Steam Box Announced By Valve (Or Rather, Multiple Steam Boxes)

By Ishaan . September 25, 2013 . 10:21am

This morning, Valve finally made their long-awaited Steam box announcement, although details at this point in time are sketchy at best. Here’s what we do know, though.

 

Valve are working with “multiple partners” to bring a range of Steam gaming machines to market in 2014, all of them running the company’s recently announced SteamOS operating system. While these products are currently in development, Valve intend to let people try them out and make changes based on user feedback.

 

As such, they’ve designed a “high-performance prototype” that is optimized for Steam gaming in the living room. This year, the company will ship 300 of these prototype machines to Steam users, free of charge, for beta testing. Valve say that the games available to these machines will consist of the nearly 3,000 games available on Steam—which will be playable via streaming from your PC, since SteamOS is Linux-based, not Windows—in addition to games that can run natively on the system.

 

While Valve have not yet provided hardware specs for their prototype, they say they’ll share more information on this front soon. Ultimately, however, they say that there will be several SteamOS machines to choose from, all with a range of specifications, price and performance. While Valve’s prototype machine is focused on users that want the most control over their hardware, other machines will optimize for things like price, quietness and other factors.

 

Keeping in line with their intent to allow user control over the hardware, Valve say you’ll be able to “hack” these boxes, run other operating systems on them, and even change the hardware. Eventually, you’ll also be able to download the SteamOS operating system itself, along with the source code.

 

You can read further details on Valve’s prototype Steam-powered machine on this page, along with details of how to enter the beta for the prototype hardware.


Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    But I already have a PC………….

    • Tatsuya1221

      This isn’t made for pc gamers like us, this is made for console gamers who’d like to leap into pc gaming, but have certain apprehensions about it such as kb/m, building one and cost.

      Has a lot of potential, let’s see if they can pull it off.

      • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

        The thing is, if a console gamer wanted to get into PC gaming, there are very affordable rigs available these days without the need for all this extra paraphernalia. This just adds another layer of hardware on top of the PC you would need to buy anyway.

        • Tatsuya1221

          I would disagree, the cheapest prebuilt gaming pc i’ve seen in the us is 800$, while yes you can easily make a gaming pc for 400$ sans windows, most people still view computer building as something alien.

          That said i do agree that this has a fairly good chance of overcomplicating the market even more for the average gamer, and valve will have to overcome that.

          I may say that i see this as quite viable, but atm i’m still very pessimistic about it, there have been many who have attempted to do this kind of thing in the past and all failed, statistically the steam machine has a uphill battle on it’s hands, and one i’m not sure it can win.

      • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

        I’ve had most of the consoles and still do. I consider myself a gamer period, not just a “PC gamer”. With that said I still wouldn’t buy one of these. I say go buy a well rounded, doesn’t have to be expensive PC, and just download Steam.

        • Tatsuya1221

          I’m a pc-console gamer myself and i have no intention of buying one either, but i see what they are attempting with the steam machine as both good and bad for us all if it succeeds.

      • Rob Wu

        I thought this was for people who already have a PC. The article suggests it works like ps4/vita and PC/Shield.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

    I think ‘hack’ is probably a strong word. Modify is probably best, since they mentioned the idea is the same of what most of use who build our own computers do – upgrade over time. That’s something you really can’t do for consoles.

    So for those wanting to build a gaming computer from scratch…well, here you go.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      They probably do mean “hack” in the geek-lingo sense of the word, which is basically to modify, like you said. Then again, I’m not even sure what other implications that word could have here, considering that SteamOS is open source, so technically, you wouldn’t be “hacking” anything in the literal sense of the word.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

        More than likely these are PCs built for certain abilities and they’ll likely be build-to-order like you would expect from a lot of retailers. Considering it’ll have Linux on it, you can probably do whatever you want with it from there, whether it’s dual-booting, etc. They’re probably as modifiable as any other desktop just with the OS on it first.

        I would assume they work in terms of full-fledged and just for streaming or somewhere around that venue for pricing. It really depends on what options they speak of. There’s not a lot to go on.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Hacking means altering something to create another.

        Cracking is when you break infrastructure.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          So, why do they call them “hackers” instead of “crackers”? :P

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            We do call them crackers, Jacker Crackers, after yellow jack wasps.

  • TheExile285

    They match these with gaming console prices and i will pick one up and treat it as a seperate system.

    If I built my own it would probably cost like $1000 >_>

    • Mozendo

      Why does everyone think building a PC will cost $1000? You can build a PC for half of that,

      • Draparde

        i’d imagine because the more vocal of the pc people who brag about their crazily super high end computers usually have a price tag like that attached.

        so it has people thinking if they want a good computer. they need alot of money to do it.

      • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

        Actually for a gaming PC that can play current games at medium to high it’s gonna cost you around $750. I can run FFXIV at Max in 1920×1080 with 50 FPS on average and it cost me $750, but thats because I got a nice stock PC for $399 and all I have to do was upgrade the GPU for $299 and a new PSU for $50. $650-750 is what it cost for a decent gaming PC that will last. You can’t build one for cheaper than I got. The parts I have for my PC would have costed $600 not including my GPU. I got a really nice early deal on the stock tower. My PC is already 1 year old. Next gen consoles cost $399-$499 and are about the same specs as my PC. Thus consoles are still cheaper, and I will likely be outdated in 3 years from now and have to upgrade again to maintain my smooth 50-60FPS at max.

        • Mozendo

          “Actually for a gaming PC that can play current games at medium to high it’s gonna cost you around $750″
          It does not cost that much to build a PC that can handle modern games.

          “$750. I can run FFXIV at Max in 1920×1080 with 50 FPS on average and it cost me $750″
          Even though 1080p is now becoming the standard in PC gaming, it’s not the only resolution. 720p and 900p are good resolutions to play games at, but any card above $180 can do 1080p good cards like the 7800 series prove this.

          Not only that, but cards like the high end 7950 have entered the $200-230 price range on sale.

          “Thus consoles are still cheaper”
          I was not debating that at all. I was addressing the misconception that to build a gaming PC people would need to spend $1,000.

          ” and I will likely be outdated in 3 years from now and have to upgrade again to maintain my smooth 50-60FPS at max.”
          Well of course you’ll need to upgrade your parts every few years, it’s the biggest downside with PC gaming if you want to keep up-to date with modern games (at the recommended resolution)

          Here are two builds I quickly made to prove that gaming desktops can be made around the price range. In no way am I saying these are the best builds, and without a doubt I’m sure there are better builds for the price range, but these should give you good performance nonetheless.

          http://pcpartpicker.com/user/CompassNorth/saved/2su3 – with OS
          http://pcpartpicker.com/user/CompassNorth/saved/2su3 – Without OS

      • Monsley

        I can’t imagine spending anything LESS than $1000 to build a barely decent gaming PC in my country. Maybe the person who posted that is not from the US?

  • CirnoLakes

    Definitely less major than their last announcement. We haven’t gotten much new information at all. I’m disappointed.

    I just hope that some of these pieces of hardware turn out to be a really good value that can compete on some level with the PlayStation 4 or XBOX One. If they can play a whole lot of “next generation” games at a low price, then they’ll sell units.

    What matters in the end is that they can provide a good piece of hardware that plays good new games for a long time.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

      Well, if nothing else, it does confirm that the SteamBox exists.

      Just in multiple forms.

  • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

    I really just want a PC box I can hook up to the TV at my sister’s place since my laptop can’t handle playing most Steam games.

    If they can give me that, I’ll be happy.

  • malek86

    They said anyone will be able to sell their own Steambox, essentially, which means we are probably gonna look at an Android-like fragmented market. I hope not, because that doesn’t exactly help with graphics optimization.

    On the other hand, it’s the best idea for quick market penetration, especially if the prices will be low enough.

  • malek86

    They said anyone will be able to sell their own Steambox, essentially, which means we are probably gonna look at an Android-like fragmented market. I hope not, because that doesn’t exactly help with graphics optimization.

    On the other hand, it’s the best idea for quick market penetration, especially if the prices will be low enough.

  • D H

    I… fail to see the point, really. I mean, yeah, I can hook it up to my TV. Except practically any graphic card these days, including the budget and sub-budget models, has an HDMI port, so I can already do this. Meanwhile, by the sound of it, if I want to play most Steam games, I still need to have a decent rig, and on top of that, I now need a better rig, as now not only does it have to run the game, but it also has to stream it to another OS/box. This really does feel like just another extension of the Android boxes (which, by the way, have plenty of apps that allow streaming from your computer, and therefore already do everything we know this does so far except “upgrade”), which is a terrible disappointment for me. I enjoyed the idea behind the Ouya when it was announced, but after seeing the system in person and through videos, I’ve been underwhelmed by it, and the proliferation of these Android boxes has turned me off to the whole idea, honestly…

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

      I think the problem is your first sentence before going into any reason. Valve needs to go into a bit more detail of how this would work and why it would work for you. That seems to be the biggest thing I’m seeing in terms of the confusion here – lack of marketing.

