Valve, the company behind Steam, the popular PC games platform, will unveil more details about its proposed Linux-based "Steam box" console next week.
The news was revealed by founder Gabe Newell at LinuxCon 2013 this week in a keynote speech promising more details about the hardware that will feature within the new games console, which will have to take on stiff competition from both the new Sony PlayStation 4, as well as the new Microsoft Xbox One.
"The innovation and openness of the PC as a gaming platform have enabled us to be somewhat immunised against the broader structural decline of the PC," said Newell. Valve is using Linux to keep software development platforms open, he added, so that games, films and other content that people own can be played on whatever device that they want.
For example, people that have bought games on Windows via Steam will be able to download and play them on Steam for Linux free of charge.
"Right now, you're sort of in this bizarre situation where as soon as you sit on your couch, you're supposed to have lost connection with all of your other computing platforms," he said. "We really don't think the fragmentation around the physical location or around the input devices in terms of computation is necessary or desirable for software developers or consumers."
In addition to porting Steam to Ubuntu Linux, Valve has also been porting its various game development tools to the operating system to help game-makers adapt their games for both Linux on the desktop as well as the Steam box console.
As such, the Steam box represents a potentially disruptive development in home computing, with the device intended as Valve's entry into the "battle for the living room" being fought out among Google, with Android in televisions and set-top boxes, Sony and Microsoft with their respective games consoles, and Netflix and Amazon Lovefilm on the content side - among others.
Television manufacturers, too, are also trying to stake a claim with "smart TVs" that offer portals with downloading capabilities.
The development of the Steam box - announced a year ago - and the port of the popular gaming platform to Ubuntu Linux has stimulated a surge of activity in Linux gaming, with increasing numbers of games popular on the Windows platform being ported to run on Steam running on Linux as well.
According to Valve, Linux is already a more popular platform than Mac - although it remains only about seven per cent of installs compared to more than 85 per cent for Windows.
It has often been argued that Microsoft's desktop operating system dominance will only be cracked when applications - especially games - that people want to play are running on Linux.
The console development was instigated by Newell in response to Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and, in particular, the threat of Microsoft taking the same kind of control over applications on Windows that Apple enjoys over iOS - as reflected in the niche Windows RT operating system.
Unlike many IT entrepreneurs, though, Newell's company remains resolutely privately owned by Newell - despite its value of $3bn or more - but it is still unclear whether Valve will offer the console or set-top box under its own name or license the technology it has developed.
The battle for the living room is intensifying as broadband becomes increasingly pervasive and major computer and content companies seek to monopolise the broadband channel to the living room television, where games, films and television programmes will increasingly be downloaded.
Even UK supermarket chain Tesco became involved with the acquisition of Blinkbox, a film downloading service, which is increasingly being integrated into the company's own-brand TVs.