Posts Tagged ‘SteamOS’

Science Victory: Civilization 5 Now On SteamOS And Linux

This man represents open source supporters.

Is… Is this E3 news? On day three, I can’t tell anymore. Did Sid Meier swing on a trapeze across the E3 concourse to announce that Civilization 5 was now available on SteamOS and Linux? Did Aspyr gather the world’s press in an art deco theatre to reveal that this was their first Linux port, after years of porting popular games to Mac? Or is it the case that there was a simple post on Civ V’s Steam forum to declare that users of Ubuntu could now begin conquering 4X strategy worlds?

Probably that last one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alienware: Steam Machine Will Be Our ‘Least Profitable’ Ever

I find it interesting how Valve both is and isn’t investing a lot of time and precious, precious GabeNcoins into its Steam Machine initiative. On one hand, this is the PC juggernaut’s plan to bull-rush through the living room’s console-lined walls and play jump rope with the entrails of enemies within, but on the other Valve is hedging its bets as cautiously as possible. It’s letting countless hardware manufacturers take the risk on building and distributing these things, and it’s hoping audiences will give them some clue as to what they should do after that. It’s not a terrible strategy by any means. It’s just a very Valve-centric one. Hardware manufacturers like Alienware, then, are worried, even as they place utmost faith in Valve’s time-proven ability to prime penniless pumps until money cascades out like a Biblical flood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Early Steam Machines Need To Be Upgradable

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Valve Talks SteamOS And Diretide, Defends Communication

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Us Critique Valve’s Steam Controller

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. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Valve Announce Steam Machines With Specs And Prices

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

SteamOS Is Out! Don’t Download It Yet

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Ships Ahoy: Beta Steam Machines, SteamOS Out Friday

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Steam Clears From iBuyPower’s SteamOS Machine

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Valve Shows Off Steam Hardware, Promises No Exclusives

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Prototype SteamBox Specs Revealed!


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.)”

Read the rest of this entry »

Indies On SteamOS, Pt 2: Linux, The Controller

Valve? Making its own OS for living rooms? Madness. Pure, coldly calculated and entirely premeditated madness. But SteamOS’ success is far from guaranteed, and it’s got some serious hurdles to overcome before it can establish a New World Order. Last time around, I gathered developers of games like Project Eternity, Gone Home, Mark of the Ninja, The Banner Saga, and Race The Sun to discuss who SteamOS/Steam Boxes are even for and the relative “openness” of Valve’s platform in light of, er, Greenlight. Today, we dig even deeper, into the strange, nebulous guts of Linux and what sorts of challenges and opportunities Valve’s crazy, newfangled controller presents. There are even some hands-on impressions from Dejobaan and Paradox. Read on for THE FUTURE.

Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: Ultra-SFF Gaming FTW?


Could it be true? That here in my mortal hand I do hold a nugget of purest gaming? Not exactly. It’s the latest and tiniest NUC, Intel’s so-called ‘Next Unit of Computing’. It’s a full-function PC with Intel’s best graphics ever. And it’s claimed to sport pukka gaming chops. Meanwhile, Valve has been punting SteamOS, the whole Steam Box thang is still on – as far as I know – and Xi3’s Piston has been priced up at a preposterous $1,000. Chuck all that into the mix and you might wonder whether the NUC looks a lot like a entry-level Steam Box, on the hardware side at least. And if so, does the small-form-factor gaming thing add up? Read the rest of this entry »

Indies On SteamOS, Pt 1: ‘Openness,’ Potential Pitfalls

You probably haven’t heard, but Valve’s officially going forward with its plan to launch its own Steam-centric OS, living room hardware, and a crazy, touch-pad-based controller to back it all up. I know, right? It’s weird that no one has been talking about it incessantly. But while Valve preaches openness and hackability, it’s downplayed an ugly reality of the situation: smaller developers still face a multitude of struggles in the treacherous green jungles of its ecosystem. SteamOS and various Steam Boxes, however, stand to bring brilliantly inventive indie games to an audience that doesn’t even have a clue that they exist, so I got in touch with developers behind Gone Home, Race The Sun, Eldritch, Mark of the Ninja, Incredipede, Project Eternity, and more for their thoughts on SteamOS, who it’s even for, Valve’s rocky relationship with indies, and what it’ll take for Steam to actually be an “open” platform.

Read the rest of this entry »

Valve’s Final Announcement: The Steam Controller

And so the announcements are complete. And with no last-minute surprises, Valve have announced their peripheral for the Steam Machine that will carry SteamOS, in an attempt to bring PC gaming into the living room. It is, they say, a new kind of controller, one designed to be able to trick older games into thinking they’re being played with a keyboard and mouse. It looks pretty damned smart, at first glance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia Working With Valve, Linux Community For SteamOS

Nvidia‘s history of Linux support has been – to put it very, very lightly – rocky at best, but apparently that’s all about to change. The hardware manufacturer is now throwing its considerable weight behind both SteamOS and Linux as a whole, even going so far as to promise it’ll release documentation on its GPUs to the Linux community so as to help ease compatibility issues. Meanwhile, the meaner, greener side of the graphicsability wars boasts of engineers “embedded at Valve” to hammer SteamOS into rip-roaring, console-busting shape. Which, I suppose, makes sense, given that AMD is supplying innards for both Microsoft and Sony.

Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Machines: Valve Announce Hardware

Following the SteamOS announcement on Monday, time has been ticking away, as it has a tendency to do, and we now find ourselves on the farside of Valve’s second announcement. It’s a Steam-powered Box! A group of them, to be more precise. And, boy, am I glad it is, because I wrote this pre-jump section of the post an hour ago, having spent the day polishing my crystal ball. If, like Brad Pitt, you want to know what’s in the frickin’ box, join me below for a brief tour.

Read the rest of this entry »

After GLaDOS: Valve Releasing SteamOS

As the internet held its breath and the countdown reached zero, speculation in the RPS chatroom reached fever pitch. And after the announcement was made, John bellowed, “I PREDICTED THAT!”. He did, you know. Valve are releasing an operating system, SteamOS and this is what we know.

As we’ve been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.

More below.

Read the rest of this entry »