So Then, Why Should You Buy A Steam Machine?

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.

After hands-on time, heaps of developer conversation, and hours of discussion, I think I can safely say that, in my expert opinion, Steam Machines are weird.

Would [Half-Life being exclusive] make all of our customers happy? I don’t think so.

While Valve’s goal of sowing the seeds for a more open living room ecosystem is admirable, this doesn’t strike me as the most surefooted start. I mean, customers are looking at countless options of all shapes, sizes, configurations, and price ranges, not to mention an OS that requires a separate streaming machine to access most of its own games. For its part, Valve has opted to stand on the sidelines and offer both teams – players and hardware manufacturers – moist towelettes and whatever their hearts desire. Eventually. This, right now, is all a test, more or less. A big, fat, perhaps overly convoluted test.

So the initial batch of Steam Machines isn’t really for the faint of heart. If you like the way your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 welcomes you with a tray of cookies and a warm glass of lukewarm games, Steam Machines probably won’t tempt you away. But that’s OK, Valve says. This game begins with the ball in PC gamers’ court, and they’ll help Valve spread its living room empire far and wide.

And yeah, that sounds reasonable enough on paper, but why should PC gamers shell out for an entire brand new, in some cases overpriced box? Heck, even tossing our current machines into the glitchy gears of SteamOS isn’t the most appealing proposition at this point. So why is Valve so sure hardcore PC gamers like you and me are going to bite the bullet and embrace a still nascent, unfortunately convoluted system?

“We have 65 million users with value in Steam accounts, and they want those games – their libraries – in the living room,” claimed SteamOS and Steam Machine designer Kassidy Gerber. “I think part of the value proposition is that we’ll be able to support all those excellent titles in the living room. I think we’ve proven we’re committed to holding onto your library for you.”

“A lot of these titles, traditional PC gaming titles, they actually move really well into the living room if you have the right controls. Like Civilization V is actually a really fun experience. So if you open this stuff up, you get a good cross between console and PC.”

But those are the obvious answers, and honestly I doubt I’d uproot my entire setup – not to mention spend gobs of money – on those promises alone. I decided to probe deeper. Why would I want new hardware? Steam Machines might be the proposed missing link between PC and console, but I’m not a console gamer. I like to upgrade little-by-little. I don’t buy an entire new machine unless I absolutely have to. Gerber replied:

“We think some people will choose to [buy a controller and install SteamOS on their own machines]. So I think the appeal will be for customers who are excited – who want to buy into the Steam Machine concept. It’s gonna be different for each person. If you want to buy a Steam Machine that’s been built from the get-go to be quiet and cool with the performance specs you want, you can have that off-the-shelf experience. I think that’s a good option. And then some people like you may decide to wait.”

Fair enough, though I’m still skeptical about how many people will be roped in by a confused opening pitch and mere long-term promise. But I bite: what does buying into the Steam Machine concept get people? What do they stand to gain if they weather the early storm without falling overboard into a sea of hungry competitors?

First up, the biggie: virtual reality. While Valve quite publicly let go of AR/VR experts (and current CastAR creators) Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson early last year, it’s still working on its own VR project. Gerber couldn’t discuss many details, but she was able to offer this simple assurance: “Yeah, [we hope to integrate VR], but it’s still in very early stages. We have plans.”

And beyond that? Well, the living room is far from a games-only entertainment space. Valve, then, doesn’t intend on keeping Steam games-only for too much longer.

“We’re looking to bring more content to living rooms,” Gerber explained. “Stuff like music and video content. We’re hoping to do that on Steam Machines. And, I mean, it’s not a super sexy feature, but we’ve added parental controls and family sharing. We look at it as, these are things people expect when they get into the living room, so we want to make sure they’re there.”

“So those are all reasons someone might decide to go with a Steam Machine over another console.”

One weapon that Valve will absolutely keep holstered, however, is the ever-arbitrary exclusive. If a game comes to SteamOS, it’s on Steam – and, via Windows streaming, vice versa. So no, you don’t need to worry: Half-Life 3 (if it descends from on-high in our lifetimes) won’t immediately be chained up in SteamOS’ dungeons.

“Would that make all of our customers happy? I don’t think so. We still want you to play Half-Life 3 or whatever game we bring to our customers. We want everyone to enjoy it. So Valve would never [make games exclusive to SteamOS] because that would upset our customers. It would be very shortsighted on our part,” Gerber confessed.

“I think it would make our hardware partners happy if we would do something like that, but Valve puts the customers first. Even when we don’t respond directly to customers, even when we’re frustrating, we’re paying attention to our forums and threads on Reddit. So yeah, we wouldn’t [make anything exclusive]. We wouldn’t do that.”

It’s good, too, that Valve fully plans on listening to its customers every step of the way. The hope is that feedback will ultimately turn Steam Machines and SteamOS into the best living room experience around. But still, there will be growing pains, and early adopters will have to suffer through them. On some level, that’s true of every new hardware initiative, but Valve especially doesn’t seem to have much of a plan here. Just a series of loose promises wrapped up in pretty packaging. Promises that it’ll all become much better after feedback starts flowing in. So I asked Gerber the question I’ve wanted to ask all console/hardware creators: are you treating your early customers like glorified beta participants? She replied:

“It’s weird for us to say ‘beta’ just because the way we think about beta – we’re software, right? The way we think about it is, we’re constantly iterating, constantly updating. We update the Steam client weekly. So it’s hard to call [the initial batch of Steam Machines] a beta. SteamOS will continue to evolve after it launches. And there won’t be an official console hardware like there is for Xbox or PS4, so our hardware partners will constantly be evolving and putting out new boxes. So it’s hard to say it’s a beta because we’ll always be listening and changing.”

But this isn’t software. It’s hardware, and subsequent upgrades won’t necessarily be free. SteamOS improvements? Sure. And Gerber claimed that many of the more daunting prospects – games not running on certain machines/OSes, configuration management, interface issues – will likely be streamlined into a far more inviting package with time. But at this point, Steam Machines don’t really seem like they’re “for” anybody in particular. Not bleeding-edge enough for hardcore PC enthusiasts, and not simplified enough for longtime console gamers. Gerber admitted that Valve aspects of its upcoming uphill battle will be like pulling teeth, but she thinks it will all pay off in time.

“The issue with what he have right now is that we weren’t really sure we were going to continue doing what we were doing,” she said. “It started off as just a combination of wanting to get into the living room – which is what our customers wanted – and also having an experience we could control at the end. Being able to do everything with the controller. We have some challenges ahead of us. There’s work to do, definitely.”

“So it really is just about listening to our customers. It’s hard for Valve to have a five or even two year plan. We respond to our customers. The plan will evolve as we get more feedback, hear what our users like, and hear what our hardware partners need from us. But I guess I’d say our two-year plan is making existing customers happy.”

Check back soon for the final part of our Valve blowout, in which we attempt to take Valve to task for some of its more lackluster communication efforts in the past. Valve might be listening, but will it improve its approach to responding? 


