vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Valve announces 'Steam Machines' hardware prototype

by Mark Tyson on 25 September 2013, 21:50

Tags: Valve, PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab3gf

Add to My Vault: x

Valve announced the SteamOS on Monday with the promise of two more big announcements this week. The second announcement was made just a couple of hours ago as the company revealed “A powerful new category of living-room hardware is on the horizon” – in the shape of Steam Machines. The next announcement, as predicted, will be made at 6pm BST on Friday.

300 Steam Machines

What constitutes one of these Steam Machines will change as we pass into 2014. Valve has decided to get the ball rolling by starting a Steam Machines Beta program. The beta program involves user testing of a prototype console. “We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also completely upgradable and open,” wrote the description in today’s announcement.

The company has built 300 prototype Steam Machines which will be shipped free of charge to lucky Steam community members. You can qualify as one of the chosen beta candidates by completing an ‘eligibility quest’ which includes  things like creating a public Steam Community profile, playing at least one game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode and having 10 Steam friends. These actions need to be completed by 25th October. If you are chosen; “Your feedback will shape both the new OS version of Steam and the new category of gaming machines that will run it.” The vast majority of people in the beta program will be chosen at random with only 30 or so Steam Machines earmarked for certain community members based upon their past community contributions and beta participation.

Multiple manufacturers

The above beta program will start in 2013 and the following year, making the best of the user feedback gained, “there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers”. Valve expects different manufacturers to try and carve out niches for their Steam Machines by choosing to “optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors” or a specific balance of these qualities.

Friday feeling

To conclude today’s announcement Valve gave us a hint about what might be revealed on Friday. Today’s FAQ ends with a question about the possibility of using a mouse and keyboard with your Steam Machine in the living room. The answer given is “If you want. But Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too”. Then we are told to stay-tuned as “we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input”.

Given that hint, do readers expect to see an interesting new kind of controller revealed by Valve this Friday?



HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Yes I do, and I look forward to it. I would like to get a quality controller for my gaming machine so a Valve controller would be high on my list of options.
I fully expect a customised controller, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one manufacturer offered something akin to the nVidia Shield. My biggest concern with this entire concept though is that Steam is trying to become the third console on the market, which leads to even less “PC” games being released as developers struggle to support anything other than a control pad as the interface.

I like my mouse and keyboard combo, and want to keep them and the limitations and advantages that they represent, but with this on the horizon, it's looking less and less likely that I'll succeed.
Lucio
I fully expect a customised controller, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one manufacturer offered something akin to the nVidia Shield. My biggest concern with this entire concept though is that Steam is trying to become the third console on the market, which leads to even less “PC” games being released as developers struggle to support anything other than a control pad as the interface.

I like my mouse and keyboard combo, and want to keep them and the limitations and advantages that they represent, but with this on the horizon, it's looking less and less likely that I'll succeed.

Chin up. Gaming PC sales are rising in the face of marketwide PC sales dropping
Will be interesting to see the controller, though I think if it is a controller they will have to go some way to beat the 360 pad though
Nikumba
Will be interesting to see the controller, though I think if it is a controller they will have to go some way to beat the 360 pad though

A lot of people who use the DPad (so not me) hate the DPad on the XBox controller. Some people hate it because it's heavy (but I like something that feels solid). Others (who I'm assuming have malformed limbs) say it's a stupid and uncomfortable shape.

The only issues I've actually encountered is that if you buy an expensive genuine wireless controller -> USB adapter, you end up with a poorly made fake that doesn't work very well most of the time (and then breaks permanantly). If you try and buy the cheap one directly, then after 40 days the manufacturer apologises because his postal service stole 50 of these adapters. You get your 99p back, but no adapter. If you do eventually find one made by MS, then after a short while a fuse blows up and you can't use it until you drop a blob of solder over the top. I've sunk £20 into fake adapters and only actually had one arrive, which broke. I've tried to go to a reputable source for a genuine one, but they all seem to be permanently out of stock.

All in all, the XBox 360 gamepad is not unbeatable, but is pretty damn good when it does work.