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Valve's Steam Machines: Gabe Newell's quest to reinvent PC gaming

The Steam Box started as a glimmer of hope in 2012. Many doubted the software company best known for its hit games and online gaming marketplace Steam would make its own hardware. A year later Valve unveiled its first designs for its own game-playing PCs and a list of major hardware partners, as well. But as the delivery date for the first Steam Box slips to 2015, the dream remains deferred. Follow all the news here.

46 updates and 8654 comments below.

May 27 10:51p

Valve delays Steam Machines and controller until 2015

Valve, the company behind Portal, Half-Life, and digital video game download service Steam, has delayed the launch of its first pieces of hardware, pushing the release window of its Steam Machines and Steam controller from 2014 to 2015. In a post on Steam, Valve's Eric Hope suggested the release dates were pushed back to allow the company to work on the controller, after live playtests with wireless prototypes generated a "ton of useful feedback." While Hope said that feedback means Valve...

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Mar 14 5:15p

Valve shows off updated Steam Controller design

We knew Valve's Steam Controller would be undergoing some changes, and now the company is offering a more detailed look at its revised gamepad. The touchscreen seen on the original model has indeed been scrapped entirely in favor of four separate directional buttons on the left side and four face buttons on the right. They're labeled X, Y, A, and B — just like Microsoft's Xbox controller — and Valve's buttons also share the same arrangement and color scheme. Similar to the Xbox One, Valve's...

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Feb 11 2:15p

Valve posts entirety of Steam Dev Days to YouTube, explaining its console and VR strategy

Valve is a notoriously private game publisher, and in January it hosted a private event. At Steam Dev Days, the company gathered developers to talk about its strategy for the company's Linux-based Steam Machine game consoles, virtual reality headgear, in-game economies, and game development, all with no journalists in attendance. While some news trickled out in the form of tweets, including when we can expect Alienware's Steam Machine to arrive and that the Steam Controller is due for another...

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Jan 26 12:00p

Steam In-Home Streaming lets you play away from your PC

With the right hardware setup, you may no longer need to sit in front of your gaming machine. With a PlayStation Vita, you can play PS4 anywhere in your house. With an Nvidia Shield, you can do the same with a Windows gaming PC. But what if you don't want to buy a multiple-hundred dollar handheld game system to play Tomb Raider in bed? Valve is building a game streaming solution right into its free Steam game platform, so you can sling games from your beefy desktop PC to laptops as thin as a...

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Jan 15 3:14p

Steam Controller ditches the touchscreen for better backwards compatibility

The Steam Controller is going to change. According to two game developers tweeting from Valve's Steam Dev Days developer summit, Valve has decided to remove the controller's central touchscreen. While it sounds like the gamepad's twin trackpads will remain intact, the touchscreen was deemed redundant and possibly even distracting from games, as Valve wants players looking at the television instead of their hands. That doesn't mean there won't be customizable controls in the center of the...

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2:22p

Alienware's Steam Machine will arrive in September

Alienware has perhaps the most exciting Steam Machine coming to market, and now we know when it will arrive. According to a tweet from Dave Oshry, a video game marketing exec attending Valve's Steam Dev Days developer summit, the company just announced that Alienware's Steam Machine will launch in the September timeframe. That's quite a ways away.

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Jan 09 3:30p

SteamOS now supports Intel and AMD graphics

Building your own Steam Box just got a heck of a lot easier, because the SteamOS operating system isn't limited to Nvidia GPUs anymore. As of the latest SteamOS release, both Intel and AMD graphics are supported. Mind you, SteamOS is still very much in beta, and the Linux video drivers are in a beta state as well, so don't expect too much. AMD specifically mentions that there are some screen-tearing issues, and that things can slow down when the SteamOS overlay and games are running...

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12:05a

Valve reportedly about to release a standard interface for virtual reality controllers

Next week, Valve will release a software development kit that gives developers a standard way to implement controls in VR games, the BBC reports. Valve designer Brian Coomer has apparently said that the kit is "days away" and will be released at Steam Dev Days, which start on January 15th. There's not much more detail given, but the company has already said it plans to reveal a prototype that will show "what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of...

