get plenty of bang for our buck with a budget of around £800.

The Best Chassis for Steambox/HTPC Style Gaming Systems

Introduction


Steambox is certainly grabbing a lot of headlines throughout 2014, with system integrators (such as CyberPower) creating their own custom Steambox style systems, and chassis manufacturers creating new cases that are suitable for the job. Of course, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding Steambox, but we’re going to blow away any doubt and get you up to speed on what a Steambox is and how you can do it.

First thing is first, Steambox is a PC, nothing less and nothing more. What we’re really looking at here is a clever rebranding by Valve to make HTPC gaming sound cool. Of course, it really is cool and credit goes to Valve for creating something that is appealing to both mainstream console gamers, as much as it is PC gamers. The major difference for Steambox is the introduction of SteamOS, which is still in beta, but once again all that really is a Linux distro designed to launch Steam as the native desktop. This may sound a little complicated for some, but don’t worry as I’ll be revisiting this subject over the next couple of weeks to bring you up to speed on how it all works, how you can build your own, set everything up and more.

While much of the fun stuff is certainly contained within the games you’ll be playing, let’s start things off nice and easy and find out about the chassis you’ll be using. There are lots of great PC chassis’ on the market, but I’ve picked up a bunch that I thought would be ideal for the job and today I’m going to put them to the test. I’ll be looking for several key factors from each chassis, their price, form factor, hardware/component compatibility, built quality, acoustic performance and thermal performance.

The chassis’ I’ve picked are quite varied, and I’m hoping to find something suitable for each budget from each of these.

  • Silverstone GD05
  • BitFenix Phenom Micro-ATX
  • Corsair 250D
  • Thermaltake Urban SD1
  • Silverstone SG09
  • Cooler Master Elite 130

I’ll also be using my Lian Li test bench to get open-air results of the thermal performance on our CPU and GPU.

Silverstone’s Latest NAS, HTPC & SteamBox-Style Chassis On Display At CeBIT 2014

Here we are once again at CeBIT 2014 with more great coverage from some of the top manufactures from around the world. Silverstone are already highly regarded for their attention to detail and innovation and the new cases on display at the show are no exception. First up we have the lovely new SG08-Lite (top left) which features an bold exterior design, extensive ventilation for keeping your GPU and other components cool, a slot loading optical drive bay, ATX PSU support and room for a mini-ITX motherboard.

Next to that we have on of the coolest cases on the market today, the RVZ01 gaming chassis (2nd from left) which features room for a large GPU and plenty of storage thanks to its innovative design. We actually reviewed this case recently, so if you would like to know more you can check out the full review here (spoiler: It’s awesome).

Next in line we have the DS260 mini-ITX chassis (below), easily our favourite Silverstone product at CeBIT 2014. It features a thick aluminium construction and despite only being a mock-up it’s already looking superb. It features a hybrid design that makes it ideal for a mini-ITX style system, but it’s real purpose in life is as a NAS box.

Aside from feature a sturdy chassis which features carry handle style side panels, you’ll also find tabbed hard drive bays which can be lifted out right from the top of the case. If you’re in need of a case that allows quick and easy hard drive swaps then you’re going to love this. If you need to do mass backups, file transfers, or need very flexible storage then the DS260 may very well be one of the best choices on the market for a self-build NAS system.

The new GD09 is a serious power house for those wanting to build a mighty HTPC style build, although I guess there is no reason why you couldn’t use it for a desktop based system dependant on your requirements and preferences. It is compatible with ATX motherboards, ATX PSU’s, multiple large graphics cards (just like any other ATX sized chassis), features plenty of air filters, fan mounts and everything else you would expect from a high-end Silverstone product.

If your space requirements are a little more limited, the ML06 features support for mini-ITX motherboards, but still features plenty of ventilation, dust filters and side inputs for USB 3.0 and HD Audio that make it an ideal compact solution for a HTPC or space-saving desktop system.

ML06 not small enough for you? Then check out their gorgeous new range of PT14 NUC style cases, which feature passive CPU cooling designs that range from eSATA storage compatibility in the smaller ones, to full 3.5″ hard drive support of the larger models, making them great for digital advertising, HTPC, media streaming, or just a powerful, yet compact system that you can take with you with ease.

