Valve’s Gabe Newell hints that the Steam Box might finally arrive next week

It’s been a long time coming for the Steam Box. The console concept, which was introduced by gaming company Valve and marries PC and console attributes to bring computer games to the living room, has been showing up on the demo floor of the past two Consumer Electronic Shows to the delight of gamers. But there hasn’t been any real sign from Valve that the company was anywhere close to debuting the product — until now.

Yesterday, at LinuxCon 2013, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell delivered the keynote speech, which largely focused on Linux’s power in gaming and Valve’s own contributions in the space. But, he also let slip some important news:

“Actually next week we’re going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room, and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile.”

Steam Box? Is that you?

Newell’s teaser hasn’t come completely out of the blue, as Valve has not been shy about its plans while hiring personnel and working on features for its Steam platform. The company had been actively and publicly hiring developers for its hardware R&D department, particularly throughout 2012. Then, at the end of last year, the company released its “Big Picture” mode — a full-screen TV feature and blatant fore-runner for the company’s future console UI.

If Newell’s sly promise rings true, hopefully we see the Steam Box sooner rather than later. A reveal next week could slate a Steam Box (or Steam Boxes) for release during the holidays alongside the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. It would be the right time to come out of the blue, especially as the console-PC hybrid trend has been on the rise all year.

Newell and company have an ace in their pocket — the love of the indie game world — so it’s possible that its longstanding reputation among core gamers could give it enough power to jockey for the spotlight this holiday gaming season.