Valve Trademarks Confirm Hardware Plans

Even after Valve’s announcement of SteamOS today, there are evidently still doubts Gabe Newell and company will take the plunge with a console of their own — the much talked about “Steambox.” We’ll find out for certain by the end of the week, but if three hardware related trademarks Valve has filed with the USPTO since September 8 are any indication, a Steam console is all but confirmed.

I was surprised when Forbes told me today to “Calm Down, Internet, Valve Isn’t Building Their Own Steam Box.” After all, Gabe Newell himself has stated on multiple occasions that Valve is working on its own device. Curious if it really was all just hype, I logged into the US Patent and Trademark Office database to see if Valve has filed anything related to hardware as of late. Turns out they have.

The first filing with the USPTO came on September 8, with Valve trademarking Steam as: “Interactive video game devices comprised of computer hardware and software and accessories, namely, game consoles, game controllers and software for operating game controllers; computer hardware and computer peripherals; computer software for compressing and decompressing data and video images; operating system software programs and utility programs for use with the above referenced machines; software and hardware that facilitates communications over a wireless network.”

Two more trademarks followed, the last on September 13, all with the same language, just slightly different spins on a new Steam logo. It’s crystal clear: Valve is legally redefining Steam, and that new definition includes hardware, “namely, game consoles.”

I’m calm, Forbes. And I say the evidence indicates Valve is building its own Steambox, with an official unveiling likely on Wednesday. I just hope they have a more creative name for it.

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4 Comments on Valve Trademarks Confirm Hardware Plans

rickshaw

On September 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm

As well as holding a monopoly, they want to hold an monopoly! one reason why I hate Steam but am forced to bare its Monopoly.

Foehunter82

On September 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Not sure what monopoly you’re talking about. Not every game is on Steam. Many games that are on Steam are not Steam exclusive. Additionally, this perceived monopoly that Steam supposedly has isn’t a true monopoly. They have a decent system set up (not perfect, but still, pretty good). This system brings in non-Valve developers who are willingly selling their games and software through Steam. It cannot be a monopoly if developers are willingly seeking Steam out to use it.

There are other places to get games. Local stores, GOG.com, Origin, OnLive, etc. You can also go directly to the developers and purchase in most cases. I mean sure, I still prefer the old-school CD/DVD key method for games, but the majority of developers seem to be going towards online authentication so there isn’t much we as gamers can do about it other than not buy.

Huntsman06

On September 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm

My biggest problem is the idea of a game console designed solely for streaming. The reason I own a home console, aside from console exclusives, is because my PC is far from being able to play the games at the level the console can, such as graphics and controls. Now Streaming has its place on some devices, like the SHIELD. It’s mobile and you can sit in bed or anywhere and play.

With these Steam Console, you need your PC to play the game (and it will play on the steam hardware however good/bad it does on your PC). So we can count laptops out because modern gaming laptops will have a HDMI out so you can just plug into your TV whenever you want to play. So just talking about desktops.

Chances are all your devices are on one local network, so if your Steam/any device streaming a full 1080p game from your PC is going through a router anybody else using that router will be out of luck and have much reduced speeds. So the best configuration for streaming is to use a switch/crossover cable and directly hook up the PC and the streaming device. Well that would mean the desktop would be relatively close to the box which asks the question why not just plug the PC into the TV in the first place….

I just don’t get streaming outside of mobile devices or devices like Vita TV where the original hardware was originally designed for one thing and happens to support streaming as well on the side.

Foehunter82

On September 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I understand what you’re getting at, but I would argue that the streaming to PC sort of thing is probably intended as a replacement for the fact that you can’t just rent a PC game like you can for consoles. By using a streaming service, a PC gamer can “rent” (Netflix-style) any game they want for a monthly fee. The only thing I can think of is that Steam may be trying to also set themselves up as an alternative to OnLive. But, yeah, ordinarily I don’t get streaming outside of specific devices either.