Steam Box exclusives, Half-Life 3, cross-platform play and more
Let's imagine the Steam Box is real, my prediction is that it would launch in November/December of this year (2012). Between now and E3, Valve would be tinkering with it, making it perfect. I expect an E3 show off, unveiling, and a foot-stomping show for it. I expect to see a crowbar, and a show off of truly next-generation Source engine, on Steam Box: coming, holiday season 2012.
The Internet would literally implode with anticipation. Half-Life 3 shown off on next-generation Source-powered engine, Hydra controllers, next-generation physics, sound, A.I. and the final installment in one of PCs greatest franchises, heck, one of gaming's greatest franchises. Wait, one of the entertainment industries greatest franchises. Half-Life is truly that large, you and I both know it.
Once the tease has happened, Valve would get down and dirty. Full spec detail would be locked down, exact launch titles (which it wouldn't really need, as it can play literally all PC games, even offering non-Valve digital distribution giants like EA's competing Origin service) would be shown off and explained. But, offering Half-Life 3 as the killer-app will be enough to sell 10+ million within the holiday period, no problems whatsoever.
Valve could do a November launch, and as the holidays kick in, run unbelievably huge Steam specials. They could do a minimum of 20% off the entire Steam catalogue, with 50% off Valve-produced games. This would only amplify the unstoppable train that the Steam Box would be.
Cross-platform play would be one of the biggest selling points of this device. Right now, you could have friends on the Xbox 360, PC or PlayStation 3 and you just simply can't game with them in the same game. This is appalling considering it's 2012.
Steam Box would allow "cross-platform" gaming, as it would just be a PC, against another PC, but a change of controls. Do you realize how big of a selling point this would be for Valve? Throwing Half-Life 3 on top of this is simply the cherry on top of an already delicious offering.