Steam Creators Announce Hardware, Operating System, Controller
Valve makes play for hardware scene, but what does it mean?
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 16:10
Valve is entering the console space. Well, sort of. That’s what it sounds like at first glance.
The company responsible for “Portal,” “Half-Life,” “Left 4 Dead,” “Dota 2,” etc., etc. will definitely be entering the hardware space, at the very least. In a series of three announcements, Valve announced Steam OS (a new Linux-based operating system for games), the Steam Machine (a pre-built PC running on Steam OS designed to play games), and the Steam Controller (a, uh, controller—but one that uses fancy new touchpads instead of analog sticks).
Together, these three new toys symbolize Valve’s invasion of the living room. Each device seems specifically designed to make PC gaming from a couch and large TV a viable option for the uninitiated. Not only that, but the Steam Machine will be able to stream games from a more powerful PC in one room to itself, via a home network.
What we don’t know about any of this yet is what things will cost. The Steam Machine itself will be going up against the $400 PlayStation 4, and $500 Xbox One after they launch in November. PC gaming can be notoriously expensive for those who want the best of the best, and the Steam Machine will essentially be a prefabricated computer. That’s not even taking into account the sci-fi controller—or two, or three or four.
We also don’t know what games will run on it. Valve’s own titles will probably work, of course, but Linux isn’t the most readily embraced operating system on the market for most developers and publishers.
This might turn out to be a very big, very important step for Valve and PC gaming in general. The computer gaming scene has picked up significantly in recent years, thanks to quality ports, ease of distribution, aging consoles and even Valve’s Steam distribution platform itself. However, new consoles on the horizon mean new favorite children for developers to fawn over.
So, for now, let’s all remain cautious—optimistically or otherwise—before we start declaring this a new competitor for Sony and Microsoft. It might be interesting, and it might even turn out to be incredibly positive, but for now it’s a whole lot of “maybe.”