We’ve got plenty more to share with you from CeBIT 2014 and even more from the Silverstone booth, we will be back shortly with coverage of some of their larger chassis products, as well as other accessories.

The “Best of CES 2014” Awards

After visiting CES in Las Vegas, we made it a priority to find the best products that were being unveiled to the market for this year. We went to CES 2014 not expecting too much other than 4K on an affordable level and more consumer level products that are aimed at home and lifestyle and for the most part, this is exactly what we saw.

For us however, components are more important to us and this is what we want to focus our awards on, so after visiting many various companies and a whole load of exciting booths and suites, we have got together to discuss the very best components that were shown at CES. This can range anything from chassis to power supplies to full systems. We also recognise SSD’s, memory, portable chargers, mobile devices and much more and with this in mind, here are our best picks and lucky winners of the Best of CES 2014 award:

Luxa2 P-Mega 41600mAh Power Bank

We’ve seen the LUXA2 P-MEGA before at Computex 2013 in prototype form, but now that it is coming to retail, we managed to see the final product and with such a unique idea and extreme power, it certainly impressed us from the start. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

Thermaltake Urban T81 Chassis

We checked out the Urban T81 chassis from Thermaltake and was extremely impressed by some of its features including the double side door and the ability to mount hard drives and SSDs on the side. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Hybrid Wireless Mouse

The Level 10 brand has always demanded a premium stance in the market, and for a very good reason with its unique styling and plentiful feature set. Working on the success of the Level 10 M mouse, Tt eSPORTS have taken it one step further by adding wireless functionality. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

CyberPowerPC Steam Machine

A big thing at CES was the unveiling of Steam Machines from a variety of brands, but CyberPowerPC’s version really impressed us with the styling, design and the ability to add a GTX Titan into the mix. The other highlight is the starting price of $499 USD which was very enticing. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

CyberPowerPC Fang BattleBox

Another item that CyberPower were keen to show off was their Fang BattleBox. This caught our eye due to its unique styling and the idea behind it, in terms of being transported easily making it a fantastic choice for LAN events and social gaming. You can see more in our CES coverage here.

With our first ever Best of CES award, we’re keen to carry on this tradition with future events so keep your eyes peeled in June when Computex 2014 is the hot topic and we take a look at what’s on offer in Taiwan.

Alienware’s Steam Machine To Be Released This September

Personally I can’t say I’m a big fan of Alienware, I’ve often found them to be seriously overpriced given their specifications, but I do understand that there is a market for them given that not everyone knows how to, or can be bothered to build their own system. However, their SteamBox which was revealed at CES 2014 does look fantastic and I have to give them credit for their design. Of course, you know as well as I do that Steam Machine or SteamBox is just a clever marketing term for a normal PC with a different OS.

During the recent Valve Steam Dev Days Conference in Seattle, Alienware announced their their little box of gaming joy will feature some form of Haswell chip, given that Haswell will be getting a refresh later this year, we can only assume it will be one of the newer chips, not a current one. Alienware promise the system will “perform on par with a gaming notebook”, which is no bad thing, given that many gaming notebooks on the market today are impressive gaming machines in their own right.

The company will be aiming to hit several market segments, most likely a vague way of saying we’ll sell some cheaper models as well as some high end / more expensive models. The final date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Dell have said that they’re targeting a September release, so stay tuned in the coming months for more details on the hardware and price of the latest SteamBox to join the party.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

eTeknix CES 2014 – Cyberpower PC SteamBox

Here we are one again at CES 2014 and we are back once again with more content from Cyberpower PC. Today we are taking a closer look at their latest prototype system, a SteamBox. With Valve and their gaming platform Steam trying to make a big push into the living room, system integrators such as Cyberpower PC are working hard to make gaming PC’s that are more desirable in a world that has become more accustomed to putting consoles under their TV.

As you can see from the specifications below, the first prototype is no slouch, they have two options currently available that cater to both AMD and Nvidia options. No point in beating around the bush though, we all know that SteamBox is just a buzz word for a fairly normal PC, so they’re just as upgradable and configurable as any other PC, but the real selling point will be price, performance and of course design.

