The Valve crew have made clear today - as if they'd not done so several times already - that they'll be growing beyond the traditional deep-dark-basement model for gaming in the year 2014. Word today comes from a Steam space with "livingroom" literally embedded in its URL, with "The Steam Universe is Expanding in 2014" at its head. Could this be the Linux Steambox we've been waiting for?
It's no secret that Steam is sitting on the head of the no-stop-in-sight missile that is at-home gaming. As they're ready and willing to remind us, they initiated a mode for their Steam Store and gaming environment called Big Picture. From there, rumors of a full-fledged piece of hardware began to flow. Why else would the team create such a couch-friendly UI?
"Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads. This year we’ve been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room.
Soon, we’ll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam." - Steam
The above message is posted immediately below a set of three circles, the first of which contains a smaller circle and sits atop a timer set to go off in 72 hours - aka Monday, September 23rd. The second circle contains a smaller circle inside brackets, with an obvious space for another circle to the right of the first. The final circle contains two smaller circles with a plus sign between them.
Though it's likely a bit more complicated than this, it's fun to think that these mean one gamer, another gamer sitting alone on a sofa, and finally both gamers playing a game together in harmony. The process has already begun.
Have a look at iConsole for one possibility for where Steam gaming may be headed next. You'll also find the comments - yes the comments - inside our Review of NVIDIA SHIELD to be quite engaging. Want an early look at what it'll be like to bring Steam to your living room in full force? SHIELD is right on the precipice.