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Valve confirms it's building a Linux-based Steam Box that will act as a local gaming server for all your screens

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valve steam box prototype CES 2013
valve steam box prototype CES 2013

In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Valve CEO Gabe Newell shed light on the company's hardware plans, confirming that its own "Steam Box" will be based on Linux OS. The Steam Box has mostly been sheathed in rumor over the past year, but we've learned a number of interesting details about the planned device -- perhaps most importantly, the Steam Box won't just be a locked-down PC console designed to be used solely in the living room. "The Steam Box will also be a server," Newell says, "so you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers."

Newell also confirmed some of the company's plans for innovative controller inputs; something Valve has already said it's working on. Newell says he's most excited about biometric technologies that could affect gameplay on a level below the player's conscious thoughts; "I think you'll see controllers coming from us that use a lot of biometric data," Newell says. "Biometrics is essentially adding more communication bandwidth between the game and the person playing it, especially in ways that the player isn't necessarily conscious of."

Newell also tipped Valve's hand on target pricing for Steam Boxes built by partners, saying that the company sees three tiers of hardware specifications: "Good, Better," and "Best." He says the goal for a "Good" platform is a free device, but that one would probably start around $99 and eventually come down. Newell says a midrange device should cost around $300, and that the top-tier is only limited by how much someone is willing to spend.