The Cyberpower PC features a nice high contrast black and white design, there is plenty of ventilation around the sides to feed the GTX 760 that is hiding inside.

Around the back you’ll see a fairly standard setup with the motherboard I/O, PSU power connection for the SFX PSU which is tucked away inside the chassis, and of course the back of the graphics card.

It’s a great looking system from every angle, sleeks looks that are not what you would expect from a prototype, it’s clear that they’ve been working hard on this one.

There are going to be plenty of options out there for Steambox from Cyberpower PC, another one they’ve been looking at is the RV01 chassis from Silverstone (which we’ll have a full review of very soon).

We’re really looking forward to the SteamBox and the Cyberpower PC system’s we have seen here today are easily our favourites. There is still a little work to be done on their development and they’re planning on changing the PSU and finalising the other specs, as well as detailing their customisation options in terms of specs and performance. We look forward to getting one in for review as soon as possible where we will be eager to test its performance.

If you want to take a closer look at what the system has to offer, check out our quick video below from the Cyberpower PC suite here in Las Vegas.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/lNFesBCvBs4[/youtube]

SteamBox Tear Down In YouTube Walkthrough Video

SteamBox’s have been in users hands for almost a week now and we’ve been loving all the gameplay videos, OS walkthrough and tear downs that users have been uploading to YouTube. One of our favourite so far is this one below, where the user dismantles the system to show us all of the interior components.

As you can see we’ve got a pretty standard HTPC setup, there is an SFX SPU in there, Nvidia graphics card, low profile CPU cooler, Asus motherboard and some pretty neat and tidy cable routing too. The hard drive is easily removed, but there is also room for a 2nd hard drive in the system should users want to upgrade storage.

This is exactly what Valve want people to do, hack it, tweak it, upgrade it, strip it down. Some users have installed Windows, made Hackintosh systems, dual booted, over clocked and more! And I can’t think of a better way to find out the limitations of your hardware than to give them to 300 eager PC gamers who simply cannot resist taking the thing apart.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/xVkas2E3NAg[/youtube]

Thank you PC Gamer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PC Gamer.

 

Beta Tester Gives SteamBox Video Walkthrough

It’s only been in the hands of the beta testers a couple of days, but initial impressions of SteamOS and the SteamBox are pretty good. Some users have been opening up the console to give a look at the internals, we’ve seen gameplay videos and more, but this user has been nice enough to give us a proper tour of the OS and functionality of the console… he also has a dog chewing a squeaky toy in the background by the sounds of it.

There are a lot of similarities to Steams Big Screen mode, but without the added layer of Windows, it’s quick and easy to use and offers a great alternative to those who simply want to game on their rigs, or a cheaper alternative (in terms of the OS) compared to buying a 2nd copy of Windows for your living room gaming system.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/DZ0WuFcUPCg[/youtube]

Personally I would rather build my own SteamBox, any tech minded gamer knows they’re just pre-built PC’s with the OS pre-installed, any PC can be a SteamBox. I do however think that Valve are onto something and this could be one of the biggest changes in the PC gaming market in many years. Will you be buying or building a SteamBox? Or are you only interesting in SteamOS?

[youtube]http://youtu.be/IC2go6LiDco[/youtube]

Thank you Pocket Lint for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Pocket Lint.

SteamBox Unboxed! [video]

The first Steam machines have been dispatched to 300 lucky beta testers (Damn you, you lucky buggers!) And while we would love to get our hands on one for testing, we can at least enjoy a sweet taste of what Valve have to offer thanks to this unboxing video.

The user in the video shows the special crate that the system are shipped in, as well as the hardware that comes bundled with it. As many of you know, the SteamBox is just a PC with a custom form factor, designed to run SteamOS and allow people a more attractive method of playing PC games in their living room, or just on the big screen, an alternative to Windows based PC gaming.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/jXCbdn00pKY[/youtube]

Will you be saving up for a SteamBox next year, or do you plan on building your own?

Thank you Dualshockers for providing us with this information.

SteamOS Being Released For Download Today!