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Jan 06 9:42p

8:05p

Valve announces 13 Steam Machine partners, including Alienware

Valve has been unveiling its SteamOS initiative piece by piece, and at a brief event today it announced an important new detail: which companies will actually be selling Steam Machines. Thirteen partners were announced at the event, including Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and iBuyPower, among other custom PC makers. There's no word on precisely when the machines will hit the market, but Valve business manager DJ Powers tells us that its hoping to see some on the shelf in the latter half of...

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1:04p

CyberPowerPC Steam Machine will compete with consoles at $499

While some of the companies adopting Valve's living room gaming fomula are simply grafting the SteamOS operating system onto powerful Windows PCs, CyberPowerPC has just announced a Steam Machine designed to actually compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for around the same price point.

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12:00p

Digital Storm details its first Steam Machine: a hybrid Windows and SteamOS combo for $1,899

Digital Storm was one of the first companies to reveal its Steam Machine — its own take on Valve's formula for the perfect living room gaming PC. Today, the company's getting the news out ahead of Valve's announcement yet again, formally announcing that the new Digital Storm Bolt II will go on sale later this month for $1,899.

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Jan 05 8:29p

Valve reportedly has 12 Steam Machine partners

iBuyPower, Digital Storm, and Piixl have all announced their Steam Machines — computers which run Valve's SteamOS game platform — and tomorrow Valve is holding a press conference to announce many more. How many? Engadget has a list of 12 companies that it claims are all among Valve's official Steam Machine hardware partners. According to the publication, usual suspects like Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and Origin PC are all on the list, as well as Gigabyte, CyberPowerPC, Zotac, Next,...

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Dec 13 6:43p

You can download SteamOS right now

As promised, Valve has made its SteamOS available to all — and barring server issues, you can download it right now. The Linux-based operating system weighs in at 960MB, and will be used to power the company's Steam Machines game platform. Today Valve is also shipping out prototype units to 300 lucky testers. The free download is only really for the most dedicated among us, however. "Unless you're an intrepid Linux hacker already," Valve says, "we're going to recommend that you wait until...

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Dec 11 3:24p

SteamOS will be available to download on December 13th

On December 13th, Valve will ship a prototype Steam Machine to 300 lucky fans, including a powerful upgradable chassis, a Steam Controller, and the Linux-based SteamOS, the company announced today. The rest of us get a consolation prize, however: Valve will also make SteamOS available for everyone when the prototypes ship.

While the company suggests that the new operating system won't necessarily be easy to install — "unless you're an intrepid Linux hacker already, we're going to recommend...

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12:22p

Digital Storm's first Steam Machine will be a $1,469 gaming PC

Digital Storm has a Steam Machine too. The boutique gaming PC manufacturer has just announced its own take on Valve's formula for a Linux-based game console, and it just goes to show how diverse these computers will be when they hit the market next year. Instead of trying to compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 like iBuyPower's $499 rig, the new Digital Storm computer will start at a comparatively pricy $1,469.

"Rather than try to compete with console pricing, our system takes aim at...

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Dec 06 12:20p

Piixl Jetpack straps a SteamOS PC to the back of your TV

British computer maker Piixl has a new SteamOS gaming box on the way that can go sight unseen in living rooms thanks to a design that latches onto the back of most flatscreen TV sets, walls, and underneath tables. The computer will run Valve's SteamOS, though according to Pocket-Lint, it will also be able to run Windows or Linux. Users can also install whatever graphics cards they want with what Piixl says will be "universal" GPU compatibility.

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Nov 25 10:52p

iBuyPower's Steam Machine offers PC specs for the price of a new Xbox

Valve's official Steam Machine prototype isn't cheap, but it won't be the only Steam-powered video-game console available come 2014. This morning, iBuyPower revealed a prototype of its own upcoming Steam Machine, which will go on sale for just $499 next year. For the price of an Xbox One, the computer will offer a multicore AMD CPU and a discrete AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card — that's a $180 GPU all by itself — and come with Valve's Steam Controller as part of the package deal.

