Valve Reveals Steam Machines Program, Protoype Testing

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rauelius

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various computer manufacturers for the Steambox.
Acer SC-D17
AMD A10 6800k CPU(using the built in Radeon Graphics)
8GB DDR3 2133
500GB Hard Drive
System about the size of the current Xbox 360
$399
Asus K-Mesa 303
Intel Core i5 4430
16GB DDR3 2133
Radeon R8-270x (next Radeon 7870 replacement)
1TB Hard Drive
Box Shaped, small enough to fit in an entertainment center, but big enough to upgrade the GPU/CPU yourself
$699
Alienware Aperture Level 1
Intel i7 4770k
16GB DD3 2400
2TB Hard Drive (with space to add another)
256GB SSD for the main OS
2x Geforce GTX 760 in SLI
About the size of a tiny Micro-ATX PC on it's side.
$1699.99
*
Systems built on SteamOS will be locked to it in the same way that ChromeOS is locked to Chromebooks. You can install other Linux Distros but Windows installs will not be possible. These are the three main Beta units that Valve will be shipping/offering to 300 Beta-testers.
 

jd_w98

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Sweet. I heard that Amd is upping their Linux drivers because of this so even if this does fail, it will help people who want Linux on Amd systems :p
 

shikamaru31789

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If they can release a Steam Machine with specs that are comparable to the Xbox One and PS4, in a small enough form factor to sit on a small-medium sized entertainment center shelf with room for proper ventilation, at a competitive price, I might just get one.

I do have some reservations about the Steam Machine though due to it's open nature. If it's designed for gamepad use but mouse/keyboard is allowed, mouse/keyboard players will have a distinct advantage in competitive shooters. There's also the similar problem of people with higher spec Steam Machine's being able to turn on higher FOV, giving them an advantage in competitive shooters. If Steam can find some way to add in matchmaking options that allow you to be grouped with other gamepad players and players with similar FOV, they should be able to solve those problems. I also want them to add some value to achievements, like Sony and Microsoft have. And of course there's the problem of Steam OS being Linux based and Valve not yet announcing which games are being ported to SteamOS.
 

jrstriker12

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What's your source?

The current Steam Machine page (http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamMachines/) says:

"Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot?
Sure."

Doesn't seem like these machines will be lock down at all.
 

jrstriker12

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I wonder about the competitive price thing since most consoles were sold at a loss - at least initially.

Are steam machine manufacturers going to be willing to take the hit that MS or Sony might?
 

catfishtx

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I will have to buy a gamepad and make ten friends. At least we don't have to share gameplay, post to someone's wall, or something else stupid.
 

shikamaru31789

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Yeah, that's the problem really. I priced my own Steam Box in an HTPC case a few months back when the Xbox One was first announced because I was trying to decide if I should switch to PC this generation. It came out to $650 or 700, and the specs I picked may still be too low to match the PS4 and Xbox One due to optimization on consoles. If none of these Steam Machine manufacturers are willing to sell at a loss, I don't think they will be able to match the consoles on price/performance ratio.
 

jrstriker12

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The only way to make up the price/performance difference may be the streaming functionality that is offered in steam OS, but unless steam will host its own streaming service, that still depends on have in nice GPU sitting in another, more expensive PC.

Overall the whole concept is interesting but I'm not sold just yet.
 

Durandul

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Why would any steam box manufacturer sell at a loss? Not that I would dislike it if it happened, but it wouldn't make business sense. The reason consoles sell at a loss is because they make up for it in game purchases. For the manufacturers to make money selling at a loss, Valve would have to refund them as people purchase games.
 

shikamaru31789

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Yeah, the rumor I heard was that the SteamOS streaming technology was licensed from Nvidia's streaming technology from the Shield. So there isn't some streaming service allowing you to stream full games from more powerful hardware in a cloud. So you'd need a more powerful PC elsewhere in your house in order to stream games to your Steam Machine, and even then you have to deal with latency issues inherent of streaming technologies.

Valve definitely hasn't sold me on the Steam Machine and SteamOS yet. There are still too many unanswered questions, and I fear that the answers won't be to my liking when they finally do answer them.
 

rauelius

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I BUILT a gaming PC (for my bedroom TV) for less than $400 that would stomp the hell out of the upcoming consoles.
Core i3 2120 - $75 (Open-Box)
EVGA P67 Mobo - $25($50 w/$25 MiR)
Radeon 7850 2GB -$85 (came w/ two games I was gonna buy anyway)
Rosewill Case - $25 (caught it cheap on newegg)
Rosewill 700watt PSU - $40 (rebates)
8GB DDR3 1333 - $45
DVD-RW - $15
Toshiba 2TB HDD - $85
Subscription to Steam - $0
Total for a completely usable gaming PC - $395
For comparisons, my main machine is a 4.8Ghz Core i7 3770k, with 16GB DDR3 1866 and Two Asus GTX670's in SLI @ 1050mhz core and 7Ghz on memory. Now, I play Metro last light across both very well. The i3 runs it at 720p and the i7 does 1080p or multiple monitors.
That's the beauty of PC gaming, even a scrappy little i3 can be the foundation for a solid gaming PC.
 

