Valve's Big Week: Steam's Coming to Your Living Room
By Zack Wheat on September 26th, 2013 (1 comment)
For some time now, the "Steam Box" has been within the usual realm of Valve products: anxiously awaited while still completely unknown. This week, they have pulled back the curtain.
It all began Monday, when the company revealed not a console, but an operating system. SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system, encapsulates the entire Steam experience and even, according to Valve, has the backing of a number of AAA developers. Designed with a "living room gaming PC" concept in mind, SteamOS is the software to accompany the hardware which will bring Steam, its services, and its library into the living room.
This is impossible without the aforementioned and long-rumored hardware, however, and on Wednesday, the second reveal took place: Valve announced Steam Machines, the tentative name for what users will bring into their living rooms to actually run SteamOS. The company will not be releasing a single console of their own, but are instead working with multiple hardware manufacturers who will release products of their own which are compatible with SteamOS.
Valve co-founder, Gabe Newell, stated that the goal was to make these platforms "completely open" and isn't releasing a single box of their own because, "Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS."
The hardware manufacturers chosen for this task have not been announced and any prototypes have not been shown, though NVIDIA released a statement declaring that they and Valve have worked together closely. Three hundred lucky Steam users will be sent "high-performance prototypes" of a Steam Machine made by Valve, and those who wish to be considered can check out the details here.
Beyond the 2014 release date, there is little else known. Newell estimated that Steam Machines could come in three different versions, possibly starting with $99 machines which were designed to simply stream from an existing PC with higher-priced versions containing hardware of their own.
Valve will release the final announcement tomorrow at 10am PT/1pm ET, and we'll keep you updated when that happens.
Zack Wheat is a Staff Writer at 4Player who fights the urge every day to make sweeping statements about video games using as many words as possible. He has an unbridled love for anything Metal Gear or Ace Attorney, a fondness for JRPGs, and an embarrassing affection for J-pop. Follow him on Twitter, because he loves you.
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