In an interview with the BBC, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell revealed that the company will be shipping out prototypes for their “Steam Box” PC Hardware soon. He says they’ll be doing so to “gauge reactions” as well as pinpoint any performance issues.
We’re working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it, there are noise issues and heat issues and being able to [deal with] that while still offering a powerful enough gaming experience is the challenge in building it.
According to Newell, the Steam Box’s controller is also still being finalized, with Valve continuing to explore biometric sensors for additional inputs.
If you think of a game like Left For Dead – which was trying to put you into a sort of horror movie – if you don’t change the experience of what the player is actually feeling then it stops being a horror game. So you need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is – what their heart rate is, things like that – in order to offer them a new experience each time they play.
The BBC’s report seems to imply that it’s Valve’s controller that is holding up its hardware efforts, but there could be a number of issues besides that. You can head over to the BBC site and see the full interview for yourself.