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Steam Machine Heats Up Console Wars to Thermonuclear

Posted on November 4, 2013 2:57 PM by J.D. Kane
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Valve, the world’s most successful online retailer of PC games, has made no secret of its desire to participate in the console wars and encroach upon hitherto unexplored territory. Earlier this year, it announced SteamOS and its own controller.

With the introduction of its Steam Machine prototype, Valve has taken one step closer towards invading the console space and mixing it up with industry giants Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

Some sources have already shown photos of the Steam Machine prototype. Judging by the available photographs, it should look at home amongst the typical denizens of a typical end-user’s entertainment center.

Steam Machine Prototyp

Perhaps unique amongst its intended competition, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, Valve’s Steam Machine will be available with different hardware configurations. One source says that, as far as graphical performance goes, “the graphics cards run the gamut from an Nvidia GTX660 to a Titan.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, this will also mean that not all Steam games will be playable on every Steam Box.

Per Polygon, the Steam Box’s cooling is one of Valve’s design priorities. Accordingly, the Steam Box’s interior is divided into separate zones, with optimized airflow into and out of these different interior zones.

Businessweek has also revealed that Valve is developing relationships with music and movie content providers to stream content directly onto its new console. This keeps the Steam Box in lock-step with its next-gen competitors from Sony and Microsoft, both of which will be launching their new products in just a few short weeks.

Valve is expected to announce even more details of its new gaming console at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and it is expected to start selling sometime in 2014. When it finally hits store shelves, the already-hot console wars are expected to hit thermonuclear levels.


  • Corey Naish

    I actually like the look of the Steam box quite a bit.. Mostly because there’s a picture with the cover detached floating around. It’s basically a nifty ITX based case w/ a slot for the GPU to take up half of it. My only concern is that they’ll allow too much fragmentation with it… I’d like to see them lock it down so that people could only change cpu/ram/gpu… hell, maybe not even the CPU..

    • piratethis

      If they limited it to that extreme there would be no marketing leeway. As the rest of the market you ate able to, however, voids warranties and such, if they have a base console capable of doing so it off the box but limited connection speeds they may get more sales.

  • Mlambert890

    It’s a PC basically. Console gamers buy consoles for ultimate simplicity, access to the ecosystem, living room play, ability to buy and trade back and platform longevity.

    PC gamers buy PCs for tuneability, config flexibility, bleeding edge power, multifunction utility and access to pirated content (let’s be real)

    Steam box combines the disadvantages of the PC (from the view of console gamers) with the disadvantages of the console (from the view of PC gamers)

    Why would either camp want that over what they’ve *already got*? Valve has to either convince a PC gamer to move to the living room and stop customizing, or a console gamer to walk away from XBox Live/Playstation Network. Good luck with that. It’s the next Ouya.

    If they could have gotten it out *before* the One and 4 maybe they could have picked up disappointed launch day folks or folks who couldn’t wait for more power (had they gotten it out like a year ago) but as it stands they’ll be launching this into a mature ecosystem of new, more powerful, consoles.

    • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

      A Steam Machine isn’t for a traditional PC gamer… at least to me it isn’t. I believe it to be more targeted at the regular console gamer who might be “wowed” at PC-level graphics and not to mention an unparalleled selection of games to choose from. A lot of console gamers just want simplicity, as you say, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see SteamOS handle things like driver installs (even for the GPU) automatically so as to prevent a keyboard from ever having to be plugged into for trouble-shooting.

      A good Steam Machine will cost more than a console, but PCs can offer a gamer a lot more. The freedom alone might draw a lot of people over… Sony and Microsoft are ridiculous in how strict they are with their platforms, whereas Valve is the stark opposite.

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