  1. Rich says:

    If you haven’t asked at least one question about what the hell happened to HL2:Ep3, you should be shot. From a canon. Into the sun.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Why yes, the lengthy lens of a Canon might just be perfect for shooting people into the sun!

      • AbigailBuccaneer says:

        Shooting into the sun can sometimes be an interesting lighting effect but more often than not just looks like a thoughtless mistake

        Maybe Rich meant “As your punishment for not asking about HL2:ep3 you should have an unflattering photograph taken of you.”

      • varangian says:

        Don’t be silly! Obviously Rich meant that Nathan should first be ingested by a Canon (whether Protestant, Catholic or other denomination he does not make clear) then, since Nathan is clearly indigestible, vomited forth in at least the general direction of the sun as even Catholic canons, who are renowned for their projectile vomiting skills, would not be able to send him as far as the sun itself. Unless he meant the newspaper in which case it might not only be possible but also obligatory for this to be done.

    • Keyrock says:

      It would likely be a lot simpler and more cost effective to simply take a picture of the sun with said canon then photoshop Nathan Grayson into the picture.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    I just hope these companies don’t invest too heavily in Steam machine. We don’t need another Udraw event.

    • HadToLogin says:

      They are making their usual PCs, just slap Valve/Steam sticker somewhere and install SteamOS instead of Windows. Nothing changed for them, outside of free marketing from gaming sites.

      • mukuste says:

        I thought the same. The remarkable thing about this whole endeavour seems to be how low-risk it is from all sides involved. Valve just puts some work into SteamOS and provides a relatively cheap controller, and the hardware companies can just relabel their machines and slap Windows on them if they fail to sell. I wouldn’t even be surprised if some of them sold their Steam Machines in two variants from the get go, one with SteamOS only and one with Windows, perhaps in parallel to SteamOS.

        • HadToLogin says:

          AFAIK, one of Steam Machines already use “we give you both Windows and SteamOS” as one of their selling points.

      • Ocki says:

        And that’s the best point for the manufacturers. The sales of their PCs are decreasing more and more. The average consumer doesn’t need a new PC. He has a laptop, a tablet or an old PC and perhaps a gaming console. And PC-enthusiasts are building their own. Labeled as a Steam machine, they can sell their PCs to the same target group but with a different premise. And there is a chance that they can get to the geeks with new fancy case concepts.
        So Steam machines is the best thing that could happen to PC manufacturers. At least in theory.

  3. Harold Finch says:

    Bizarre obsession with the living room.

    • sd4f says:

      It’s where the big bucks are. Steam has the lions share of PC games distribution, but they pale in comparison to the money that the consoles make, because those markets are so much larger.

      It has been happening for quite a while now, valve has been trying to get a firmer foothold into the wallets of the dirty console plebs.

      Anyone remember steam on PS3?

      • ahac says:

        Yes, Valve wants a share of the console market. But then this isn’t PC gaming anymore. If I wanted to play games on a couch, with a controller I already would. There is a reason why I prefer the PC and Steam machines won’t change that.

        If the future of PC gaming is: living room, couch, controller… then I really don’t like it.

        Also… they want video on Steam machines?
        tv, tv, television, tv, dog, tv?

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          While I can’t see myself doing too much gaming in the living room, it would be nice to have the choice to do it occasionally, probably for more local multiplayer-oriented titles that I currently play on Ps3, Xbox or Wii like Fifa, Kart racing games, co-operative platformers etc. While I COULD play them in my study with the kids stood around the desk, it’s not really very comfy or appealing.

          I already have a multimedia PC in the living room running XBMC, Spotify and a few other bits but it’s too low-spec for decent gaming and not really set up for it. If SteamOS succeeds and the streaming from ‘proper’ pc works well, I can definitely see myself replacing the media center PC with a Steam box (as long as it will run XBMC and other things too, which I understand should be fine).

          However, the Steam box is far more likely to be a custom one built by me purely because I presume it will be cheaper and I’ve always built my own machines in the past. I’m certainly open to persuasion though if the price is right.

        • mukuste says:

          May I ask, then, what does PC gaming mean for you? Because many of the real advantages, like modding support, better performance, cheaper games, larger library, more quirky titles, etc., all stay. I find these much more important than “not sitting on a couch”. Actually, I like gaming on a couch.

        • bills6693 says:

          Agreed. And yes, reading that comment about expanding the content with videos and music just made me more worried than anything. Is the front page of steam going to turn into a ‘number 1 singles’ and ‘hot TV shows’ alternative to the iTunes store? Will steam have its own ‘Netflix’ voice command? I just hope all this doesn’t take away from upgrading and improving the client for games and gamers.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          “If the future of PC gaming is: living room, couch, controller… then I really don’t like it.”

          I see this a lot and it is maddeningly myopic.

          No one is replacing the traditional role and space of PCs and PC games. They are expanding it. “Living room, couch, controller” are not replacing “desk, chair, kyeboard & mouse,” but are adding on the possibility to be enjoyed just like a console. It is more freedom, more functionality and opens PCs up to even more games, as some games really don’t play well on K&M setups.

          How is this at all a bad thing?

          • Archonsod says:

            I’ve had my PC in the living room for the past decade. With a wireless keyboard, mouse and Xbox controller. My girlfriend plugs her laptop into her TV already if she’s using it in the living room. If Valve were so interested in getting the PC into the living room, they missed the bus by about fifteen years.

            The ‘problem’ is the worry that we’re going to see them mutilate what is presently a decent gaming client in their effort to support hardware designed for a market that doesn’t actually exist.

        • noizy says:

          I have a wireless xbox controller and a 50ft HDMI to my TV. The living room has been here for a while. I play Spelunky in bed.

    • Rally.Plane says:

      Indeed, I have done away with traditional living room entirely.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      My games are already in the “livingroom” with a 110″ screen and yet I still play mostly at my desktop, except when friends come over. This whole thing feels like selling casual gaming to hardcore gamers. I think they should campaign more about how nice it would be compared to consoles. I guess it’s a bit early for that though.

    • mukuste says:

      Once I started laptop gaming on the couch with a 360 controller, I found it hard to go back to being hunched over a keyboard at a desk. I now actively prioritize controller support as a desirable feature in new games I buy. The appeal is definitely there, it’s just so much more relaxed.

      • bills6693 says:

        I game on a laptop on the sofa, but not with a controller. I use the laptop’s keyboard, and a mouse that I can just use on the sofa or armrest or something – don’t need a mousepad on a desk to use a mouse, they’re much more versatile in the surfaces you can use it on than people seem to think.

        But also this brings it back to a core argument – if people want to be PC gamers but in the living room… why not just either put your PC or laptop in the living room, or even better, buy a long HDMI cable and run it from your computer in another room to your TV? And there already are controls, you can get a wireless gamepad or KB+M

        • Cantisque says:

          Connecting your gaming PC to your living room TV is not always feasible if your desktop is in another room, especially if it’s neatly cable-tied to your desk.

          In my case, I have a bajillion cables coming out of my extremely heavy desktop. Running an HDMI cable all over the floor is not ideal either. Having a second PC in the living room would be ideal for me, especially if the OS is more optimised for TV displays where you’re sat further away.