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Nov 04 1:33p

Valve says it wouldn't make 'Half-Life 3' a SteamOS exclusive

For decades, each new video game console has offered exclusive games you couldn't play anywhere else. Nintendo has Mario. Sega had Sonic. Microsoft has Halo. But Valve, developer of Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead and Dota 2, says it won't play its trump card. Though the company plans to launch a line of Steam Machines in mid-2014, it won't make any of its hotly-anticipated games exclusive to the platform.

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10:46a

We play with the Steam Machine, Valve's game console of the future

Can the company behind 'Half-Life' build hardware worthy of the TV? Continue reading »

Oct 20 7:47p

John Carmack says odds of Steam Machines being successful are 'a little bit dicey'

As one of the most respected voices in gaming, John Carmack is quick to point out that he got it wrong when predicting the fate of Steam, Valve's now hugely popular distribution platform for video games. But when asked for his thoughts on the company's SteamOS and Steam Machines, Carmack said he's not convinced Valve is destined for repeat success. "There's an interesting kind of retrospective on it," Carmack said during Nvidia’s Montreal conference, reflecting on days long ago when Valve...

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Oct 11 2:51p

Valve demonstrates how its Steam Controller works with your favorite PC games

You've seen the design, and now Valve is showing gamers how its Steam Controller works in practice. The company has posted a new video to its YouTube account that demonstrates how the unique gamepad functions when being used with popular games like Portal 2, Civilization V, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It's not quite the finished design that Valve showed off last month; what you're seeing here is the same prototype controller that will be distributed to Steam Machine beta...

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Oct 04 3:55p

Here's what's inside Valve's first Steam Machine prototypes

A week after announcing the Linux-based SteamOS and promising Steam Box PCs developed by a variety of hardware partners, Valve has officially announced the specs of the 300 prototype units it will be giving out to beta testers. In a news post, the company outlined some technical details and an overall strategy for its hardware. "We wanted to accomplish some specific design goals that in the past others weren't yet tackling," the company says. "One of them was to combine high-end power with a...

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Oct 02 4:10a

Valve's Steam Box won't challenge consoles, says 'Borderlands' studio boss

Randy Pitchford doesn't see Valve's Steam Box as a threat to consoles. Pitchford, head of Borderlands developer Gearbox Software, stated to Gamesindustry.biz that although Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will watch Valve's new hardware "curiously," they'll remain "largely unaffected by anything Steam does along this vector of OS, machines and controllers over the next two or three years."

The studio boss said Valve's recent trio of announcements — SteamOSSteam Machines, and the Steam C...

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Sep 27 1:00p

Valve unveils the Steam Controller

Today Valve revealed details for its very own gamepad — the Steam Controller, designed to work with the company's Steam Box console. The device features two circular, clickable trackpads with a touchscreen in the middle. "Driven by the player's thumbs, each one has a high-resolution trackpad as its base," explains Valve.

Sep 25 1:01p

Valve announces Steam Machines, the Steam Box hardware beta

Valve is building a game console, but not just one. The company wants to create an entirely new class of computers that brings the power of Linux and the distribution might of Steam to the living room. That's why on Monday, it announced SteamOS. And today, that's why the company is announcing its hardware plans — barely.

"Beginning in 2014, there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers," the company writes. Unfortunately, Valve doesn't say which...

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Sep 24 4:16p

SteamOS: could Valve's game console challenge Windows?

On Monday, the developer responsible for possibly the most critically acclaimed video games of the modern era — Half-Life and Half-Life 2announced that it was building its own Linux-based operating system to deliver PC games to the living room. Sooner or later, the company will announce hardware as well, possibly creating a new class of low-cost computers with small form factors that you can play from your couch using a wireless controller. In short, Valve is building a game console.

V...

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Sep 23 1:01p

Valve announces SteamOS, a living-room operating system for games

Valve is done teasing. Today, Valve has revealed SteamOS, its own operating system based on Linux, designed for living room gaming PCs. It's the first step towards Valve's Steam Box, its vision for an open video game console. It combines Steam's preeminent video game digital distribution platform with a user interface designed for TVs, all on top of the Linux platform. It will also be free.

"It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines," according...

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Sep 20 1:14p

Valve's Steam Box teased for Monday reveal on official countdown page

Valve is counting down to Monday morning at 10AM PT. That's when the company will likely reveal the Steam Box, its plan to create a video game console that runs Linux and plays PC games.

