While many gamers are enjoying Nintendo’s new Wii U this holiday, there are some who are anxiously awaiting next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony, one or more of which could launch a year from now. That said, there’s another potential competitor in the hardware field on the horizon, and it’s a company that’s certainly got a track record of disrupting markets: Valve.

Veteran games journalist Chris Morris argues in an op-ed that the so-called “Steam Box” could end up becoming a major player in the war being waged for living room dominance.

“If the recent whispers of Valve’s plans to launch a game hardware system prove true, that could upend the playing field,” he noted, adding that both Microsoft and Sony could feel a large impact on their respective bottom lines as a result.

“A Steam Box won’t stop the core from buying an Xbox or PlayStation, but it could easily distract them away from those systems. And the entry of a third high-definition, AAA system (fourth, if you count Nintendo as part of this fight – though that company tends to exist in its own space), could further split the core gaming community – possibly severely impacting the revenue streams of Sony and Microsoft.”

Source: GamesIndustry International