          Of course, I would build my own, but that doesn’t mean everyone will. Some people may have space restrictions that only a small pre-built PC can overcome.

    • LionsPhil says:


      We have 65 million users with value in Steam accounts, and they want those games – their libraries – in the living room

      No, some subset of them do. I don’t know what subset that is, but I very much doubt it’s all of us. I don’t, for one. I want my Serious Games somewhere a little quieter.

      And if I’m doing the semi-social being-in-the-same-room-but-not-really-interacting thing, that’s laptop territory, and the native home of easily-interruptable games like FTL and Civ.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        See, I would love to be able to stream Pro Evo 14 to my living room when friends are over, rather than having to dust off my old copy of PES11 for the 360. If i feel like lounging on the couch and playing Arkham City, I would love to be able to easily do that. The ONLY reason I’ve owned a console beyond the PS1-era has been because of friends. Many of my friends don’t have gaming PCs and they’re not really going to get one any time soon, either. If the Steam OS can eventually stream movies and music, too, then it’s even more useful to me.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I strongly disagree with this. I understand for most the desktop is still the way to go, but there are plenty of games i’d rather play on my big screen, on my couch, with my friends or my girlfriend besides me. It’s about the options. Do i want to play wargame on my desktop? Or have some mortal kombat tournament with some beers on my (oh no!) living room? I would love to have the option to do that. Wouldn’t you? It’s not even attempting to replace the desktop, not by a long shot. I don’t understand the defensiveness towards that.

      • Nate says:

        “Or have some mortal kombat tournament with some beers on my (oh no!) living room? I would love to have the option to do that.”

        See, this is why I don’t understand this whole Steam machines thing.

        Because with the Steam machine, you won’t be able to play MK on the living room machine. MK doesn’t run on Linux. You’ll be able to stream it to that machine– one day– but then, why did you spend $500+ when you can buy a ->TV streamer for $50? Why are you running 2*650W power supplies to run one game? Might as well leave the fridge door open as well.

        Especially since you could instead buy a machine that does everything you want from your steam machine, for a couple hundred US dollars. (Yes, you can still buy a last-gen machine, folks.) That’s a lot of games you have to buy twice before the Steam machine starts looking like a good deal.

        And if you do cross that threshold? Why are you running SteamOS on the living room machine? For another hundred, you could pay the windows tax, and then somebody could use the computer in the study at the same time that you played MK in the living room.

        I still don’t understand what Valve is trying to do.

        • Baines says:

          Valve is trying to become Microsoft.

          They’ve got their own DRM-based store. They are going to have their own OS, that will eventually come pre-installed on new machines. They are dabbling in hardware. They want their console to become the one-stop living room box. They are making their own game controller.

    • Pnikosis says:

      It’s because the living room is the room where people live in.

      • Graerth says:

        Funnily enough, most of the people i know actually don’t live in Living Rooms.

        Then again my friends are either nerdy (so bedroom/office living) or rather spend time in kitchen (few like making food, as do i, so one/few cook and others drink and chat nearby) or terrace if weather is fine.

        I mean occasionally yeah, hockey match or movie does make people use time in living room but 2-3 hours pales in comparison to what any of us use at computers daily. If i’m really going all out with friend for cooking i’ll use that 2 hours in kitchen cooking/baking while drinking and chatting with friends.

        I wonder what alternate name i could use of my “living room” to more accurately describe it?

    • The Random One says:

      Tell me about it. I’ve been a console gamer for most of my life, and the living room has never been my gaming place. It’s always been my bedroom. That’s why the Xbox 360 I still have is hooked to the same monitor as my gaming PC.

  4. P.Funk says:

    In some ways I’m heartened by the apparent disjointed vision. It tells me that something good can come from this project that wasn’t pre-approved by some suits.

    Its in many ways rather exciting. An emergent product that is SUPPOSED to involve some kind of interplay between developer and customer. I don’t buy the Valve “we are of the people” line, but, as a marketing plug it tells you the way they view the project: that the participation and enthusiasm of the customer is important, so that means that there is something to look forward to for those of us who like to complain about everything and vainly hope someone is listening.

    Hardware equivalent to a kickstarted game? Could be cool to watch unfold, even if I’m not ever enticed to buy in.

  5. stahlwerk says:

    My prediction: The first shop to build Companion Cube shaped Steam Machines will get all the monies.

  6. rfa says:

    Building my own. Will purchase Steamroller once available.

    Given this is a living room device it needs to do “TV stuff” ie xbmc/htpc – but it doesn’t need a disc drive. (PS3 has one of them)

    Once the CAD files are available will sell 3D printed companion cubes as cases = $$$

  7. Themadcow says:

    Meh, when I first read about Steam machines I was sold on my own imagination of what it would be.

    That imagined machine was a single spec (even if multiple manufacturer) box which would be good enough to run the current gen AAA titles, and universal enough that developers would make sure their games ran smoothly on it, maybe with a standard Steam-box config. It would also give me access to the huge range of indie titles and historic backlog of PC gaming that I already have on Steam AND have the capability to upgrade (every 2 years or so) with new Steam Box standardised hardware without replacing the whole machine…

    Shame that isn’t going to happen, it would have removed any need I had for a console completely.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      That’s pretty much what I was hoping for too. The gaming focused OS and conceptually cool controllers were an added bonus. I’m not really excited by the idea of there being a multitude of custom builds out there. Doesn’t seem to be any real advantage then.

      Always cool to see Valve try something different though. Even if it just means a Steam OS and an iteration on the controller that ends up working. Those crazy bastards will probably just write it off as a learning process even if it isn’t a financial success.

    • XhomeB says:

      Ditto. It’s becoming apparent that’s what pretty much everyone imagined SteamBox to become, but the “always listening to customers” Valve didn’t bother to listen.

    • dorn says:

      Agreed. The console crowd won’t jump on board unless it’s standardized. This is a huge letdown.

    • Graerth says:

      Depending on price, i could see myself changing whole steam machine every 2-3 years.

      My old machine? A 2-3 year old computer than used to run every game at medium, would still be quite better than what my non-gaming brother or father would need. Hell, considering their needs i could just give my old computer always to my bro, and his old computer to my father (before i made new computer last year and gave him my old one, he had about 10 years old computer that took ~10 minutes to open email).

  8. AshRolls says:

    Things that would sell me on SteamOS…

    – Better gaming performance (more FPS!). From what I’ve heard L4D2 performs better on Linux, if Valve can show me that all my games will run faster and will be more stable than on Windows then that will be a major selling point.

    – HTPC functions. If I’m going to hook up my PC / Steambox with SteamOS then I want it to be able to play my movies / music. Also all those nifty streaming services Netflix, spotify, iplayer etc.

    – Controller – Will it actually work, I love the idea of one trackpad, but two?? If it doesn’t I want to be able to use my wireless 360 pad without hitch.