Earlier this week, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell said that we should expect the company to share more information on its living room hardware plans very soon, and today the company's erected a teaser site titled "The Steam Universe is Expanding in 2014." That teaser site actually has space for three countdown...

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Sep 16 4:09p

Valve's Steam Box could be revealed next week

Valve, the company behind Steam, is trying to revolutionize the idea of a video game console by combining its preeminent video game distribution platform with the power of Linux PCs. For months, the company's been silent about the subject, but it sounds like we could get some new details very soon. Today, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell called Linux "the future of gaming" at a keynote at LinuxCon 2013, and revealed that the company plans to offer more information about "the hardware...

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Mar 11 1:23p

Xi3 opens $999.99 pre-orders for Piston gaming 'console PC' (update 2)

Xi3, one of several companies approached by Valve to work on a "Steam Box" console — though Valve now disavows involvement — has opened pre-orders for its gaming-optimized PC. The Piston, which was first shown off at CES in January, uses a small enclosure like that of Xi3's other modular computers. The $999.99 price tag gets you a 128GB SSD, a 3.2GHz quad-core AMD R464 processor with integrated graphics, and 8GB of RAM, with more details forthcoming; we've previously heard that it will be...

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Mar 05 4:53p

Valve will hand out Steam Box prototypes 'in the next three to four months'

Valve's Gabe Newell said his company wasn't canceling any projects after a recent spate of layoffs, and it certainly sounds like the company's Steam Box initiative is still on track. The co-founder told the BBC that his company plans to hand out prototype units of the TV-friendly gaming PC to "customers" in the next three to four months, in order to "gauge their reactions." While he didn't make it clear whether those "customers" are the companies who would be building the Steam Box, or actual...

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Feb 13 7:42p

Valve's Gabe Newell addresses layoffs: 'We aren't canceling any projects'

It's an unusual day at Valve Software, with reports of layoffs at the game company, and Valve co-founder Gabe Newell is taking the unusual step of commenting on the matter publicly. In a statement to Engadget, he told the world that despite "an unusual amount of speculation" into the company's staffing situation, none of Valve's current projects will be canceled:

"We don't usually talk about personnel matters for a number of reasons. There seems to be an unusual amount of speculation about...

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3:43p

Valve reportedly fires more employees as part of 'great cleansing'

Following news last night that Valve fired engineer Jeri Ellsworth, it appears that Valve may be undergoing a more extensive staff cut in its Android and hardware development departments. Gamasutra says it has confirmed that several employees were let go from the company behind Half-Life, Portal, and Steam, and that up to 25 employees may have been cut — Valve employees described the changes as a "great cleansing" and that Valve is dealing with "large decisions."

The cuts include at least...

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12:45a

Valve fires Jeri Ellsworth, who was developing Steam Box game controllers

When Valve first started publicly hiring hardware engineers for secret R&D projects, Jeri Ellsworth was already there: the talented maker and Commodore 64 aficionado had been snapped up to help jumpstart Valve's hardware division. There, she helped carve out a prototype lab with 3-D printers, laser cutters, and other prototyping tools, and began work on a series of original game controller prototypes to accompany Valve's Steam Box efforts — ways to use a PC game console effectively from the...

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Feb 06 2:00p

How Valve's Steam Box will reinvent the game console as you know it

If your name is Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo, you should start taking notes Continue reading »

Jan 30 6:40p

Gabe Newell says Apple is the Steam Box's biggest threat

Valve's Steam Box may be a challenger to consoles as we know them, but Gabe Newell said today that Apple is the company's biggest threat in the living room, Polygon reports. During a lecture given at the University of Texas, Newell said that "Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway toward entering the living room with their platform." He said "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think...

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Jan 09 9:38a

'Steam was broken' without a route to the living room, says Valve's Greg Coomer

In an interview with Polygon's Christopher Grant, Valve product designer Greg Coomer elaborates on the rationale behind Steam's push into the living room, first with Big Picture and now with the Steam Box. Gamers on Valve's platform wanted to play on their television sets using gaming controllers, and weren't able to realize the full value of a cloud delivery platform like Steam without that piece. Once there, Valve bumped up against the limitations of PC machines, from noisy fans to crufty...

