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UPDATED: Adding specifications of Steam Machines.

Valve Software, a well-known video game developer and the owner of Steam game distribution service, this week introduced the first generation of Steam Machines, personal computers powered by Steam OS operating system that come with a special controller and targeted at living rooms. Over a dozen of PC makers have so far developed their Steam Machines targeting various market segments.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week fourteen PC makers introduced various models of their Steam Machines targeted for release in 2014. The lineup of Steam Machines announced today offers a wide variety of price and performance options made possible by the Steam Machine's open design, with systems starting as low as $499 and top end systems rivaling today's bleeding edge gaming PCs. The new systems come in different form-factors, some are designed specifically for living rooms, other are just custom-built gaming personal computers with Steam OS.

"The first generation Steam Machines offers something for every gamer, which is a critical part of extending Steam into the living room. With over 3000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it is important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them," said Gabe Newell, the head of Valve.

Steam Machines will be available from such makers as Alienware, Alternate, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte Technology, iBuyPower, Maingear, Material.net, Next Spa, Origin PC, Scan, Webhallen and Zotac. Other manufacturers will likely reveal their Steam Machines later.

While generally it can be considered as a success that Valve managed to attract over a dozen of PC manufacturers to join the Steam Machines initiative, it should be noted that the systems are way to dissimilar and offer considerably different levels of performance and user experience, which inevitably will create segmentation. Some Steam Machines will come with high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards, whereas other will feature integrated graphics, which will result into dramatic performance differences between PCs that carry similar name.

Tags: Valve, Steam, SteamOS, Steam OS, Steam Machine, Steam Box, Steam Controller, Alienware, Alternate, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte Technology, IBuyPower, Maingear, Material.net, Next Spa, Origin PC, Scan, Webhallen, Zotac.

Discussion

Comments currently: 3
Discussion started: 01/09/14 05:39:12 AM
Latest comment: 01/10/14 07:59:40 PM
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1. 
This could be be easy way out for OEM'S to sell a PC without being bullied/coerced by M/S for selling a PC Without an O/S installed.
0 0 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 01/09/14 05:39:12 AM]
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2. 
"offer considerably different levels of performance and user experience" <------Just NO! Steam OS and client offers unified gaming experience across all platforms! [Read below]!

"Some Steam Machines will come with high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards, whereas other will feature integrated graphics, which will result into dramatic performance differences between PCs that carry similar name."

No, the steam OS and the Steam client will offer a standard user interface, across all platforms. Valve has listed the minimum specifications for Steam Branding for its hardware partners, so what are the problems with steam branded PCs being affordable, and available across a broad range of income levels. Video games have minimum requirements, adjustments to the level of realism, and screen resolution, to cover a broad range of gaming platforms! Anyone building their own PC based on the Steam OS is going to know what they are doing, or they would not attempt building a custom gaming rig in the first palce. Any Steam hardware partner that skimps on quality, will be identified, and quickly find themselves with a stock of unsaleable goods. Because these Steam based platforms will be built around open hardware/software even the pre-manufactured units will be PCs in their own right, and should be user upgradeable, unlike the proprietary consoles!
0 1 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 01/09/14 10:32:02 PM]
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Well, yes, the different systems WILL offer different levels of performance and experience. You said it yourself - video games have adjustments to levels of realism and graphics quality, which are both things that affect the gamer's experience. Someone with an IGP is going to have a different experience than someone with a GTX780 Ti.

Just because the user interface is "common" doesn't mean the gaming horsepower won't wildly vary, and I can't see anyone suggesting that games be deliberately gimped so the low power systems aren't missing out on anything. Nevermind that the upgradability means that some people will get even more left behind as time goes on.

In the end, I wouldn't expect the hardware aspect to be any different than how things are under Windows right now. Minimum and recommended requirements for each game, and a zillion forum posts asking if their hardware is good enough for Game X
0 0 [Posted by: MpG  | Date: 01/10/14 07:59:40 PM]
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