    – OCULUS RIFT / VR – I still don’t know how exactly I envisage using these VR devices, but I think I’d prefer to be on the sofa than infront of my PC desk. Whatever happens with SteamOS it must integrate with the VR headset tightly.

    • HadToLogin says:

      L4D2 works better on Linux, true. After days or even months of optimizing. And end results: DirectX L4D2 with no work done: 270 FPS. Windows OpenGL optimized: 303 FPS. Linux Open GL Optimized: 315.
      Of course, nobody made any more optimizing work on DirectX version. Still, 4% more FPS on Linux than on Windows, not sure if that’s such a breakthrough.
      And remember, that took days to make work. Pretty sure your generic UbiEActivision won’t spend even a day on that.

      • basilisk says:

        Indeed. Considering how little effort goes into Windows ports sometimes, it is exceedingly naïve to think they’ll rush to port it to Linux at all, let alone optimize it.

        And yes, the 270:315 FPS figure always cracks me up. Because yeah, stuff like that really matters.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          And while people are throwing around the L4D optimisations only Eurogamer seems to have looked at Metro:Last Light which crashed on them, was missing effects, looked worse and had over simplified “It goes up to eleven” settings but it went at a comparable FPS to the Windows version.

          This is what people overlook, of course L4D is going to be better on SteamOS, it’s a Valve game so it has to be better on SteamOS. Its the 3rd party games, the ones that don’t have to be better on SteamOS that will give us the true indication of SteamOS’s performance gains over Windows.

          • basilisk says:

            Also, the L4D2 optimization was a proof of concept more than anything else. Taking that and interpreting it as “games run better on Linux!” is quite the extrapolation.

    • Soccermom says:

      With regards to HTPC functions (which is a must for me as well) – I am not even worried.
      I can only imagine that all of the functions you are requesting will be available within days of the official launch (and more) – since the OS is opensource. Maybe I am naive, but I am actually expecting to be dazzled with tv/living room convenient applications, that I didn’t even knew I needed :)

  9. Amatyr says:

    What I want from a Steam Machine is something that is stylish, with a slimline form factor that I could not build myself from off-the-shelf components. Alienware box is the only one that looks to even be close to this right now.
    The streaming from a powerful PC (which I already have) is also very interesting and if it works well removes all problems with games not being ported to SteamOS, or potentially lacking hardware specs in said slimline box.

    It won’t be for playing anything that is still superior with keyboard+mouse, so not for adventure gaming, FPS, Strategy, etc. But for the action games, platformers, etc where I play with an XBox controller on my PC – I’d quite like to be able to play them downstairs on my sofa. And the key thing with the Steam box vs a console is that I own a vast amount of these games already. It’s moving my existing library downstairs, rather than having to buy them again.

    I’ve no interest in the Steam controller though, that looks like it’s trying to solve a problem I won’t be worried about.

  10. Yachmenev says:

    I’m gonna buy one, for three simple reasons:

    *It’s exciting with something new and different. I want to get the feel of a machine specifically tailored for Steam. Sure, I can build one myself, but I don’t think that I would have thought of everything that someone like Alienware might do.
    *The Steam controller is an exciting innovation in control methods. It hardly perfect, but innovation rarely is. I want to see where it’s going, not just where it is right now.
    *I can afford to buy one, just for the sake of it.

  11. iainl says:

    I’ve got a second PC in the living room now. It works rather well, running Windows 8.1 with a wireless 360 pad and a wireless keyboard with trackpad bit built in. As far as I can see, Valve are basically offering me:

    1) A nicer form factor than my mini-tower. Which is nice, but actually I’ve got too many Blu-ray players now to fit another HT-shaped box anyway.
    2) A new pad design. That looks like it may well be excellent, but I certainly hope will work with Windows as well at some point.
    3) The possibility to avoid the £80 Windows charge on a box that doesn’t really need to do anything other than play games. Which would be nice, but I’ve paid now, and this box can also play my Origin/UPlay titles as a result.

    • mukuste says:

      The new controller already works seamlessly with Windows, no reason for worries there.

    • Lemming says:

      Valve are offering an optimal route for people who are the opposite of you though. If you’ve already bought a second PC just for the living room, the Steam Machine itself is a hard sell to you, obviously.

      • iainl says:

        Oh, certainly. It’s just that this is supposedly the why should I buy a Steam Machine article. Why my friends who are angry at how awful the Xbox One is should buy a Steam Machine is a much easier argument…

  12. HadToLogin says:

    About that quote about Half Life: Sony customers are more then happy about PS exclusives being exclusives.

    Console gamers are also more then happy to remind PC gamers they will never play Red Dead Redemption unless they betray “PC Master Race”.

    So, would Half Life being exclusive would make Steam customers happy? I’m pretty sure it would.

    • iainl says:

      It would make existing Steam customers, who haven’t yet installed SteamOS on their box annoyed that they have to do fiddly dual-booting things to get it running. Valve value those people too, not just the currently tiny subset who have dipped their toes in the New Platform water.

      I know several PS4-owning Sony customers who aren’t exactly overjoyed that the the likes of Gran Turismo 6 are still coming out as PS3-exclusives, if you want a useful analogy.

      • HadToLogin says:

        I meant Half Life as Steam exclusive, not SteamOS only, probably should have made it clearer.

        • LionsPhil says:

          The Half-Life series is already Steam-exclusive. Did you forget how Valve forced everyone to start using Steam in the first place, back before it was synonymous with huge sales and community features that mostly work at least some of the time?

          • XhomeB says:

            It’s also on consoles. So no, it’s not a Steam exclusive in the strictest sense.
            HL3 being Steam exclusive (as in PC: Windows/SteamOS/Mac exclusive) would be a SYSTEM SELLER. The aformentioned system being the SteamBox.
            Right now, console gamers have no reason whatsoever to pick up the thing. Why should they, they’ve got PS4 and Xbone which are guaranteed to get plenty of exclusive titles – and games like HL3, because Valve just said so.

    • P.Funk says:

      You mean that exclusives make them feel happy because coercion is the only ploy which they can seem to find for enticing us away from our wonder machines?

      • HadToLogin says:

        Well, it works really, really well, as there are hundreds of PC Gamers that dusted their Xbox 360 (somehow, PS3 doesn’t get that much dust, I wonder if dozens of exclusives are causing that) to play one game in 2013 – GTA 5.

        If it weren’t for me having as much fun using pad as playing volleyball using basket-ball, I would probably go console too – cheaper AAA games (buy at release, sell week later for 95% price) and PS+ (pretty sure it’s enough to be entertained for whole year without buying anything) – and would run PC only for those few old games and those 3 games a year that support mods.
        You hear that Sony/MS? Whoever makes full support of keyboard and mouse has my money.

  13. GROM says:

    wait, so when you release a closed console with outdated hardware, no backwards compatibility, payed online services, 5 crap games at launch, and you try to milk your public for a much cash as possible, you’re doing it right? Why do people expect Valve to release the next console when that is clearly not what they are trying to do. Everyone whines about Apple and their iron grip in their OS and Microsoft trying to follow their lead, yet when someone tries to implement a true open sytem where the consumer actually has choice, everyone whines that they don’t know for who it’s meant. Clearly we just want to be told what to buy and what to enjoy.