      I’d like to see what the story’s going to be for the finished product – what all of it would mean put together. I suppose we’ll know Friday…or if not that when they start dropping price points and people/reviewers start getting their hands on it to see what would be worth it to invest in something like this.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    I don’t really see the point to be honest. I feel like it will fall into the same hole that the Ouya did. I hope not though, it seems like a huge investment.

    • CirnoLakes

      This has a much better chance of the succeeding than the Ouya, though, given that it has an industry giant like Valve backing it.

      • FitzpatrickPhillips

        But whats the point?
        I mean lets get real here, most PC games aren’t exclusive. I’m a huge PC gamer but most of the time I just get and see PC versions console games. From that view, if someone wants a console for their TV, they would go with a console – something they’ve known for years.

        • Lucky Dan

          Yea the same point in what’s the point of getting a PS4 and an Xbox One. I mean with the development costs exceeding profits they need to Port across all 3 platforms.

          Seriously you just made a pointless statement and if it runs a WINDOWS system hey we just support M$ as they can use the M$ controller and the Sony Dual Shock which could be easily bought and reconfigured methinks Valve got this figured out quite easily.

          • FitzpatrickPhillips

            The point is that the masses really wont care about this as a whole. Sure its a good idea, but the average gamer is going to pick up an Xbox, Nintendo or Playstation console before looking at the Steambox.

            The only way I see it becoming popular is through word of mouth, or PC fans telling their families about it. They wont understand otherwise.

  • ARMs7777

    Seems so pointless. Sound like its a just a normal PC loaded with SteamOS instead of windows to save up on windows licenses. These other companies are definately not gonna take a loss or sell at no profit with these boxes.

  • karasuKumo

    “which will be playable via streaming from your PC” This confuses me, is the Steam Box just a way of remotely displaying gameplay from your PC in your living room, or does it handle the hardware side of things?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      It’s a streaming solution that uses your existing PC.

  • Shane Guidaboni

    I don’t get this. Are they saying you’ll be streaming the games from your PC in order to play them on your TV?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Yes.

      • ninjabart122

        Are they going to be relatively inexpensive considering that they’ll mostly just be streaming? Wouldn’t most people not own a PC capable of running games fast enough and cheap enough to compete with consoles?

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          One would hope they will be inexpensive. That said, PC rigs these days are more affordable than ever, and can easily keep up with consoles without a large and continuous investment.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          One would hope they will be inexpensive. That said, PC rigs these days are more affordable than ever, and can easily keep up with consoles without a large and continuous investment.

  • Bacon_n_Lettuce

    So… It’s a PC? Yay?

  • MB_cl

    This is just an alternative for people who have confidence in Valve and want to enjoy their gaming experience in the living room. Lately more franchises have been jumping into the Steam wagon and I don´t see anything bad with offering tools to play those games in front of a TV instead of a monitor.

  • Flandre Scarlet

    I wonder when developers will realize “streaming” is not the end all, be all answer to every single problem in the hardware market.

    • ninjabart122

      The most reasonable thing I’m thinking of is a relatively inexpensive PC dedicated to running only games, and not full of bloatware that are normally installed on pre-built PCs. A price to compete with in the console market.

      • Flandre Scarlet

        That’s called a console. We have those already.

        Steamboxes will be running on a linux distro (SteamOS) which means out of the box they won’t be able to support 90% of the PC market’s games. You’ll have to rely on streaming from another machine if you want to run any game that currently doesn’t support Linux, which means for current PC gamers this is useless.

        For console gamers looking to get into the PC market, this won’t help. They’d already have to have a rig to run any game they’d be interested in, which defeats the point of a Steambox.

        I can’t even see this having a niche unless Windows absolutely crumbles away overnight, DirectX stops being a thing and everyone moves over to Linux.

  • Joshelplex

    This seems like a lot of extra work, a lot of extra money and a lot of extra hardware just to get the same effect of plugging my PC into my TV. If all this box is really going to do is Stream from a Windows PC (because let’s be real here, barely any major titles today, or even from the past run Linux at all) than what was even the point?

  • Rytan

    So, would this be worth investing in if all I have is a crappy laptop that can barely run games? Because otherwise I don’t get the point of it.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      No. At that point, you’re better off buying a console or a decent PC/gaming laptop.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      No. At that point, you’re better off buying a console or a decent PC/gaming laptop.

  • katamari damacy

    If this is the same as their modular PC, sold cheaply (say sub-600 for an ultra powerful compact computer) then i’d get this instead of upgrading my 10 year old PC.

  • Brandonmkii

    If these are cheap enough, I can see myself getting one just to put Windows on it, and play PSO2.

  • Aristides

    Let’s see how this stacks up against the Vita TV, a true budget priced game console.

  • CirnoLakes

    This post smells of bigotry.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos

Popular