At CES 2013, Valve revealed plans for its ambitious new Steam Machine platform. Over the past year we've heard bits and pieces of news — we even got to play with a prototype — but at CES 2014 we're finally getting a chance to see the first batch of Steam Machines in the flesh. Keep up with the latest developments below.
Jan 10, 2014
"Each one represents a different take," explained Valve's Gabe Newell at the unveiling. They also make it even less clear just what a Steam Machine is, who it's for, and why it's preferable to a traditional gaming PC.Read Article >
At present, the biggest issue is function: SteamOS simply can't do as much as Windows. There are around 3,000 games on Steam, but only about 250 of them work with Linux. When you're building a machine almost exclusively for gaming, that's a problem, and it's a situation that has turned off at least a few manufacturers from baking SteamOS into their hardware.
Valve's Steam Machines are reinventing the game console by transforming daunting PCs into friendly boxes for the living room. But rather than make the machines all by itself, Valve has turned to hardware partners to create a whole lineup of them, from basic consoles priced like an Xbox all the way up to towers that just barely veil their gaming PC roots.Read Article >
Yesterday we got a peek at what 13 of the very first of those Steam Machines will look like. Their prices range from $499 all the way up to $6,000, putting Valve's goal of a diverse ecosystem on the right track. But there's still the question of what that will get you. We're taking a look across the broad spectrum of Steam Machines to see if there's a legitimate alternative to the Xbox and PlayStation, and what you'll get for buying something that costs well over twice their price.
Jan 7, 2014
Nearly two years ago, we broke the news that Valve was working on its very own game console. The reasons weren't yet clear. We didn't yet know that the company wanted to throw off the shackles of Windows with its own Linux-based operating system, or that a host of PC manufacturers would take it seriously enough to build hardware.Read Article >
Today, the Steam Machines are here. Valve has just announced the first wave of computers that can officially be called Steam Machines at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Valve has been unveiling its SteamOS initiative piece by piece, and at a brief event today it announced an important new detail: which companies will actually be selling Steam Machines. Thirteen partners were announced at the event, including Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and iBuyPower, among other custom PC makers. There's no word on precisely when the machines will hit the market, but Valve business manager DJ Powers tells us that its hoping to see some on the shelf in the latter half of 2014.Read Article >
As for whether we'll see hardware from Valve itself, it isn't something the company is ruling out — though it is staying typically quiet on the subject. But one thing is for sure: the 300 prototypes that Valve sent out in 2013 aren't going to be making a further appearance. "That was an exercise to kind of prove the concept and get them in customers' hands to get real honest feedback," says Powers. "We don't have further plans to manufacture more of those boxes and run a bigger beta or sell them."
While some of the companies adopting Valve's living room gaming fomula are simply grafting the SteamOS operating system onto powerful Windows PCs, CyberPowerPC has just announced a Steam Machine designed to actually compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for around the same price point.Read Article >
Digital Storm was one of the first companies to reveal its Steam Machine — its own take on Valve's formula for the perfect living room gaming PC. Today, the company's getting the news out ahead of Valve's announcement yet again, formally announcing that the new Digital Storm Bolt II will go on sale later this month for $1,899.Read Article >
iBuyPower, Digital Storm, and Piixl have all announced their Steam Machines — computers which run Valve's SteamOS game platform — and tomorrow Valve is holding a press conference to announce many more. How many? Engadget has a list of 12 companies that it claims are all among Valve's official Steam Machine hardware partners. According to the publication, usual suspects like Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and Origin PC are all on the list, as well as Gigabyte, CyberPowerPC, Zotac, Next, Webhallen, Alternate, Materiel.net, and Scan Computers. While some of those names are boutique PC builders, others are electronics retailers.Read Article >
Engadget writes that the list may not be complete and other third-party companies may announce their own Steam Machines as well. Last we heard, Valve expected Steam Machines to ship in the second half of 2014. Presently, the company is trialling the concept with 300 beta testers, each of whom received an official prototype box built by Valve itself. The Linux-based SteamOS operating system is also currently in beta, and is free for anyone to download.