    They are not giving you a product that is set in stone for the next odd five to seven years. They are trying to make a moldable living room pc, and yes offcourse they are trying to sell games through it, they are still a company, yet when every game in the future is linux compatible who’s gonna stop anyone from selling these through their own portal? I don’t expect a fullblown OS from the start, they are playing the long game as always, because they understand that a product that evolves will probably be more succesfull in the long run. Just ask Sega and Atari about building consoles that kill or nearly killed your company.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I’d shake your hand. Hear hear!

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Completely agree. This is what ‘buying into the concept’ means: whether you get the full package or just the ‘troller or the OS (I’m just getting the ‘troller probably), you’re buying into the openness of the PC, with which you can do as you please, as against the unifying vision of a Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo-led living room. Why limit yourself to what the Xbone can do? Why stick to Netflix or Apple TV or whatever when you can have everything, and just the way you like it? The fact that they chose Linux as the base of their OS speaks volumes about this: open tech, tech that, however arcane, invites you to experiment with it, can fully compete with the proprietary stuff without falling into the trap of aping its business models.

  14. S Jay says:

    I am not buying it, maybe one day I will make my own rig, but I believe one major (good) side-effect of this is: PC games being made again with local multiplayer with splitscreen.

  15. Yargh says:

    So far, I’m not seeing any compelling reason for me to acquire a Steam Box or install Steam OS on my PC.

    In the long term I may well end up dual-booting the PC to run Windows or Steam-OS if there is a significant performance increase but that’s likely as far as it goes until the age of the personal computing device in a box is done and everything lives in the cloud (not the near future then).

    • Reapy says:

      I don’t know about just a steambox, but having a pc attached to your tv opens a world of options of ‘stuff’ you can do, from personal pvr, xbmc, streaming video, photo viewing, music, emulators, and indie games. Honestly ripping your dvd/bluerays and having everything playable from XBMC is really life changing in terms of how you consume media if you are still invested in the ‘regular’ set ups.

      Having a dedicated machine for this is good if you have a family that is using the TV all the time for media consumption. It doesn’t have to bee that beefy in terms of processing power to do all of these functions, and therefore not cost as much.

      My excitement is really for steamOS making a run at improving all of these features, getting XBMC running on it, having steam manage the game library, hopefully getting some performance boosts, and even encouraging more and more companies to look to linux for their games.

      I already have a PC dedicated to my TV area, but I think more and more people should look at getting one, and the steam boxes will hopefully be a strong entry in the htpc market, expanding it to include gaming. The target for these platforms are people that have a family and multiple rooms I think, TV in one area, PC in an office or separate section. Instead of buying a PVR or roku box or whatever else you end up with a general purpose PC that can do all of these things.

  16. Metalhead9806 says:

    Valve decided to re-focus itself on Multi-player games, Free to play and the Steam client.
    Thats what happened to Half-Life 2: Episode 3 & 4.
    Valve got so big and so successful that they scrapped HL2 because its too risky and they no longer need to release Half-life to prove how awesome they are.

    All a New Half-Life would do is make people say Valve lost a step very similar to how ID Software was tainted by RAGE.

    We mwill never see a new Half-Life, its over.

    As for the topic at hand, Steam Machines are for anyone without a PC wanting to play mouse and keyboard games on a TV and the rest will want the controller situationally when u find your self on your TV trying to play a RTS, FPS, MMO or ARPG.

    • HadToLogin says:

      We will see next Half Life. What else you can use to show-off their next engine than single-player game about mute janitor killing hundreds of enemies? You can’t show-off engine in multiplayer games because people will be busy killing each other.

      Question is, are we going to see next-engine in this decade. I don’t think so. But that’s because I’m not tech savy and I can’t imagine anything technology-wise that would take your breath away, outside of nice graphics (but that’s what everyone show).

      • Baines says:

        Maybe Valve will turn into Nintendo, and require a gimmick for a new game. The gimmick acts as a way to sell the product, and to be a “shiny new thing” that makes up for “This is kind of pants, not the super revelationary experience that I expected” backlash.

        Half Life 3, designed and built with the Steam controller in mind? Probably not enough to sell it as a super event…

        Half Life 3, designed and built for Occulus Rift and/or other VR technology…

  17. Serenegoose says:

    I don’t even have a living room. Not to mention the biggest TV in the house is already my monitor – in addition to being the only monitor in the house. What am I going to do with it, put it on top of my existing desktop?

    • Synesthesia says:

      Then you are not part of the target audience. Don’t feel offended by it!

  18. Seafort says:

    I just don’t see hardcore PC gamers as the target for the Steambox. I thought this was meant to introduce new or potential PC gamers into the fray?
    If I wanted a games box for the living room I’d get a console not a steambox.

    All the different configurations of the steambox from 3rd parties has me overwhelmed and I build my own PCs. There’s just too many companies wanting to get their fingers in the pie that it will ultimately fail especially the price of some of them.
    I thought, like others before me, that this was meant to standardise PC specs not make it a whole lot worse. Valve need to get a handle on the situation or it’s just going to push everyone away even hardcore PC gamers.
    The games audience has moved away from the living room and are now on the move or have a dedicated room for their PC/multimedia box elsewhere.
    Anyway the living room is not what you should be fighting for. The more powerful standardised specs and easy of use is what you should be fighting for.

    • P.Funk says:

      Why do you assume they should be fighting for PC customers? They already own them. Steam is as close to what consoles do as you can get on PC.

      SteamOS is about competing directly with consoles and so their target audience isn’t the guy with a PC who never wants to stand up and leave his bedroom, its about targeting people who are so lazy that they can’t be bothered to get off the couch.

      The living room is the target because thats where the customer they’re targeting spends his gaming time. That it offers the catalog of PC titles via Steam is simply the result of that being their only resource, the same way consoles have their exclusive or purpose designed titles.

      I giggle at how self centred PC gamers seem to be. If its not about YOU it must be a waste of time I guess.

      • Seafort says:

        You did read what I typed, right? I said new or potential PC gamers. As in people who might be on the fence about PC gaming and this might sway them to get into gaming on PC.

        Atm I couldn’t care less about Steambox. Further down the line when they actually realise their vision for SteamOS and Box i might be interested.

        It just seems like Valve developed the SteamOS and then took a step back and let 3rd parties design Steamboxes at a variety of cost to the consumer. Seems like a big clusterfk to me. They’ve just taken any mid/high end PC components, thrown them in a box and called it a steambox then stuck a massive price tag on it.

        That’s not going to do anything for the PC gaming market. It’ll probably have the opposite effect.

        And PC games aren’t self centred. We just don’t see what this has to do with us when we already have a PC or can build a new one ourselves for a fraction of the cost of most of the Steamboxes.

  19. PlaneShift says:

    I do not see any logic behind the Steam Machine. The SteamOS is cool, even if just to popularize Linux for gaming a bit more and breaking what is almost a Microsoft monopoly, competition is going to be good for the industry. But I can install the SteamOS in any machine I please! Why should I even care about Steam Machines?

