An interesting rumor cropped up at The Verge late this past Friday. The website is reporting that Valve may very well be hard at work on their own video game console powered by their Steam service. The console, dubbed the "Steam Box" as of right now, would essentially be a platform that allows developers a lot of creative freedom when developing software for the device.
As it's put in the article at The Verge, there would be minimum hardware specs established and developers would be given a clear three to four year life cycle for their products. In addition, there will be no development kits required and no licensing fees to create software for the box. Essentially, it's a developer's wet dream, especially for smaller independent studios.
As far as games are concerned, it's said that the Steam Box will run standard PC titles through Valve's Steam service. You'll also be able to load rival gaming services like EA's Origin onto the device.
The general idea is to go head-on with Apple and Apple TV, not specifically Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, although they will obviously be targets. Valve is apparently sick and tired of companies creating platforms and closing them off with strict red tape, limiting their far-reaching capabilities in the process. In an interview with The Seattle Times, Valve boss Gabe Newell said, "On the platform side, it's sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms…They build a shiny sparkling thing that attracts users and then they control people's access to those things."
The Steam Box, if real, is apparently designed to combat that mentality.
If you want to read the entire report from The Verge, head on over to their site. There's also talk about customizable controllers and incorporating Valve's biometric readings into the device. If this system proves to be true, it could very well be a game changer.