Although Valve’s Steam Machines are in the early stages of testing, gamers are already anxious to see what types of “home consoles” the company is hard at work on. And while Valve is typically one for secrecy, they have been much more forthcoming with Steam Machine and SteamOS details.
The latest on Steam Machines comes courtesy of a Q&A with Valve, in which they further explain the capabilities of the devices. Additionally, Valve reveals that while the SteamOS’ in-home streaming feature will be a useful one, it does have a major caveat.
As Valve explains, those who take advantage of the SteamOS in-home streaming feature will be able to access their Steam library from several devices, like a secondary PC connected to a TV, a Steam Machine, or even a less-powerful computer like a MacBook. However, while in-home streaming is active, the PC from which the content is being streamed will be inactive. In other words, streaming with SteamOS takes your gaming rig out of commission.
While a slight inconvenience, it makes sense that Valve would want to discourage gamers from using their gaming rig while streaming to another device. The PS4, for example, works in a similar fashion when streaming through Remote Play — gamers can only access the console directly or through a Vita handheld not both.
The good news about in-home streaming, though, is that the streaming device needs only be connected to the same network as the gaming PC and not to a central server as well. Hopefully that means streaming quality will be the highest possible through this route. Nothing is worse than a lag-filled stream, especially in a game that requires precision and speed.
To help test out different systems, Valve intends to run a beta for SteamOS that will offer all of the Linux-based platform‘s feature-set to users. The beta will also feel out demand for the platform, letting Valve know how strong the potential Steam Machine market might be.
For Steam Machines, however, in-home streaming is only one of the major appeals of the device. If all goes according to Valve’s plan, gamers will be able to access a Linux-based platform at an affordable price. Prototypes are out in the wild as we speak, so it shouldn’t be long before more Steam Machine-related details start hitting.
How do you feel about game streaming locking you out of your gaming rig? Does this impact the appeal of the feature?