Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Valve ‘Steam Box’ Console Coming in 2013

I used to play a lot of PC games. Big hits like Diablo, Warcraft, Half-Life. Hidden gems like Sanitarium, Betrayal at Krondor, and Carmageddon.

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But I had a love/hate affair with those games. They crashed. Sometimes they wouldn’t load properly. Then, one day I bought Mechwarrior 3. It flat-out would not work. I tried everything to get it going, but to no avail. Finally, I gave up.

Shortly thereafter, Microsoft released the first Xbox. From that point forward I was a console gamer.

I still go back to PC for the occasional game. Company of Heroes, Diablo III, Total War. These are great games you can only play on a computer. But if I had the choice, I’d play them on a console.

Why? Because, for the most part, consoles work. Sure, there’s the occasional Red Ring of Death. But, by and large, you know that an Xbox 360 game will work flawlessly. It may not have the frame-rate or resolution of the PC version, but it just works and I love consoles for it.

The other reason I love console gaming: the cost. Keeping up a PC is ludicrously expensive. The Xbox 360 is, quite possibly, the best thing to ever happen to gamers. For seven (SEVEN!) years now it has provided us with fantastic gaming experiences. Right up there with it: the PlayStation 3, which I also own and love.

Finally, I love playing games on my couch while staring at a massive HDTV and listening to a booming surround sound system. I use my computer all day long — why would I want to spend my leisure hours staring at a 15.6″ screen?

That said, I can’t quite get over the fact that there are sooo many PC games out there I am dying to play.That’s why Valve’s upcoming “Steam Box” console has the potential to change the gaming industry forever.

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Here’s the deal: it’s a mash-up of a PC and console, which means it may be more customizable than an Xbox 360 or PS3, but less malleable than your typical PC.

It will allow users to access Valve’s massive Steam catalog of PC games and it should plug into a big-screen TV and surround sound system. And it may be coming in 2013.

To be clear, nothing’s clear. In an interview with Kotaku this past weekend, Valve’s Gabe Newell noted that, because of a “stronger than expected” response to earlier discussion of a Steam Box PC console, Valve hardware that will compete with Xbox and PlayStation should be available next year.

This could be a game changer. Here’s hoping Valve releases more information about Steam Box soon.

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