Valve and Sony both tease buzzy new consoles

The gaming community is buzzing about two big up-and-coming consoles, Valve’s Steam Box and Sony’s PlayStation Vita TV. Executives from both companies have slipped crucial information in very different ways — and are definitely teasing for a late-year or 2014 U.S. debut.

Sony unveiled its new budget micro-console, the PlayStation Vita TV, to an excited and welcoming crowd earlier this month. However, Sony indicated that the console — which can support PlayStation Vita games as well as cloud titles, PS4 broadcasts and streaming media — would be only sold in Japan. After some intense enthusiasm from the gaming community today at the Tokyo Game Conference, an executive from Sony told Engadget that the company is now mulling over a reversal of this decision and considering distribution to the U.S. and Europe.

“If we have to add further services or not. It’s not that we have decided, but cloud gaming services, how can we work on that? So we are looking at each of the possible items before launching in Europe or the United States,” SVP and Division President of Business Division 1 at Sony Computer Entertainment Masayasu Ito said.

It’s unlikely that the console will hit shelves before the holidays, as Sony has made it clear that the company was not prepared for the favorable reaction from Western countries. But with the Gaikai cloud service on the way, it’s not too much of a stretch to expect a PS Vita TV launch in 2014.

Meanwhile, independent development company Valve has finally made good on a sly promise from co-founder Gabe Newell regarding its PC/console hybrid venture, the Steam Box. Newell hinted at exciting news scheduled for next week while delivering a keynote speech at LinuxCon, and the company has launched a new website that backs up those statements. According to a countdown timer on the website, the company will make the first of three separate announcements regarding the Steam Box on Monday. According to the website, Steam users will also have a say in the matter:

“Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads. This year we’ve been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room. Soon, we’ll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam.”

Both of these companies are hopping on really intriguing hardware trends — The PS Vita TV has gamers’ tongues wagging over its (relatively) cheap price tag of $200, while the Steam Box is a huge effort to bring PC gaming to the living room. Each of them have an opportunity to corner big trends and win the hearts of gamers who are looking for something new and different.