Out of Valve‘s three announcements the week before last, the Steam Machine was the biggest. Part of Valve’s push to get Steam into the living room, the company has now thrown their hat into the console space.
While the Steam hardware will not function like other consoles, that is to its credit. The console is not any one thing, there being a variety of specs and components that are all upgradable, giving users a new found level of choice when it comes to their living room gaming system.
In a new update to the Steam community, Valve further details their plans to bring their unique consoles to users. One thing they dispelled was that they were creating a console to just be a competitor against Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, but instead said the inspiration was a gap in the market that the team at Valve saw:
“Valve didn’t set out to create our own prototype hardware just for the sake of going it alone – we wanted to accomplish some specific design goals that in the past others weren’t yet tackling. One of them was to combine high-end power with a living-room-friendly form factor.”
Before the console hits shelves in 2014, Valve will be sending out 300 prototypes as part of a Beta to test the machine on a select group of users. Their prototype was designed to be something “special” being “a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts.” Valve made clear that this particular build isn’t going to be the one that appeals to the tens of millions Steam Users, but one for those who would want high end performance in their living room. The prototype’s specs are as follows:
GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
CPU: some boxes with Intel i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)
Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high
Valve reiterated that the Steam Machine is about choice and flexibility. All consoles will be fully updateable and Valve promises to help users understand the specs and performance components in the future. They also stated that they understand many Steam users will have gaming rigs they are happy with. Valve calls that a “great goal” and said that they will be looking to outline their in-home streaming technology for players who want stream direct to their living room TV, likely taking advantage of Steam’s Big Picture mode, an option in Steam to display the client as a gaming operating system.
Now to just find out the price ranges for the official Steam Machines…
Is flexibility and choice important for you as a consumer or will it create problems across the gaming community not having the same hardware when playing online? Do you think Valve could be in a position where they a directly challenging the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?