    Valve should delay the Machines until the get the OS good to go with a decent set of games. Then target the Machines, with closed specs, to the console crowd.

    I am liking the Steam Controller tough. It has a long way to go before it actually gets a good layout but the idea behind it is good.

    • iainl says:

      If you were in the market for a new PC, and the main thing you wanted it for was playing games, then even if you were going to shove Windows on it a box like this might be a better solution for you than either a laptop (if you don’t need portability that much) or a hulking full-size desktop.

      At least two of the Steam Machines we’ve seen unveiled so far are just standard PC components shoved in a standard Fractal Design Node 304 and a little Steam logo applied with a sticker to the top. But they’re pretty reasonably priced and sensibly specced for a pre-built machine aimed at games, and there’s nothing to stop you shoving Windows on them if you’d rather.

      • PlaneShift says:

        Coming to think about it, maybe the branding makes sense. The consumer sees the Steam Machine logo and knows it is a game rig without having to know much about specs.

        Then again, for someone like me that always build custom rigs it means little.

        • Baines says:

          A “Steam Machine” logo doesn’t really mean that a PC is really a game rig, no more than some seller calling it a “Gaming PC” does.

  20. rustybroomhandle says:

    “Gerber admitted that Valve aspects of its upcoming uphill battle will be like pulling teeth, but she thinks it will all pay off in time.”
    I have read and re-read this 15380002 times* and I don’t know what it means. A typo in there somewhere mayhaps?

    * Nathan Grayson-style comically exaggerated numbers, am I doing I right?

    • Geeman says:

      Try it with “expects that” in front of “aspects of…” That’s the nearest I could get, on try #64538.

  21. Volcanu says:

    “We’re looking to bring more content to living rooms,” Gerber explained. “Stuff like music and video content. We’re hoping to do that on Steam Machines. And, I mean, it’s not a super sexy feature, but we’ve added parental controls and family sharing. We look at it as, these are things people expect when they get into the living room, so we want to make sure they’re there.”

    “So those are all reasons someone might decide to go with a Steam Machine over another console.”

    Valve are doing a really poor job of coming up with a compelling reason to get one of these. It just doesnt seem ‘game changing’ in any way. And the above quote is unbelievably weak…are they genuinely trying to suggest that parental controls and music and video content are reasons for getting a steam box over a new console? Both consoles ALREADY offer such content. Not to mention labyrinthine licensing for such content. I cant see Sony Entertainment offering rights to it’s extensive catalogue of music and film to a box with designs on replacing the Playstation.

    • XhomeB says:

      Yep. Valve are trying so hard to justify the existence of SteamBox in its current form (which hardly anyone is interested in, it seems) it’s getting quite funny.

  22. Perkelnik says:

    So the customers “wanted into living room”??? And here I was thinking how people want Half-Life 3. Or Left 4 Dead 3. Or Portal 3. Oh silly me.
    Obviously people want to sit in the living room playing Civilization V. And Alan Wake probably.

  23. Jac says:

    Polygon had a good article on this very topic and basically summed it all up for me: “Right now the best thing you can do with a steam machine is install windows”.

    Other than possibly driving a greater selection of small form pcs I just cannot fathom how this will ever take off.

  24. C0llic says:

    I can see a lot of people picking these up and for many good reasons. Leaving aside the streaming, and access to native linux games on the steam library, this is an unashamed pc in your living room. What does this mean for the enthusiast? It means they’ll be torrenting things from their sofa, or watching netflix, or watching high def video using something like vlc media player (in contrast to using a console for this, that will truly ‘just work’ without worrying about codecs), and even potentially using it for things like a file server or a makeshift tivo box. The steam Os is based on debian, so all of the above things are quite possible, even if they won’t all be stock functionality.

    If you were thinking about playing steam games in your living room you would be crazy not to do the above things, and i think it will be a big draw for early adopters.

    People need to be thinking about these things as a very long term project. They are only going to be owned by the hardcore at first, but its the first baby steps toward making linux a viable ecosystem for gaming. All of this will take years and years, so don’t expect things to change any time soon.

    Oh, and just as an addendum, I do expect most of the people I’m talking above to adapt existing hardware or build their own box. Pushing hardware isn’t Valve’s aim here, which I think has most people confused. It’s pushing steam and more importantly, linux as a gaming platform.

  25. Oozo says:

    Just wondering… am I the only person in the world who does not even consider himself all that ecologically aware, but still gets braincramps at the thought of two rather powerful devices running at the same time, consuming ungodly amounts of electricity, simply because one can not play the games you can easily access on the other one?

    I don’t know. But until SteamOS actually can play Steam games, this whole prospect seems very unattractive to me. (And not only for ecological reasons.)

    • C0llic says:

      I’d think of the streaming as more of a stop gap than anything. The long view or goal will be more native linux games, or streaming from the cloud. I do agree though, I wouldnt be able to justify running two power hungry devices like that.

    • frightlever says:

      SteamOS can play Steam Linux games fine . It streams Windows (or presumably Mac) games. But if you want it as a streamer it doesn’t need to be particularly powerful or power hungry.

  26. Lemming says:

    Am I the only ‘hardcore PC gamer’ looking forward to these then? The streaming alone (if it works well) warrants a £300 Steam Machine, IMO. That’s basically the same as a console but with all my existing games, and better performance and customisation.

    And no, I don’t think it’d be ‘easier’ to move my existing PC into the living room, for the same reason that I wouldn’t build model ships or clean car engines in the living room: It’s a shared space, not my personal hobby room. Something subtle that sits under the TV with the Sky box without me having to maintain separate game libraries is absolutely ideal. If I can get a blu-ray player in it, then the PS3 can go in the bin.

    I can’t be the only one, surely?

    • P.Funk says:

      The only one commenting on RPS maybe.

      I think there is a self centred mindset that is at work with most comments. “I don’t see how it would change my gaming lifestyle, so whats the point?”

      They have no vision, because they don’t need one. SteamOS isn’t really going to change much for the hermit PC gamer. I’ll bet there are a bunch of daddies out there who would love one because then he can enjoy his PC gaming fun and stil get cred for watching the kids, or something.

    • C0llic says:

      No you’re not the only one. People are becoming fixated on the hardware, when the OS is the important thing. Some will buy the neat box, others will make the neat box, but it will lead to plenty of people having one in some shape or form which is the only real aim here.

      As you get older the multimedia stuff becomes more important than the gaming, especially in the living room, and something like a PS4 or xbone can’t compete with the potential an open platform like this will have.

    • GROM says:

      no you’re not the only, although I just build myself a brand new mini atx pc that sits next to my tv for the same purpose as a steam box, I can see the merit in this. People expect it to be an out of the box pc console hybrid while this is not what valve is aiming at. they want alternative OS for gaming browsing and watchies movies, wich let’s be honest, is what most people use their computer for. and they are making it as restriction free as possible

    • DanMan says:

      No, you’re not the only one. I’m just too tired of explaining myself over and over again, so the complainers appear in higher density. Most of them just keep telling you why “they” don’t need one, not giving a shit about why anyone might want to have one. Like I said, I’m not as enthusiastic about arguing over the same thing over and over again as they are about bringing it up over and over again.

