Portable Steam Machine Gets Price and Release Window

Civilization V on the road.

212 Comments

If you've ever wanted to take your Steam library of PC games on the road, soon you'll be able to buy a device capable of doing just that. The Smach Zero, a portable Steam machine, now has an official release date and price.

Previously known as the Steam Boy, the Smach Zero will launch in quarter four (October-December) of 2016, and pre-sales will be available starting November 10. If you preorder it, it'll cost you $299. The company states that this price is only for preorders, and it'll cost a bit more if you wait until later to buy it.

No Caption Provided

In terms of form factor, the Smach Zero looks like a cross between a Vita and a Steam controller. It has an embedded screen flanked by two of the distinctive Steam controller circle pads, with four buttons on each side. The gamepad is configurable, as well, to suit different games.

The device has 4 GB of RAM, a 720p touchscreen, HDMI output, Bluetooth and Wifi connectivity, and 32 GB internal storage. As a Steam machine, it runs Valve's SteamOS, an operating system designed specifically to run Steam.

Other companies have also attempted to create portable PCs capable of playing your Steam games, with varying degrees of success. Razer, for example, opted to focus on fitting a lot of power into a small device and made the Edge tablet, which gives players the ability to play pretty much any game at moderate settings. The tablet, however, has a very short battery life when running games.

What do you think of a portable Steam machine? Let us know in the comments.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for AGx07
AGx07

Even at that price I won't buy a device like this sight-unseen, especially when I see no information about the processors being used to run the thing.

Avatar image for rasterror
rasterror

I hope it has a clip on which allows you to attach a external hard drive but 32 GB isn't worth a squirrel fart when it comes to the PC games most would want to play.

Avatar image for naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I can't imagine Steam are putting too much of their weight behind this.

Avatar image for leapmaster
LeapMaster

Everyone's talking about storage and RAM limitations, and we don't even know if this handheld device has the CPU/GPU power to handle most modern PC games.

Avatar image for dementedlullaby
dementedlullaby

Will it take external memory cards? Preferably micro sd?

Avatar image for kazeswen
kazeswen

Smach Zero....really. Who came up with that name!?

Steam Boy was perfect, who's gonna but a Smach Zero?

Avatar image for onefai
Onefai

I can't imagine installing PC games on a handheld. Streaming on the other hand will be nice.

Avatar image for kaalkurayami
KaalKurayami

nice!

Avatar image for bigtruckseries
bigtruckseries

I don't understand the logic of a portable designed to play games that I learned to play on a MOUSE AND KEYBOARD.

Avatar image for troopertrooper
TrooperTrooper

@bigtruckseries: Belive it or not but some of PC Gamers also have a controller as well as a keyboard.

Avatar image for chickengamerr
chickengamerr

It's called remote play people. A la Nivdia Shield.

Avatar image for Silverline62
Silverline62

@chickengamerr: Doesn't look like it's remote play, heck who would pay 399 or more bucks for a remote play machine?? Not someone in their sane mind.

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pogybait

@Silverline62: when was the last time you played tetris on your phone? how much phone cost? over 399 I bet!

Avatar image for Silverline62
Silverline62

@pogybait: What's that have to do with anything? Plus I don't even like Tetris so I have no idea.

Avatar image for mattji104
mattji104

I don't see this as being used to play things like GTAV and Witcher 3. I doubt it could even run them at all, and I'm not thinking about the RAM, just the cpu and gpu power.

I would want something like this to play my backlog of sale games from Steam that I typically dont like to spend time with at home.

Transistor, Bastion, Ori and the Blind Forest, Axiom Verge, etc etc.

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

32GB of memory? So... one game at a time?

Avatar image for Fade2black001
Fade2black001

@foxhound_fox: Memory is NOT storage space. Memory refers to RAM not storage space. I hate it when people do this as it confuses the hell out of me.

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

@Fade2black001: There are many types of memory. Random Access Memory is RAM. Read Only Memory is ROM. Hard discs and internal flash storage also have "memory". It's defined as the ability to store digital binary code. It comes in many forms, and is not limited to one type.

The article says EXPLICITLY that it has 4 GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. You should read the article next time.

Avatar image for Fade2black001
Fade2black001

@foxhound_fox: I did read the article. Also you see how it says STORAGE and not memory?

Avatar image for foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

@Fade2black001: People who argue semantics are 1) either making argument for the sake of it or 2) insecure about something and need to find a way to pick on others for simple mistakes that anyone with some sense of how language works would overlook.

Avatar image for kaalkurayami
KaalKurayami

@Fade2black001: lol

Avatar image for DJ-Wolfman09
DJ-Wolfman09

This sounds like a cool idea, but I see one major problem: 4GB of RAM isn't gonna do ya much good with any larger games. I'm just gonna assume that you can add to the storage with a micro SD because if 32GB of internal storage is all you get you'll only manage to get one, at best two games on there.

Like I said, don't think it's a bad idea just don't think they thought it completely through...

Avatar image for -Unreal-
-Unreal-

@DJ-Wolfman09 said:

This sounds like a cool idea, but I see one major problem: 4GB of RAM isn't gonna do ya much good with any larger games. I'm just gonna assume that you can add to the storage with a micro SD because if 32GB of internal storage is all you get you'll only manage to get one, at best two games on there.

Like I said, don't think it's a bad idea just don't think they thought it completely through...

There's very few games I can think of that will have major problems running on 4GB of memory.

Avatar image for DeroxKING
DeroxKING

@-Unreal-: Gta 5? Skyrim? I agree this would play most my steam library, but id be getting this instead of a computer......