As of today (December 13th 2013) you will be able to download SteamOS and have a tinker around with it. However, it is early days and Valve have warned that only experienced Linux users should bother, as at the moment it is no doubt rough around the edges, not the smooth and usable end product that will be released some time next year.

Of course I doubt that will stop many people, but this really is the first steps for the new OS, it will take time for more developers to port titles to it, Valve need to work out bugs, features will be missing, functionality will no doubt be poor right now too, so don’t be quick to judge its performance just yet.

Valve says that the operating system “combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen” and it is great to see one of this years coolest announcements coming into reality, now all we need are some kickass steam boxes and Valve will be well on their way to world domination.

The OS isn’t available just yet, but keep an eye on the official site for more information later today – store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/

Thank you Videogamer for providing us with this information.

BitFenix Phenom Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


BitFenix have had something of a winning streak when it comes to small form factor chassis, we loved their Prodigy chassis when we reviewed it last year, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be as big and popular as it has become. However, BitFenix has been slow to move forward from the Prodigy, only releasing new colour schemes for it despite demand for new features. This isn’t a bad thing of course as it has proven successful for them, but I’ve been eager to see where they would go next, especially since the modding community has already pushed the Prodigy to its limits.

Now BitFenix are releasing an mATX prodigy, but at the same time also branching off with the Phenom mITX and mATX chassis. The one we are looking at today is the mATX and while from the outset it looks to be a bolder, slightly more serious take on the ideas that inspired the Prodigy.

The mATX Phenom packs some promising specifications, with room for a fair few hard drives and plenty of cooling, so lets get right to it and take a closer look at what else this chassis has to offer.

The chassis comes in a fairly standard looking box,  a large Bitfenix logo on one side and the spec sheet (see above) on the other.

In the box there is an instruction booklet, a USB 3.0 to 2.0 converter, a few cable ties, two small brackets, a decent amount of black fixtures and fittings for the internal components and a motherboard stand-off screw tool.

Finally we have a 5.25″ to 3.5″ / 2.5″ adaptor tray. Perfect for using the 5.25″ bay to cram in some extra hard drives.

Battlefield Director Says Linux Only Needs One Killer Game

Linux is about to become bigger than ever, with SteamOS set to tip the balance of power in the PC gaming community with the offer of a rock solid distribution platform, a multitude of home entertainment features and support from an existing library of Linux Steam games, not to mention the fact that the whole thing will be free to download and install, making the option of a 2nd gaming PC a Windows licence free option.

Battlefield developer DICE know there is big change on the way and they don’t want to be left behind the pack on this one. Stating that Linux will only take one “killer” game to explode into mainstream gaming, and DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson said himself that “We [DICE] strongly want to get into Linux for a reason. It took Halo for the first Xbox to kick off and go crazy — usually, it takes one killer app or game and then people are more than willing [to adopt it] — it is not hard to get your hands on Linux, for example, it only takes one game that motivates you to go there.”

He has a point and this is really hot stuff to hear from such a big developer, this could be the first indication that Linux may be getting something big like Battlefield 4 and if this is true, you can back your backside that other developers such as Ubisoft and Activision will follow suit for fear of letting their rivals get all the glory.

“Basically for different ways of accessing customers and giving them possibilities of play, I think it is super exciting. The only thing I know is that from five or ten years from now gaming and especially how you consume it won’t look like it does today. I do think with streaming services and new input devices and so on, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is less need of hardware and more on demand gaming experience.” said Lars while speaking with Polygon about the SteamBox and SteamOS announcements.

SteamBox is going into Beta soon, SteamOS is right around the corner, all while we sit on the edge of a new generation of consoles, next year is shaping up to be a huge deal for gamers!

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information.

Valve Releases Details About Steam Box Beta Hardware Specifications

Valve are not hanging around, they’re getting their systems ready for release into the wild to 300 lucky people. While we still don’t know who will get the hardware (I know I have my name down!) we now know a little more about the systems, a nice addition to the wave of information we had last week about the new controllers.

Steam Machines will be available next year from a variety of companies, with varying specifications and in Valves own words they may differ substantially from the Valve prototypes.