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Jan 08 6:38p

Valve confirms it's building a Linux-based Steam Box that will act as a local gaming server for all your screens

In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Valve CEO Gabe Newell shed light on the company's hardware plans, confirming that its own "Steam Box" will be based on Linux OS. The Steam Box has mostly been sheathed in rumor over the past year, but we've learned a number of interesting details about the planned device -- perhaps most importantly, the Steam Box won't just be a locked-down PC console designed to be used solely in the living room. "The Steam Box will also be a server," Newell says,...

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6:10p

Exclusive interview: Valve's Gabe Newell on Steam Box, biometrics, and the future of gaming

By T.C. Sottek and Tom Warren

We just sat down for a rare and wide-ranging interview with Valve CEO Gabe Newell, who opened up to The Verge with details about the company's upcoming "Steam Box" gaming hardware, the future of the Steam digital distribution platform, and even gaming itself. For starters, Valve isn't just attacking the living room; the Steam Box will be designed to work across multiple screens in the home using networking standards like Miracast, ideally allowing users to...

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2:34p

Valve's Steam Box gets big push at CES as Gabe Newell meets with major hardware partners

We just stopped by Valve's small booth at CES, and the company has confirmed to The Verge that it is meeting with a number of hardware and software partners to push forward with its plans to release its own console-like PC for the living room. The company isn't showing off much to the press this year, but we managed to take a look at some prototype hardware Valve has sitting out, and it's not all too surprising; right now the Steam Box looks like a small-chassis PC. Valve representative Tom...

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Dec 08 3:54p

Gabe Newell says Valve will release its own console-like PC for the living room

Valve has stayed mostly quiet about its plans to enter the hardware business, but in an interview with Kotaku at last night's Video Game Awards, Gabe Newell confirmed the company's plans to sell its own living room PC that could compete with next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The biggest revelation is that Valve seems set to release its own complete hardware and software solution. When we first reported that the company was working on a "Steam Box" back in March, it appeared...

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Nov 16 12:47p

Connect the dots: Valve’s Big Picture could be a Linux game console

The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii are nearing their end. As powerful as they have been in the living room, gamers want more. They want better graphics, new user experiences, and more mobility, as much as those things can be at odds with one another. A new wave of game consoles is rising to meet some of those challenges, but perhaps not all: the Nintendo Wii U doesn’t seem to be that much more powerful than an Xbox 360, and the next Xbox and PlayStation are rumored to use what...

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Sep 03 4:29p

Valve says it's jumping into the computer hardware business

In a job listing for the "industrial designer" position on Valve's website, the company has finally made its hardware ambitions explicit: Valve says "we're frustrated by the lack of innovation of in the computer hardware space, so we're jumping in." The job listing says that "even in basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven't really changed much in any meaningful way over the years," but it stops short of naming the actual hardware that a Valve-employed industrial designer would create. For...

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Apr 13 9:10a

Valve hiring an engineer to help with 'hardware design' in its R&D labs

No, Valve is totally not building a Steam Box gaming console. But it is building hardware. A new job opening at the company's R&D division has opened up today, looking for an electronics engineer with experience in prototyping and ARM / x86 hardware design.

Mar 08 5:18p

Valve: we won't be releasing a Steam Box console in the immediate future

We recently heard that Valve was in the process of developing a gaming console for the Steam platform, which would see it partnering with hardware manufacturers in a gaming-world riff on Google's Android strategy. In a conversation with Kotaku, however, Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi said that the company didn't have plans to ship any such hardware itself in the near future. According to Lombardi, any test units or boxes Valve had recently built were part of testing efforts for Steam's...

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Mar 02 11:55p

Exclusive: Valve said to be working on 'Steam Box' gaming console with partners, could announce at GDC

Recently there's been chatter that Valve — the company behind the massively popular gaming service Steam — has been considering getting into the hardware business. Specifically, there have been rumors that the company has been toying with the idea of creating a proper set-top console which could potentially pose a threat to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell even recently told Penny Arcade: "Well, if we have to sell hardware we will."

At a glance that would simply...

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