Avatar image for RS13
RS13

@DeroxKING: Skyrim runs fine at 4GB.

Avatar image for demon-returns
demon-returns

@RS13 said:

@DeroxKING: Skyrim runs fine at 4GB.

people still play skyrim??

Avatar image for 3D3
3D3

flop

Avatar image for yzarc1
yzarc1

The price is extravagant. On an upside this is what I actually expected when the first screenshots of the Steam Controller was released.

Only downside I have yet tried the hepatic controllers so the lack of an analog stick might be a problem if I am unable to adapt. Touch could be useful ,access to mini-map on the touchscreen, weapons selection, potions hot buttons, or even text while playing.

I'm interested in how well this would work with Steam Link. It could be really great for playing on the go; or as a really expensive controller like a WiiU when using in-home streaming with my PC.

32gb is basically Witcher 3. So it is a one game system unless you want to connect online delete the game saved and download another one.

My initial impression are...Unusually optimistic.

Avatar image for paulogy
paulogy

Or, you could get a Vita right now, for less than $200 and play many of the same PC games on it :-)

Avatar image for coold_steam
coold_steam

The question is, do I really need this device.

at the moment no i dont, but in the future i might.

Avatar image for chronogos
Chronogos

This is a failure right out of the box!

First off, what's their target audience? I'm assuming it's adults, but if so, how many adults play handheld games? It's mostly a chidish thing to do which is why the 3DS is selling so well.

The Vita had the issue I forsee the Steamboy will share - too expensive and a slim audience

EDIT: Not too many of the Steam games I have will fit in 32GB of storage, that's going to be the other fatal flaw

Avatar image for DJ-Wolfman09
DJ-Wolfman09

@chronogos: I think I speak for most other gamers when I say so long as the game's fun we'll play it, handheld or not, so I'm thinking you're in the minority here.

There's a pretty big adult audience for handhelds, just in my college alone nearly everyone I see has a 3DS, and they're mostly in their mid 20's like me. And really $299 is about the norm for a newly released handheld, it ain't that bad (personally I was expecting more...)

Having said that I do agree this probably won't do too well, but my reasons are for the hardware shortcomings: too little ram to play with, and like you said, not enough storage space. If they're smart ( one can hope) than at the very least they'll allow you to add to the storage with a micro SD.

Avatar image for psychomantis47
psychomantis47

i want this thing. so what if it doesn't run crisis at max settings (btw, is that still relevant?)

Avatar image for chronogos
Chronogos

@psychomantis47 said:

i want this thing. so what if it doesn't run crisis at max settings (btw, is that still relevant?)

Crisis? That game is like 8 years old now?? lol.

I'd say let's test it out with Crisis 3!

Avatar image for danthepatrick
Danthepatrick

@chronogos: Crysis 3 is only on Origin.

Avatar image for -Unreal-
-Unreal-

@danthepatrick said:

@chronogos: Crysis 3 is only on Origin.

SteamOS is Linux based. I'm sure you'll be able to play Crysis 3 on this thing.

Avatar image for d_
D_

If I cared about mobile gaming on a PC level then I would just get a new laptop that's gaming-capable, which I already plan on doing once there's 1 graphics card that can handle 4K @60fps.

Avatar image for Fade2black001
Fade2black001

@d_: That would be on expensive ass laptop. Also laptops don't even have 4k screens either. The closet you will get is the Apple retina disiplay

Avatar image for d_
D_

@Fade2black001: Right, I had more in mind of playing 4K on the big screen though, I just want a laptop thats capable of it since I have no plans of ever getting a desktop PC. I already have a Mac Pro retina but I wouldn't even try to play Tetris on it.

Avatar image for d_
D_

@d_: Btw there's already laptops with 4K screens, but the majority of them are useless since the laptops themselves don't have the power needed to actually make use of it, & 4K on such a tiny screen is pretty pointless.

Avatar image for chronogos
Chronogos

@ric0:

You're absolutely right. Look at how the NVidia Shield / Windows tablets did. This is going to be a product that has no market. I see this going the route of the Vita. It was designed to be powerful and have adult friendly games. The Vita was $299 when it first came out as well, and nobody was willing to buy it at that price. Not only that, but how many adults like to play portable games anyway? Not many. That's why the 3DS does so well - it has tons of kids games to keep kids busy on a road trip

Avatar image for sknight175216
sknight175216

It can't really hold many modern games with 32 GB of storage space. Maybe it will support SD cards, but that would get expensive kind of fast.

Avatar image for UrbanMessiah
UrbanMessiah

Modded Skyrim and Fallout 3/New Vegas on the go? Hmm...that could be pretty cool.

Avatar image for trog69
trog69

@UrbanMessiah: Those games would be enough to make me happy, too. I'm waaaay behind the curve in Skyrim, having just now starting my second go-round after playing halfway through with an uber-warrior. I die more now, but I like it better than just walking in and bashing the wizard twice to kill him/her. heh

Avatar image for Mizarzeug
Mizarzeug

Ill wait and see how well performs along with their catalog and company support since a degree of credibility and commitment from Valve to this market is crucial to avoid an ouya . It also needs to provide an experience that holds its own and dont rely on steam or steam machines for those who dont use those gaming platforms.

Avatar image for koboldkabab
KoboldKabab

4 GB of RAM lol... that's not going to do anything for great games... CIV V on 4 GB of RAM? What is this 2008?

Avatar image for Fade2black001
Fade2black001

@koboldkabab: Civ will play perfectly fine on 4GB of RAM. I don't think I ever seen the game use more than 2GB and that's not very common.