Much like Nvidia are working on at the moment with their BattleBox, I think it’s already shaping up that “Steam Box” will be a badge of honour, much like a “this machine meets our standards” much in the same way as THX do with giving their thumbs up to movie production quality, albeit with Valve offering a set of templates for people to build towards, and upon.

“So for our own first prototype Steam Machine ( the one we’re shipping to 300 Steam users ), we’ve chosen to build something special. The prototype machine is a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts. It is also fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, even the motherboard if you really want to. Apart from the custom enclosure, anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves. And we expect that at least a few people will do just that. (We’ll also share the source CAD files for our enclosure, in case people want to replicate it as well.) “

This isn’t the final hardware, it’s not even representative of the whole range of what Valve wants to do, but it should give you some idea of the higher end of their scale in terms of performance.

The 300 prototype units will ship with the following components:

  • GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
  • CPU: some boxes with Intel i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)
  • Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
  • Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high

Upgrades will be at each user’s discretion on the final models, and Steam intend to help customers understand the differences between machines, hardware strengths and weaknesses, and upgrade decisions. Seeming trying to educate the PC gaming community to make it feel a little more accessible.

What are your thoughts on the new hardware, excited on this new bridge between the desktop PC and the HTPC?

Thank you Valve for providing us with this information.

Xi3’s $999 Piston “Steam Box” Gaming PC Is Overpriced Junk

Controversial title I know, but let’s face it if people haven’t seen passed the façade of the Xi3 Piston yet then people clearly aren’t looking closely enough – it is nothing more than overpriced hardware. There are strong opinions in this article so if you do not like those then you may not want to read on. The Piston from Xi3 was officially unveiled yesterday and the new “Steam OS ready” gaming PC (not endorsed by Valve/Steam in any way, and rightly so) will come to market at $999 in a rather nifty looking form factor, pictured above. However, when we start to look at the internals of the Piston this is where things get a bit messy. Xi3 have been very “mysterious” with their specifications (read: withholding information) claiming the following specifications for the “entry” model that costs $999:

  • Quad core x86 processor running at up to 3.2GHz
  • 384 discrete class graphics cores
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 128GB SSD

So that all looks well and good but then you start to consider, hang on a minute, I am paying $999 for this so is THAT really worth my money? Well actually – it isn’t. While the vast majority of media outlets have already been butt-kissing Xi3’s Piston for its innovative design, Forbes decided to dig a little deeper. After speaking with AMD they confirmed that the heart of the Xi3 Piston is the AMD R464L APU which has four cores running at 2.3GHz (with a 3.2GHz turbo mode) and AMD Radeon HD 7660G graphics (which has 384 cores based on the VLIW4 architecture of the HD 6000 series clocked at 496~685MHz putting this GPU somewhere between a HD 6450 and HD 6570 in terms of performance). Of course the APU itself is a great part, but it only retails for around $150 and is an AMD embedded APU meant for industrial uses – its closest consumer equivalent is the A10-4600M APU.

If we take the cost of the main components listed in the specifications it is something like $150 for the R464L APU, $80 for 8GB of DDR3 and $130 for a 128GB SSD. I make that $360 for the core components based on RETAIL pricing, if we consider Xi3 will get TRADE prices then it’s probably more like $280~300 for them. Of course there is more to the system than that – you’ve got the chassis, power supply and the motherboard but they aren’t exactly going to be expensive parts either – you’re talking no more than a 200W PSU is needed, the motherboard will be very minimalistic and the case is pretty small too. All in all it seems likely the Xi3 Piston comes in at under $400~500 to build. Of course you’d expect a profit margin to be included but not this much, this is ludicrous.

Xi3 have made some pretty bold claims about the Piston’s performance, all of which are pretty much unfounded. Below is an example of the performance of the HD 7660G graphics in modern games from Notebook Check. As you can see – it is unplayable in them all. Sure within the SteamOS the graphics will be more efficient, but even if the performance doubled (which it won’t) then every game is still unplayable except at the lowest settings where you will be able to scrape 30 FPS.

