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Valve will let you make games with the new Source 2 engine for free

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New Steam streaming box and Steam Machines in November

Valve has officially announced the successor to Source, the engine in which the seminal Half-Life 2 was developed, at GDC 2015 today. Source 2 will be free for developers to use, a move, when combined with similar announcements from Epic and Unity, "will help continue the PCs dominance as the premiere content authoring platform," says Valve's Jay Stelly.

Source 2 will be free for developers to use

This has been a busy GDC week for Valve, in which it announced its own VR headset, a new streaming box, and a group of new Steam Machines. Third-party takes on Valve's living room PC concept from Alienware and Falcon Northwest are being demoed on the GDC show floor, while officially sanctioned offerings from another dozen partners are slated to see release this November. The company says the new devices will start at the same price point as game consoles, but "with higher performance," and the ability for customers to choose the components they need.

The company's virtual reality headset — the Vive, developed in partnership with HTC — also saw the light of day at the show. Valve's been quietly working on VR tech for a while, and the effort shows in the speed of release — the Vive will be shipped to developers this spring, with a full commercial version seeing launch before the end of 2015. Two new technologies make up the headset: an input system, and a "room scale tracking system" called Lighthouse. In addition to Source 2, the company says it intends to make Lighthouse free to any hardware companies interested in the tech.

Steam Link will cost $49.99 and launch in November

The company rounded out its GDC announcements with Steam Link — a piece of hardware that can stream games from Steam to devices on the same network. Valve says Steam Link, which has USB ports, an HDMI out, and a network cable port, will support 1080p resolutions and will stream content at 60Hz. The device goes on sale in November, and is set to retail for $49.99, the same price and launch window as Valve's Steam Controller.

steamlink

Unlike Valve's new hardware, there's no concrete release yet for Source 2. The announcement of the new engine comes after a 12-month period in which Gabe Newell says Steam, Valve's digital download platform, grew by 50 percent. The growth was partially driven by Dota 2, Valve's own take on the Defense of the Ancients video game formula, built using the original Source engine.

Valve has yet to detail any games that it or other developers have built using the new engine, but its announcement is still sure to stoke the fires of speculation about the secretive company's plans. It makes sense, for example, that Valve would wait for the next version of their own video game engine to be ready before making public proclamations about the near-mythical Half-Life 3. We can dream.