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Valve confirms some 2014 Steam Machines will use AMD GPUs

by Mark Tyson on 10 October 2013, 09:46

Tags: Valve, AMD (NYSE:AMD), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Sega (TYO:6460)

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The prototype Steam Machines hardware spec was detailed last week and though a range of graphics cards were listed, they consisted exclusively of Nvidia models from the GTX660 all the way to the Titan. Both Maximum PC and Forbes report that Valve’s specifications announcement lead many gamers to assume “that Nvidia would have a lock on Valve’s Linux-based gaming machines”. Now we know that this will not be the case, thanks to a statement by Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi, who said that Steam Machines would be coming out next year with GPUs from all three major graphics vendors.

Lombardi’s statement, removing any notions that Steam Machines might be exclusively Nvidia, read as follows; “Although the graphics hardware that we've selected for the first wave of prototypes is a variety of Nvidia cards, that is not an indication that Steam Machines are Nvidia-only. In 2014, there will be Steam Machines commercially available with graphics hardware made by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel. Valve has worked closely together with all three of these companies on optimizing their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.”

Interestingly Forbes reveals Valve’s confirmation of the inclusion of AMD and Intel graphics in some Steam Machines in 2014 was preceded by an AMD statement sent around to the press stating the following; “You’ve asked questions around Valve’s recent announcement of SteamOS and Steam Machines – and were wondering if AMD was ‘left out’ from their prototype program. This couldn’t be further from the truth – AMD is very actively engaged with Valve on these products and campaigns. But since we’d like you to hear this from Valve directly, please email Doug Lombardi, who is the Vice President of Marketing at Valve for their official statement on AMD’s involvement in the Steam Machine prototype program.” Forbes reckons this was AMD asking for journalists to “put indirect pressure on Valve” to confirm AMD’s inclusion in future Steam Machines ahead of its quarterly earning call.

Steam Controller tested out by SEGA employees

It has been revealed that SEGA executives were at Valve’s HQ last week and had some hands-on time with the Steam Controller. The SEGA executives were very positive about the controller. Sega’s digital distribution VP John Clark said “it felt and looked fairly impressive”. He said it is important for developers to see how the controller works with their games.

Another exec, Digital distribution director James Schall, said “It is incredibly fluid and intuitive right from the off” but that it was initially “tricky” due tots sensitivity. Lastly Rob Bartholomew, brand director for the Total War games, added “I was pretty sceptical at first, seemed like a novel move away from thumbsticks at best, but after five minutes you can really see the potential, after 10 minutes I was won over. The biggest challenge I think Valve will have is getting the pad into peoples’ hands, once you’ve tried it you’ll definitely see where they are coming from”.

A couple of the SEGA executives did think the controller as they saw it was a bit rough around the edges and needed refinement but all seemed to agree on the potential. Feedback from the Steam Machines beta program might also be used to improve the controller.

HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Well I for one will be going down the NVidia route. Unless AMD get a handle on their drivers.
Well I for one will be going down the NVidia route. Unless AMD get a handle on their drivers.

With both Mantle and the AMD announcement (can't find the link atm) that they will be working on open source linux drivers with a larger team I can see AMD catching up nicely.
Don't know what the fuss was about to begin with, people read into things too much.

I would love to try the controller but I don't have many games that I would find better when played with a controller at the moment. It is an interesting concept and one I'm more interested in than the Play Station or Xbox controllers which I don't like.
Well I for one will be going down the NVidia route. Unless AMD get a handle on their drivers.
The mere fact that AMD felt it necessary to “lean” on journo's to get Valve to issue a clarification would seem to indicate that they (AMD) are taking Steam OS/Boxes seriously. In which case they'd have to be completely out of their minds not to ensure a good experience/performance with their hardware when the OS/Machines get out into the hands of consumers.

Personally I'm not sure that the Valve clarification was needed, because it was made plain that it was only the beta test boxes that were NVidia only. Although that still leaves a faint suspicion that SteamOS will “run best with NVidia” merely because that platform's been the most tested.

Good to see that Sega are willing to be quoted as being positive about SteamOS - since that's the big issue with it at the moment - lack of A list titles. Hopefully some of the other publishers will come forward too. At the moment I can't really see a downside to SteamOS, so I'm already thinking about how best to host it on my existing box.
I'm sure after the last steam survey i did (last week) i noticed that most users had nvidia gpu's in their systems so perhaps that's why valve only selected nvidia gpu's initially.