Valve reveals Steam Machines

Half-Life studio confirms hardware plans and heralds a "powerful new category of living room hardware is on the horizon;" several boxes from multiple manufacturers will be available in 2014.

Half-Life studio Valve today confirmed it is working on a new hardware initiative, revealing Steam Machines, described as a "powerful new category of living room hardware." The announcement comes two days after Valve revealed SteamOS, its own operating system.

Multiple models from several manufacturers will be available in 2014. Gamers can apply for a beta test today through Valve's website.

"Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world," Valve said. "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."

Valve said it has designed a "high-performance" Steam Machine prototype that is optimized for gaming, the living room, and for Steam. It is upgradeable and open, Valve said.

"While these products are still in development, we need your help. As always, we believe the best way to ensure that the right products are getting made is to let people try them out and then make changes as we go," Valve said.

To that end, Valve said it will ship 300 of these Steam Machines to Steam users, free of charge, for the purposes of testing.

Users can make themselves eligible for participation in the Steam Machines beta program by completing an Eligibility Quest on Steam. To do so, users must log into Steam before October 25 and perform the following actions.

1. Join the Steam Universe community group
2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions
3. Make 10 Steam friends (if you haven't already)
4. Create a public Steam Community profile (if you haven't already)
5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode

Users can complete the steps in any order they wish. Once all steps are completed, users will be awarded a special badge that will grant them placement in a pool of people that Valve will choose participants from.

The list will be finalized on October 25. A small pool of 30 or fewer will be chosen based on their past community contributions and beta participation, while the remained will be selected at random.

"Your help is critical to our design process," Valve said. "Your feedback will shape both the new OS version of Steam and the new category of gaming machines that will run it."

Valve did not provide specifics regarding the specifications of its own Steam Machine, but said its rig is designed for "users who want the most control possible over their hardware." Other boxes, from other manufacturers, will be optimized for size, price, quietness, or other factors, Valve said.

Gamers can use a mouse and keyboard for Steam Machines, but Valve pointed out that Steam and SteamOS "work well with gamepads, too." The developer also teased an imminent controller announcement, saying, "We have some more to say very soon on the topic of input."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

1528 comments
mumrahh1
mumrahh1

If I can order a Steam Machine with 16 gigs of 1800mhz ram and a geforce Titan 6gig card I am sold! Just tell where to pre-order!

Kayweg
Kayweg

Welcome news for many i reckon.

My PC gaming stays where it is, and it's certainly not my living room.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

Here's a better option, since they're targeting people already using Steam:

Step 1) Buy an HDMI cable and connect your PC to the TV.
Step 2) Play a game using a controller and Steam Big Picture mode.
Step 3) No need to buy a "Steam Machine".

Elma007
Elma007

The whole point of console gaming is to play with a gamepad, but a lot of Steam games are PC based and usually use the mouse and keyboard. Will we suddenly have gamepad support for those games that don't use normally use a gamepad? Will PC games run natively on the Steam box or will steam automatically give us a SteamOS version of the game for each Steam title (PC/Mac/Linux etc) we own so we can play the titles seamlessly between hardware? 

Kalbent
Kalbent

Valve you are not getting one more cent out of my wallet until you release a worthy sequel to half life 2, PERIOD. I've sat patiently through 9 years of your shenanigans, with unwavering support. Not any more. You want my loyalty back? deliver what millions of nerds (like my self) have been waiting for!

Newell, how about you take a course in customer service and give what PAYING customers are begging for, instead of these lame attempts at world domination of the console market. (a losing battle.)

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

Look PC gamers.... Consoles have had a lot of problems with some games, and those games skipped consoles and came to PCs.  PC advantage of openness, and inexpensiveness has kept some developers on PC as well as MMOs.  

THIS IS CHANGING.  Sony and Microsoft have changed their tune,,, Well Sony more so. Patching, DLC, and other cost have been steadily dropping.   

MMOs are coming to Console, as well as many indie developed games.  This means that the PC will have very few if not short lived exclusives. 

Steam could keep enough people happy with just the price of games and library itself.  BUT to get more gamers they need something more... They needed to get console gamers comfortable with using a PC. This is a GREAT way to do it. a Steam Box with steam OS, that valve will take care of no need to try to deal with updates, fixes, compatibility issues... ETC.

RobDev
RobDev

Considering MS and PS4 are pretty much creating their new consoles at a loss how expensive its this steam box going to be? Also how is it different from any other PC in the living room?

PC_Otter
PC_Otter

Been gaming on an HDTV for almost 5 years.  All you need to do is just use an HDMI Cable, and you get video + sound.  

It's not hard you idiots.  

toffifee
toffifee

I have to say I don't get this. So it's an OS to play games on the TV? I already do that. I need to look at some more info about this.

nate1222
nate1222

I've been a PC gamer for almost 5 years now. If I get back into console gaming, Steam Machine would be what I'd get: being able to rock my Steam library (200+ games at the moment).

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

i have a great idea Valve...how bout an episode 3 for half life before you takeover the GD living room RIGHT at the launch time of Xbone One and PS4.  Brilliant move.  forget the game that brought you to the dance and go with a crowded duopoly market to break into

Dogswithguns
Dogswithguns

Sounds good to me.. I always in my living room, even sleep in the living room, never liked being in my room at all.. so SteamBox is my dreams come true.

grommmmmm
grommmmmm

This all sounds promising, but it had better not be a 'light' or completely locked down closed box version of PC gaming. Just because it's Linux-based, doesn't mean it's going to be 'open'. As we're seeing in the run-up to the PS4 and Xbone, publisher interests often run diametrically against user interests. I don't think users will care as much whether it's open source proper, as whether it's accommodating with DRM/authorization requirements. But foremost, it's actual PC gaming that we would want, not 'another propriety gaming platform from the same people who brought you Steam'.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

Steam has to convince people that Steam OS is better than Windows.  Windows haters can say what they want, but the reason everyone uses it is because everything is designed for it. 

