While this month's community blog topic asks the question - "Are we ready for next-gen consoles," Valve may be asking the question - "What is a next-gen console?" The Verge has uncovered a hefty rumor that suggests the Steam developer may be getting into the console market with their concept revealed at GDC this coming week.
But the idea of a Valve Console might be a bit different than you'd expect, instead of first party hardware everything would be done through 3rd parties, similar to how Google markets the Android OS. Valve is said to be in talks already with several hardware makers, including Alienware who has recently put out a gaming PC a little bigger than an Xbox 360 designed for the living room.
Valve's part in all this would be to set the baseline specs for the SteamBox and let hardware makers create the hardware, compete and sell it. The centerpiece would then be PC games capable of running on this hardware and compatible with game pads - one of which - Valve recently filed a patent for. The controller would actually have "swappable components," like analog sticks, buttons, etc. The device would run the new version of Steam called Big Picture Mode.
So what does this all mean? It means that Valve's idea of a next-gen console is to try to bring PC gaming to the living and to the masses via an already established service with thousands of games. A move like this could also push PC game developers to create more titles that are couch co-op capable, something the PC market severely lacks because of it's typical desk based gaming atmosphere.
If this rumor comes true, we'll most likely be finding out next week when GDC kicks off.