Of course we will have to wait for the first benchmarks and reviews to see what the performance is actually like – it is possible Xi3 can pull something out of the bag with the Piston if they’ve got the SteamOS optimisations absolutely spot on. Even if they manage that, this is still just a small case filled with entry level notebook hardware and an SSD. If you were looking for a game-changing “SteamBox” then sorry guys, you won’t find that with Xi3’s newest creation – the Piston. You could build a better system yourself for $400.

Rant over.

(Oh and after all that if you still want to buy the Xi3 Piston then you can do so right here.)

Image #1 courtesy of Xi3, Image #2 courtesy of Notebook Check

Valve Announce SteamOS, Two More Announcement Still To Come

Valve have dropped one of the biggest gaming related announcements of the year, Steam OS, a dedicated Linux distro that is razor focused on gaming and entertainment and something that could revolutionise PC gaming almost overnight.

Linux might not have the widest gaming support, or even the widest driver support, but it is extremely flexible and for the most part it is also open source and free. While many are waiting for a Steam Box announcement, I have my doubts that their will ever be a steam box, now with a Steam OS we can turn ANY system into a Steam Box and what’s more it comes with some features that we didn’t expect to see.

While it will allow for Linux games to be played, you can also stream your Windows PC games from your main gaming rig to your Steam OS system, so the option of a low powered rig under your TV running Steam OS, that is still able to play games from your upstairs SLI rig has just become real. Steam are also pushing this operating system as a multimedia platform and to my mind its already sounding like XBMCbuntu, but with a gaming side to it.

It’s certainly shaping up to be something epic and you can check out the full details here. Just remember, Valve have three big announcements this week, Steam OS was just the first. Could we hear about a SteamBox, or maybe even Half Life 3…. ok maybe not that last one, but we can hope!

Thank you Valve for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Valve.

Valve Not Exhibiting At E3 This Year – No Steam Box Coming Soon?

Recently it emerged that Nintendo would not be holding a press event at the massive E3 gaming event this year. Now apparently it appears that Valve will not be holding a press event at this year’s E3 event either.

According to an email sent by Doug Lombardi, Valve’s Vice President of Marketing, Valve will not be exhibiting at this year’s E3 event. While Doug Lombardi kept things very simple, without elaborating on the reasons why they aren’t exhibiting, it is easy to conjur up some potentially significant implications of this.

The main point of intrigue surrounds the highly speculated “Steam Box” console. Valve were believed to be working on this with Xi3 but if you believed any of the recent speculation then this partnership fell through despite Xi3 releasing a press release to suggest the project was still continuing.  Valve are still working on the Steam Box it just appears to be even more under wraps than before and judging by the lack of E3 exhibitionism it would suggest that Valve will not have the Steam box ready for 2013, which is quite sad news indeed.

Although, that said if you speculate one option you might as well speculate them all. E3 is only around the corner, that is June 11th to June 13th, and the next generation of consoles aren’t set to arrive until late 2013 – October-December. Maybe, Valve will have the Steam Box ready for then but they just won’t be ready in time for E3? In which case we may see a dedicated press event from Valve later this year.

Anyway, enough speculation from me. What are your thoughts on Valve not exhibiting at E3 this year? What do you think this means [for the Steam Box]?

Source

Roundup of the 6 New Gaming Platforms Launching in 2013


A lot of focus has been flying around the internet recently about the Sony PlayStation 4, and rightly so, its a big hardware launch and likely the biggest this year. Sony has invested over a $100 Million in the marketing campaign for the upcoming launch that could very well change the way we play for ever. Or will it?

Their are quite a few console hardware releases this year, some bigger than others, some likely doomed to fail or fall into obscurity, but no matter which way you look at it, 2013 is an easy year to find something to play on. One way or the other though, the market is about to get very busy and with so many platforms hitting the market running everything from Android OS, to  custom firmware its hard to keep track of who is making what, when, why and how much.

This year seems to be the year where gamers will have a choice for almost every budget, and with devices ranging from under £100 to up to possibly even £1000 to choose from, this is going to be a year of difficult birthday and Christmas present choices to say the least.

So lets not hang around, lets dive straight into the first of the eight consoles and gaming platforms that you can expect to see later this year.