Posts Tagged ‘SteamOS’

Why Early Steam Machines Need To Be Upgradable

By Nathan Grayson on January 22nd, 2014.

Steam Machines might be Valve’s answer to consoles, but that doesn’t mean they play by the same rules as Sony and Microsoft’s increasingly indistinguishable boxes. Linux is an open platform and Steam is constantly evolving. I do not think it’s unreasonable, then, to expect elements of PC gaming to creep into Steam Machine hardware as well. Just, uh, maybe don’t get your hopes up for Alienware to kick off that trend. The intergalactic planetary PC supplier has decided that upgrading its Steam Machines won’t be a modular process. If you want shiny new CPUs, graphics cards, or even memory, you’ll have to pick up a whole new box. While SteamOS can change conveniently and for free, hardware, as ever, comes at a price. And that’s a problem – one that hardware manufacturers should consider remedying if they want us to be at all interested in their first round of Steam Machines.

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Valve Talks SteamOS And Diretide, Defends Communication

By Nathan Grayson on January 10th, 2014.

Valve is a strange company. The mega-dev has always paddled against the inundating current of conventional wisdom, but it gets especially odd when it defies its own internal logic. Oh yeah, also infuriating. As we’ve observed on multiple occasions, the house that Newell built is often extremely open, responsive, and communicative… except when it’s really, really not. Half-Life 3, a recent bout of (still-unexplained) layoffs, Diretide, etc. These lapses don’t make Valve a Bad Guy or anything, but they do strain the developer’s relationship with its 65-million-strong audience. It’s an odd dichotomy that’s more relevant than ever with the evolution of Steam Machines and SteamOS apparently in the community’s hands. So I decided to ask Valve a simple question: What gives?

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So Then, Why Should You Buy A Steam Machine?

By Nathan Grayson on January 9th, 2014.

Yes, that’s right: You. That is who this article is for. Absolutely, positively nobody else. And by that, I of course mean Yousef Johnson, the world’s most average PC gaming enthusiast. He spends much of his leisure time playing on his own custom-built PC, largely by way of Steam. According to Valve, You (and perhaps by extension, also you) are who the initial line of Steam Machines is aimed at. And yet, so far it’s difficult to find many reasons to care. There’s the living room appeal, sure, but what’s to stop You from simply installing SteamOS on his own machine, buying a Steam controller, and doing a bit of quick (not to mention free) legwork? I asked Valve to justify its massive yet arguably over-cautious endeavor both now and in the long run. Here’s how the PC juggernaut replied.

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Watch Us Critique Valve’s Steam Controller

By Nathan Grayson on January 8th, 2014.

Why yes, I do groom that thin film of arm hair meticulously every day. Thank you for noticing

Valve’s robot owl Steam controller has been the talk of the town since the town learned to talk, but talk is cheap. While attending Valve’s recent CES Steam Machine event, I realized I had light and a camera, so it was time for action. Go below to watch me comment on (and gripe about) a beta Steam controller’s many, er, eccentric ins and outs while playing games like Metro: Last Light and Starbound. Valve’s onto something, I think, but there’s still a worrisome amount of work to be done before primetime. 

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Valve Announce Steam Machines With Specs And Prices

By Graham Smith on January 7th, 2014.

I bet this one is expensive.

The Consumer Electronics Show is happening in Las Vegas right now, which is a lot like E3 but full of televisions and Michael Bay instead of videogames. There is at least one thing there of interest to us, though: Valve have been revealing the first concrete details of their Steam Machine partners, including the 14 manufacturers currently making them and the specs and prices of some of those boxes.

Nathan is at the event and we’ll have interviews and impressions to share with you soon, but let’s round-up the news so far.
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SteamOS Is Out! Don’t Download It Yet

By Graham Smith on December 16th, 2013.

But can I rub Tux's eyes to control games?

Last week, Valve sent out the first 300 prototypes of their Steam Machines. That’s exciting, but unless you were one of the few randomly chosen, you can’t get involved. They also released the first version of their SteamOS for everyone to download, which is exciting but you should not get involved. Even Valve don’t think so.
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Ships Ahoy: Beta Steam Machines, SteamOS Out Friday

By Nathan Grayson on December 12th, 2013.

Naked, incomplete hardware just begging you to take a peek. Scandalous!

You there! Yes, you, with the hair, the shirt, and the microscopically minuscule pimple behind your left nostril that nobody – not even you – knows about. You could well be mere days away from receiving your very own Steam Machine. If you live in the US and signed up for Valve’s first round of testing, I would advise that you check your inbox now, lest you miss the opportunity to excitedly huddle around your fireplace, waiting for ol’ Saint Newell to slide down the chimney and pull your precious bounty from the safety of his beard of impossible wonders.

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The Steam Clears From iBuyPower’s SteamOS Machine

By Nathan Grayson on November 26th, 2013.

Uggggh, oh jeez. Mommmmmmmm, PlayStation 4 ate Xbox 360 again!

Valve’s already shown off a prototype of its mythical Steam Box, but what about all these third-party machines we keep hearing about? The hope is that they’ll offer price and versatility options where Valve can’t cut it on its own, so they could end up just as key in the FutureWar For The Living Room as GabeN’s boxy baby. Valve claims that numerous manufacturers are backing it up, but for now only iBuyPower has un-holstered its gleaming dust magnet of a secret weapon. Meet Gordon (or Freeman, depending on your preference for systems that look like glow-in-the-dark sandwiches). He will apparently be able to run all of your games in 1080p at 60 FPS.

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This Is Living (Room): Steam In-Home Streaming Beta Soon

By Nathan Grayson on November 21st, 2013.

Valve has named the group for this thing 'Homestream,' which sounds like something I'd call a good friend if I were trying way too hard to be hip. 'What up, homestream?' Hurrah! Now I hate myself!

Owning a gaming machine with horsepower for days can come with some pretty severe drawbacks – for instance, that it’s comparable to an actual horse in weight and portability. (And I can’t even ride it! What did I make this damn thing for, anyway?) The prospect of following Valve’s rhythmically clomping war party into the living room, then, isn’t the most attractive. Not when I have to pit my spine against weight that would bow a flagpole for multiple action-packed flights of stairs. But soon, all will be well. Valve’s officially announced its in-home streaming program for Steam, and it sounds like just what my doctor would’ve ordered after diagnosing me with folded-up-like-a-human-accordion syndrome.

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Valve Shows Off Steam Hardware, Promises No Exclusives

By Nathan Grayson on November 5th, 2013.

Lookit! A box! Isn’t that just the most exciting thing? The Internet is, of course, in a tizzy over Valve’s big reveal of a Steam Machine prototype, and – yep – it sure looks like one of them newfangled VCRs that can play those dang dern gametapes we never stop talking about. The bigger news, however, is that you need not worry about being required to own one – or even running SteamOS, for that matter. Nope, not even for Half-Life 3. Valve, happily, is philosophically opposed to the idea of platform exclusives.

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Prototype SteamBox Specs Revealed!

By Jim Rossignol on October 5th, 2013.


Valve have posted up a range of specs for the Steam Box prototype – or prototypes, as they have varied CPU and gfx cards – three hundred of which are going to be sent out to early sign ups. They explain: “The prototype machine is a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts. It is also fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, even the motherboard if you really want to. Apart from the custom enclosure, anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves. And we expect that at least a few people will do just that. (We’ll also share the source CAD files for our enclosure, in case people want to replicate it as well.)”

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