      I mean, one guy further up even said he doesn’t have a TV… Well, no shit Sherlock – then this isn’t for you obviously. But thanks for sharing this with the world…. -.-

    • Wedge says:

      I’m excited about the OS for the streaming, and very excited about the controller for offering me full control of a media/game center that isn’t one of the awful consoles. I have a hacked together solution right now, but it’s not really optimal.

      The systems themselves don’t really matter to me, as I already built one for my living room.

    • Jenks says:

      You’re not the only one. I’m planning on building my own, in the cheapest and smallest configuration possible that supports streaming.

  27. Shadrach says:

    I fail to work up much enthusiasm for the Steambox – I can already play Steamgames on the TV, and certainly don’t want to pay these amountsjust to get a dedicated box.
    – Gaming PC in next room (so no noise), connected to Stereo+TV through long (5m) HDMI.
    – Wireless XBox controller along with keyboard and mouse in living room

    The Steam controller might be interesting though, if it better able to play mouse-based games with than a regular controller.

  28. frightlever says:

    How come SteamOS doesn’t incorporate WINE?

    • C0llic says:

      WINE is far too hit and miss to market to people who just want to sit down and play their games without fiddling. Even the numerous third party paid derivatives are less than reliable. Other than playing native games, streaming is the only reliable option for windows only titles. Valve can integrate that into the Steam client and ensure it works and is properly supported.

      If they chose to rely on an open sourced solution outside of their complete control it would be recipe for disaster.

    • stahlwerk says:

      It’s just a trip to the debian package manager away. Official curation or support would be hell for Valve, especially since that’s kind of what code weavers is doing with CrossOver.

  29. Hogni Gylfason says:

    Windows works for me; I don’t care about SteamOS.

    I have a perfectly functioning gaming rig as my media center box; I don’t care about Steam Machine.

    I like playing games in cushionary recline. I love grand strategy games. I hate square peg strats like XCOM being shoehorned into the round hole of the twin stick controller; reducing them to insipid and faded ghost images of their potential. I’m tired of indie side-scrolling drivel. I want to play must-have-mouse games on my TV; without the mouse.

    What’s the story on the controller? Has anyone tested it? Has anyone attempted to play traditionally mouse-required-no-question titles such as Wargame, Civ5, FTL, BF4? For that matter, has anyone used it to play controller-enabled games, Darksiders, Amalur? For extended periods of time, not 5 minutes at CES. I see Civ5 mentioned by ms. Gerber, but she has marketing obligations to Valve as their employee. I lost my trust in marketing on turning seven (Sweden really wasn’t what my parents told me).

    Please RPS, this is the other primary variable of the Steam Machine equation, and in my opinion the far more salient one. Many of us, if not most, can build our own boxes and insert CDs to install SteamOS if we’re so inclined. But the key to sitting in the living room is a handy (hah!) way to input commands to PC games displayed on the big screen from positions of pillowed bliss.

  30. DThor says:

    The last thing I would consider doing is adding another computer to the household that requires yet another computer to be running (one media server is good, thanks), doesn’t yet offer any media consumption options apart from a subset of games I already own, and…that’s it? It’s mentioned earlier about the Living room obsession – it’s become a “thing”. I don’t really understand it either, I’ve already got a PS3 and WDTV sitting there and this neither replaces nor augments them. When I first heard about this project I went all gooey imagining my entire steam library along with media consumption options from open source plug-ins to Netflix….and *deflate*.

    • C0llic says:

      The chances are good it will be that solution given time. People are going to mod the Steam OS, and I don’t see why something like a bluray player for example couldn’t be part of a box at some point in the future.

      What we have now is a standardised box for pc games (the hardware isn’t stadnrad, but the OS is), how long do you think it’s really going to be before people add in all the functionality you’re talking about. It’s almost certain to happen.

  31. RPSRSVP says:

    Why should you buy a Steam machine? You shouldn’t. What you should do is install it’s OS on a computer you put together yourself.

  32. Alecthar says:

    I see a lot here about people not getting the appeal of SteamOS when compared with existing OS options, and I certainly see that as a valid criticism. There’s a chicken/egg issue with gaming on Linux, though, so I think it’s really more important for Valve to have it out and get people onboard than it is for the OS to have most of Steam’s Windows library available on Linux. I wouldn’t say it’s a reason to jump onboard now, but I think it’s certainly an understandable move on Valve’s part.

    Where I think they’re *really* putting the cart ahead of the horse on this is with media playback. Steam needs to have Steam Store versions of Plex and XBMC, along with fully functioning streaming plugins for Netflix and Hulu to really match up against a modern console, or a Windows HTPC. If I’m paying $500 or more to buy or build a Steam Machine, it absolutely must provide those capabilities as a baseline, I shouldn’t have to buy an Apple TV or Roku to provide that feature-set. Further advancement from that baseline is necessary, but that’s where they should be starting. I’m really worried about all this vague reference to further media features. Those need to be in by release, not in on Valve-time.

  33. XhomeB says:

    I’ve got to admit Valve’s PR is admirable.
    It’s in THEIR OWN best interest to bring Steam to the living room, but they’re quick to point they’re merely “doing everyone a favour, because everyone has been asking them to do this and being the cutomer-loving creatures that they are, they simply couldn’t refuse”.

    Don’t we all love to listen to such bulls**t.

    • C0llic says:

      So? It’s in all of our interest if PC gaming isn’t solely controlled by Microsoft.

      • XhomeB says:

        I’m not blaming them mind you, I just can’t help but crack a smirk whenever I hear such corporate talk. They’re all so altruistic.
        MS have proven they aren’t interested in PCgaming, that much is true, but I’m not sure I’d trust Valve, either. Judging from this SteamBox fiasco, they’re currently a bit clueless about what they really want to do – I can’t shake the feeling they’ve sabotaged their own idea.

        • C0llic says:

          They just want to push linux as a platform. That’s all this is. I think it’s truly a case of wait and see what’s happened in 2 to 5 years time.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            No, all this is about far more than wanting to push Linux to the forefront of gaming. Valve want a piece of the console market. They also want to stick it to Microsoft. And finally, but most importantly, they want an even bigger presence in the gaming world.

            Valve aren’t doing any of this out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s all about market penetration and increased profits.

  34. jealouspirate says:

    My living room is literally blank white walls, a futon with empty cardboard boxes on it, and a gigantic ancient CRT TV that is sitting on the floor. Unplugged.

    I don’t think I’m the target market for this.

  35. HadToLogin says:

    Well, it works, seeing how people around RPS were more then happy to write “bought GTA 5 on console, can’t wait to throw even more money if there’s going to be inferior PC version with 0 optimization”.