Bloob

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Why would any steam box manufacturer sell at a loss? Not that I would dislike it if it happened, but it wouldn't make business sense. The reason consoles sell at a loss is because they make up for it in game purchases. For the manufacturers to make money selling at a loss, Valve would have to refund them as people purchase games.
I guess they could do what google does with the nexus -line, where devices are sold at a loss, but where google pays the difference to the manufacturer, and makes the money back from services.
 

back_by_demand

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In order to compete with other consoles they need more, gaming is just 1 thing consoles do, they are full home entertainment centres - a HTPC can do this too - get those features in SteamOS or the Steambox and we are a step closer
 

ricky_d

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Last time I checked linux could play music and movies :)
Ok, you'll have to install mp3 support yourself because of licensing issues.
 

back_by_demand

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ricky_d, it may be Linux but no details if you can get into it or if it uses Linux as a base for a front end that you can't modify - when we know more we can say more, but even if it is boxed off they should have some baked in add-ons to enable such as Hulu, Netflix, etc - something akin to XBMC would be perfect
 

back_by_demand

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Wild speculation time and a prediction, for announcement 3 of the week
Gabe will take the stage, a big screen behind him, flashing up the previous announcements

1 - SteamOS
2 - Steambox
Half Life 3 - available Xmas 2013

He will stand there and say nothing, soaking up a 35 minute standing ovation, then walk off stage not saying a word
 

stevejnb

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What I'm still waiting to hear is will this OS allow for games to be made for it that don't require them to be subject to Steam's DRM and Valve's rules/licensing fees? Keep in mind that for the platform that all of you speak about in such a negative fashion, some upstart can decide to make a game, do so any way they want, and distribute it any way they want, never letting MS or any other publisher see a dime of their money. Will SteamOS offer the same possibility, or is it a case of "If you make a game for SteamOS, it is distributed through Steam and Valve gets a cut - end of story"?

If this is the case, I have to ask - how is this any different than if MS suddenly said "Ok, you want to make a game for our OS? You HAVE to distribute it through the Windows Store and give us a cut or we won't allow it." Isn't this exactly the type of walled garden type stuff many of you so vehemently oppose from MS, even though they don't actually force anyone to use any of the services that they directly control?
 

stevejnb

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Oye, well, this is all based on incomplete knowledge on my part. The SteamOS website makes it *sound* like the whole thing is centered on Steam. If this is the case, how could any of you possibly believe this is going to "save" PC gaming or bring it forward in the spirit of what PC gaming has been for decades?

Since the internet hit a sweet spot of fast and cheap, we've seen some really incredible things happen in PC gaming. People focus so much on the loss of big AAA type developers from the 90's to consoles that they've missed that there is this massive and varied spectrum of PC gaming out there from dozens upon dozens of smaller companies and developers producing distributing, and publishing games in just about every way you can think of. From Indie games to weird Asian consortiums offering dozens of free to play MMO's to shockingly developed web browser games, PC gaming is a bustling mosaic of gaming not sitting under any single organizational body or set of rules. This is why it's great and why it offers something very distinct from the console or App Store type environment.

If SteamOS really is "Steam or nothing" this is exactly what I'd assumed PC gamers have been opposed to for years - the movement towards there being a unified service through which all games on the PC must be distributed through, all run by one company. These are the people who have been complaining about walled gardens from MS and Apple and whatnot and, to my shock and surprise, they are looking in at what may well be a Valve run walled garden that says "Yeah, we want to become PC gaming" and their reaction is to say "HUZZAH! Our saviours have arrived!" Steam is all good and fine when it is one service on an OS that allows for developers of all sorts to develop and distribute any way they want, but if it is built into an OS and is the only show in town on that OS? That is *horrible* for PC gaming as a truly open platform, if that OS were to ever get a stranglehold on PC gaming.

If SteamOS demands that every game on it be run through Steam, run for your lives. This is the step that MS has NEVER taken and I am shocked that anyone who actually gives a rat's arse about the PC as a truly open gaming platform would be so short sighted as to hope this thing actually makes a huge dent in the PC gaming world. This is a neat service that I doubt I'll avoid, but it if is a Steam only OS, I desperately hope that it never takes a majority of the PC gaming marketshare.
 

back_by_demand

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Steve, you have convinced me, if SteamOS is a walled garden and they drop Windows as a platform, forcing people to switch OS to game - that will kill PC gaming dead in less than a year
 
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