RikkiTTavi
RikkiTTavi

What is Living Room for God`s sake?

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

I look forward to seeing how this turns out and if it will be worth buying or not.

Atheosis
Atheosis

The Linux-based OS seems like a bad idea gaming-wise.  And while they say you will be able to use Windows, not having it pre-installed creates all kinds of issues from increasing the overall cost to potential performance bugs. 

Gamerhomer
Gamerhomer

"5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode"

Revolutionising the gaming word

TexasAnMGrad2K
TexasAnMGrad2K

If steam is trying to bring gaming to the living room, or bedroom, or whatever room... and they want to compete with consoles in terms of graphics and speed - those are going to be extremely expensive Steam boxes. Seriously, most people will keep playing Steam games on their gaming PCs, instead of buying a steam box. If they want a Steam box that compares to a gaming PC - that hooks up to your TV - you're going to have a choice between a PC you can upgrade anytime, or a Steam "box" that you settle with for your living room.

Hobbes444
Hobbes444

Upgrades? Who needs upgrades? Here at Apple we sell the exact s---, ummm i mean whole new products every year!

mr_nee
mr_nee

@mumrahh1 for $5000 I'll make you one and add a free sticker!

DigiRave
DigiRave

@Daemoroth 


That's pretty much what I do. even with games that aren't from steam.


PLUS: I can use my TV for watching TV shows & movies over the internet with 0 commercials, watching youtube, email, browsing the net, working, and if I want to play a game (FPS, for example) with mouse and keyboard, I can immediately switch to my wireless mouse and keyboard and sit anywhere in the room ---- Forget about the Steam Machine!

frylock1987
frylock1987

@Daemoroth 

Or maybe the Steam Machine will be more affordable for some people.....

Ever thnk of that? Of course not.

frylock1987
frylock1987

@Elma007  

Most games on steam can be played with a 360 controller that automatically maps things or you can set it yourself....been doing it for 10 years now for certain games.

Lamesy
Lamesy

@Elma007 "Will we suddenly have gamepad support for those games that don't use normally use a gamepad?"
Uh yes, we will. Did you completely miss the Steam controller hubbub?

Stinger78
Stinger78

@Kalbent If you haven't, you should play Episode 1 and Episode 2.  At least the wait for something more has been shorter than 9 years, and I found the episodes to be worthy continuations of HL 2.  I just wish they'd release Episode 3.

finaleve
finaleve

@PC_Otter It's called converting the console only people to PC without them realizing it's an actual PC.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

@PC_Otter The steam machines are smaller than a desktop computer. They're compact. I can hook my desktop up to my living room TV too, but it's just not practical with a mouse and keyboard. 

These steam machines will let you play with a controller, with PC hardware specs, without moving your desktop. 

Also, there will be a cheap one that will let you stream your games to it from your main PC, so you don't have to move them around.

StealthHimself
StealthHimself

@PC_Otter For some it is, and I wouldn't call them idiots.. more like technologically-naive.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@toffifee and that is good for you.   There are people who just do not want to deal with PCs; they want just download and play, or put in disk and play. 

PC gaming has come along way and many of the issues are in the past but there are still some issues to get through and many console gamers just do not want to deal with any problems, even a little one. 

toffifee
toffifee

I'll just have to wait and see about this since the information that's out does nothing to make me want to buy this. Love Steam though.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@nate1222 SteamOS is Linux. It won't be able to run all your windows games. At best you will be able to stream them from your PC

inthepastxx
inthepastxx

@nate1222 well the Steam Machine isn't really a console, its still a PC but a way to source it to more people around the world.

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Dogswithguns what's wrong with your room? Are you exhibitionist?

AlexKidd5000
AlexKidd5000

@grommmmmm Hopefully any game made for SteamOS will be available for regular steam for Windows/Linux.

jcknapier711
jcknapier711

@RikkiTTavi I have a studio.  I don't even know what a bedroom is...or kitchen for that matter...

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@TexasAnMGrad2K Steam box will not come out till next year, so price of a similarly capable Steam box should be on par with the Xbox console. A $600.00 Steam Box with Steam OS will be a great deal.

I would imagine If they have an exclusive deal with AMD then they could get a deal on the cost of chips especially if its the same as the ones in the consoles, or a tad bit more powerful, as PC don't nee to sip energy. 

Well, I am willing to wait and see.  I wish them the best of luck. And hope all goes well.  

Gamerhomer
Gamerhomer

@TexasAnMGrad2K  

Sony clearly struck a deal with AMD on the hardware, why it's so cheap. If Steam don't do the same sort of thing, this thing could be well expensive.

With the none existent exclusive range Steam won't sell their system at a loss like consoles do. This thing I think will be over priced and totally lacking in games.

Stinger78
Stinger78

@frylock1987 @Daemoroth An HDMI can be found cheap online, as well as an Xbox 360 controller, and those are much cheaper than buying a whole "Steam Machine".  

'Ever thnk of that? Of course not.'

mr_nee
mr_nee

@jcknapier711 do you know what toilet is? or do you poop/eat/sleep all in one place?

luciann
luciann

@Gamerhomer You realise that a PC that matches PS4  in terms of performance is about 400 euros. And that is because you have to pay retailers in the process, the price can easily go down a quarter 

Also not to forget the main thing of this is that you can stream games from PC/theirs servers. Which means one of the box model can have a low performance,thus price, maybe under 100 with a controller