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Gabe Newell thinks several manufacturers will offer pre-made PCs built for the living room in 2013, and Valve will eventually join them. Whether consumers get their hardware from Valve or not, Newell will be happy to give them a couch-friendly experience with Steam's Big Picture, which he told Kotaku has enjoyed a "stronger than expected" reaction.
He said it's a matter of when, not if, these "turnkey solutions" begin competing with next-gen hardware from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.
"I think in general that most customers and most developers are gonna find that [the PC is] a better environment for them," Newell told me. "Cause they won't have to split the world into thinking about 'why are my friends in the living room, why are my video sources in the living room different from everyone else?' So in a sense we hopefully are gonna unify those environments."
Newell said Valve's current goal is making PCs work better in the living room. After that, they hope to ramp up work on Steam's Linux version, which would make it easier for the developer to create custom hardware. While the hardware will by design have a more controlled environment, Newell said general purpose PCs will still be a valued part of the ecosystem.
Valve's new engine will also be compatible with next-gen consoles, Newell confirmed, so don't worry about the maverick PC developer going totally off the grid. Yet.