Valve head honcho Gabe Newell has announced that prototypes of Valve’s upcoming home console, meant to expand Steam outside of the PC market, will be delivered to select customers for testing within four months. However, how soon the console will be available to the general public remains to be seen. According to Newell:
There are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it.
Other major specifics, such as how much the console will cost and how the controller(s) will be configured (Newell suggested they might feature measures for integrating biofeedback into games) have yet to be revealed. Given the axiom that computers can be no more than a combination of two of small, powerful, or cheap (cheap and powerful needs a bigger box and lots of noisy fans so it can run hot; small and powerful means expensive parts that run cool; small and cheap means old tech that’s been sized down and uses less power, and thus produces less heat), it will be interesting to see how the Steam Box shapes up. Given the sticker shock that is expected to come with the PS4 and next Xbox, this might be an expensive year for gamers.