Sorry, I could have been less flippant with my original comment. I didn't mean to come off aggressively like , "Why would anyone do this stupid thing?" I just don't understand what Steam is hoping to do here.
What I mean is, it seems like the Steam Box inhabits a strange No Man's Land between consoles and PCs. Maybe, in the end, it will turn out to be the best of both worlds, but right now it seems to me like the worst of both.
Consoles are nice in that they offer easy setup and common standards between all owners.
PCs are nice since they're customization and can be used for other things besides games (Consoles are adding more functionality now too).
PC gamers are likely/frequently/possibly building their own PCs already, to their own specifications and for cheaper.
Right now, you can hook your Windows PC to your living room TV and play PC games AND do all the things a PC normally does. I feel like the Steam Box is stripping away useful PC functionality without getting the end product "console-y" enough to be simple and non-geek friendly.
SteamOS is a weird thing to me since Steam just came out with Big Picture Mode which is intended to run Steam on your living room TV through a PC.
Is a Linux-based Steam OS going to be so great for playing games that it's worth losing all your familiar Windows Apps? Possibly Linux can be tweaked and configured to squeeze extra bits of horsepower out of your PC for game playing
I currently have my Windows 7 PC hooked up to my bigscreen. It's great. It's mainly for streaming shows via Netflix or Hulu. I hear I can do that with an Xbox or Playstation. Does that require an extra fee? I can look at gmail or browse youtube or whatever. OR I can install and play video games. Right now, I wouldn't trade all that for a Steam Box.
Maybe the intention is to try to grab typically console gamers and bring them into Steam's ecosystem. I can understand that move.
Maybe Steam OS will be great and awesome and I'll set up my PC to dual boot it, like the article suggests, for when I'm in the mood to play games. I can't see myself ever buying a Steam Box instead of a PC, though. But I guess we'll see how things turn out!
The Steam Controller, I can at least see what they were trying for. Who knows if it will turn out decent.
Here's an interview from Rock Paper Shotgun
Sounds like even Steam can't give a real answer why you would want a Steam Box.