Valve Reportedly Testing Multimedia Apps for Its Steam Machine
Consoles aren't consoles anymore -- they're becoming the center of the living room.
Fans learned in May that Valve, the Washington-based company behind video game download hub Steam, had pushed the release window of its highly anticipated Steam Machine and controller to 2015. More time is needed for testing, the company said.
The news follows months of hints that Valve has big plans to go beyond gaming when the Steam Machines hit the market. In January a company official said they want to "add music, movies and TV" to its operating system (SteamOS) before it gets released with the console. Valve then rolled out a beta version of Steam Music, which allows gamers to stream music from their libraries while playing.
If Valve pushes its Steam Machine consoles beyond PC games to include streaming movies and TV shows, however, it would presumably challenge the dominance of industry leaders Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (Playstation) in living room entertainment. Apple TV and other Roku-like devices that serve as multi-media hubs would also find another competitor knocking on their doors.
After many years of rumors, gaming consoles are moving inexorably towards becoming all-in-one entertainment devices, more living room computers than platform-specific video game machines. Just yesterday, Microsoft announced that its Xbox One console will be able to play a wide variety of file formats via USB devices.
Steam has over 3,500 games and boasts of having more than 75 million account holders. That number was at 65 million in October 2013. Now there's some possible evidence that that fast-growing audience can expect a wider slate of entertainment choices once the Steam Machine and OS debut next year. Steam Database, a website unaffiliated with Valve, is reporting that the company recently added new film, TV series, video and music app categories to an update for Steam Beta.
SteamDB is dedicated to looking at the guts of Steam's underlying code, and earlier this year it found indications that Spotify could eventually arrive on Steam as well. Neither Xbox or the Playstation have a Spotify app available on their platforms, each preferring to push its own products.