Gabe Newell certainly seems to think that it will.
Valve's iconic CEO had quite a bit to say on the subject at this morning's keynote address at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit. In discussing the evolution of Steam itself, Newell eventually reached the point (that everyone was waiting for) where he talked a bit about the upcoming Steam Box. If you're not familiar, the Steam Box is essentially a PC for console players. It resides in your living room and is played with a gamepad but features the hardware and connectivity of a PC. So, how does the Steam Box replace something like the Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii U?
To start with, it's cheaper.
Quite a bit so, according to Newell, who said:
As the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation rapidly approaches, the Steam Box is going to be a very attractive alternative to the $300+ console generation. But all the affordability in the world can't save any project if it doesn't deliver what the consumer wants in the best way possible. Newell believes that consumers are going to be more and more conscious of latency - lag, in laymen's terms - in the future. Players, according to Newell, are going to want better connectivity than they currently have and that 'the ability to do local, high-speed processing will become more important than it is right now.'
"We can't compete with our own customers. Our customers have defeated us; not by a little but by a lot."
Another area that we think the Steam Box will dominate is user-generated content. Take one look at the Steam Workshop for user-created Skyrim content and you'll understand what we're talking about. It's like, come on, a recreation of Sting and Sauron's Mace an Elder Scrolls game? Yes, please!
This content is unavailable on any other platform and having quality, user-generated content at your fingertips from the comfort of your couch and underwear is going to be a massive one-up that Valve will have on the competition right out of the gate.
As Gabe says, 'We can't compete with our own customers. Our customers have defeated us, not by a little but by a lot.' The content that users are putting together is nothing short of incredible and it's moving at the kind of pace that no developer could possibly match, not while continuing to support the game to their fullest capacity.
So, can Valve really revolutionize living room gaming with the Steam Box? In the end, it's a loaded question. Only time will prove whether they're on to something brilliant or not, but as Gabe Newell will be the first to tell you, 'If we're wrong, at least it will be spectacularly entertaining as a failure.'
Images courtesy: http://www.engadget.com/