  36. DasBlob says:

    Since I have a PC already, I can already play all games that Steam offers. If I was going to spend extra money on a console experience in the living room, I would honestly rather diversify and buy an actual, already existing console, like a PS. That way, I would gain the option to play their exclusives, too. Even the option to buy some games half a year earlier than for PC. And movie streaming etc. is already well established on that platform.

  37. araczynski says:

    what the hell is this ‘living room experience’ they keep talking about? i’ve always equated that with tv’s and their dumb lineups/commercials.

    i keep my 6 consoles in the gaming area of the basement, and my gaming pc in my man cave. i most definitely have no interest in this dumbed/locked down gaming pc/oOS.

  38. kud13 says:

    I am a PC gamer. I own no consoles. Controller frustrates me. I watch TV maybe several times a month. Since I’ve finished school, I don’t game that much, either.

    I really see nothing enticing in this whole thing. At all.

    • Soccermom says:

      Well, to be fair, it doesn’t sound like anything gaming-related would excite you.
      By your own admission:
      1) You rarely play games.
      2) You rarely watch television.
      3) You don’t like consoles.
      I think, it would be easier for me to sell a Ferrari to my Mom than selling a steam machine to you (my mom doesn’t have a drivers license and hates cars in general :)).

  39. FreshwaterAU says:

    To me, this almost seems like Mcdonalds and their coffee push, sure gourmet coffee is sort of in their field but investors are starting to notice its cutting into the core business and is not as profitable. Seems like steams big living room push might be too much of a deviation from the core PC crowd. I generally dont want to play PC games in my living room, but if I do I can run a cord and use big picture. I’m just not getting it unless its a complete attempt to bring in new blood.

    guess we will see.

  40. hungrycookpot says:

    This idea just sounds more ridiculous the more I hear about it. Why wouldn’t I just use an HDMI cable, which I already own, hook it to my PC, which I already own, and can already play more Steam games than a Steam Machine will ever be able to, and can already stream music and video to my TV, and my usb controller, which I also already own, to play games on my TV?

    In practice, I don’t because I don’t care to. I have a dual monitor setup on my PC, so I leave the TV to people who want to watch TV or play on the console. In theory, there’s no way you’d sucker me into paying ~$1000 for a box that can do some of what the PC I already paid for can do…

    It also brings back a feeling of distaste for GabeN and many of the things he says and does. His motivations for pumping Linux so hard the last couple years become transparent, and it’s clear that he was not saying those things to the benefit of the gaming industry, but because he had another silly idea about what gamers would buy from him, and he was just laying the groundwork of bullshit.

  41. Laurentius says:

    In my opinion it is right now targeted at people/gamers who have got that kind of money laying around to spend on electronics. If like me you don’t have that kind of moneys to spend, then you are not target demographics.

  42. Nafjan says:

    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.

    That is so weird: my first name is Yousef, and my last name is not that far from Johnson.

    Nathan, you’ve managed to creep me out today.

  43. wererogue says:

    Steam Machines are “for” me. Almost.

    Buying a cheap (sub-$500) PC and streaming my games from my PC to my living room, where I can sit with my wife on the couch and play with my partner playing or knitting beside me? Yes. Very yes. Not having *any* reason to buy the next generation of consolebox? Extra-yes.

    The *only* reason I’m not budgeting for a Steam Machine right now is that I *already* have a linux machine sitting in my living room – our HTPC. And it runs Steam, in Big Picture mode, from the login screen, as well as XBMC. I’m *itching* for streaming to come out, and I’m *very* interested in the Steam controller. If the media features are nice, we might even ditch XBMC, and at that point it’d be very tempting to switch to SteamOS.

  44. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I don’t care much for Steam machines – I can’t see any advantage that justifies the cost. I’m cautiously optimistic about their controller, I might get one.
    But what really interests me is their talk about other media. I live in Germany, where Netflix doesn’t exist and other services are all far from perfect in either pricing, selection of films/series or other points (especially price – paying 5-6 Euros just to RENT a digital HD movie is ridiculous, and for a permanent download you often pay even more than for a physical blu ray – it’s nuts!). I have in fact just yesterday googled the terms “steam equivalent for movies”, and sadly came up empty. Watchever, while no Steam equivalent, is a nice enough service, but you have to be lucky enough that what you want to watch is actually available in their selection, which often isn’t true especially for newer films that other services are already offering.
    Music is not quite as problematic, but I’m still too cheap to pay a Euro or more for an MP3, and streaming services like Spotify are nice right up until the point where I’d like to burn the music onto a CD to listen to it in my car.
    If Steam in the future also has films and music in addition to games (and includes them in their sales) and DRM policies are reasonable (preferably none, especially for music), then the point is reached where I can just let my employer send my whole paycheck directly to Valve.

  45. DanMan says:

    To put in my 0.02$….

    I’m in it for the controller. Everything else is already in place (HDMI cable between TV and PC).

  46. tims says:

    Steam machines are for people who gave up their desktops and started using macs after they were given one as a company laptop. They still like PC games but have been making do with the few cross platform games and integrated graphics.

  47. imhotep says:

    I definitely have my eyes on it. It seems small, the price seems fair (and not as in a “see what you get!!” fair, but just normal)… I especially want smaller, more handy PCs, which are still full, compatible PCs. Even if the case just influences standard cases, that would be ok with me.

  48. waltC says:

    “Would making HL3 a Steam OS exclusive make Valve happy?”

    Absolutely not.


    Because then Valve would sell next-to-no copies of HL3, and Valve has no intention of limiting the sales of HL3 in such a ridiculous manner.

    “How could Valve transform from a 3rd-world economic power (as Gabe is fond of intoning) into a bankrupt shell?”

    By dropping all of its Windows-game support and supporting Macs and Steam OS exclusively. In just 3-6 months the company would burn through its cash and assets and join the ranks of the unwashed bankrupt in the Sea of Forgotten Souls.

    SteamOS/SteamMachines are publicity stunts designed to elevate Valve’s public profile. If I wanted my gaming box in my living room it would already be there; it’s not, because I use my living room for far different functions/festivities.

    “Will talking up the Steam Machine detract attention from the lack of HL3?”

    Depends upon who you ask. I, for one, want to hear nothing out Gabe except HL3. I mean, he started this whole HL thing–’bout time to finish it, I’d say.

  49. Stardog says:

    When you turn your TV off, there’s very little reason to turn it on again if you own a proper PC. I have no interest in TV’s. There’s barely 2 shows that I even watch.

    I’d rather watch some Youtube channels on my monitor to waste an hour here and there. Then I’ll catch up with some shows on demand using iPlayer/4od/ITV Player.

    And you can actually do interesting creative work in all the gaps, because you have a keyboard/mouse.

    I’m a PC gamer through and through, yet Steam Machines don’t interest me in the slightest. It seems like they’ll have to capture console gamers to be successful.

  50. ResonanceCascade says:

    Nathan, what was your lead-in question that made Gerber say:

    “We still want you to play Half-Life 3 or whatever game we bring to our customers.”


    I only ask because, uh, Valve employees saying “Half-Life 3” tends to make me kind of antsy.