With Valve’s Steam Machines set to start rolling out throughout this month, some as soon as tomorrow, Valve head Gabe Newell is quick to point out the power and promise of the new hardware. Speaking with Develop, Newell stated, “At console price points, we’re going to have machines like Alienware’s, which are faster than today’s consoles… So the same price point as today, except you get better performance and you’re connected to everything you like about the PC and the internet.”
Speaking to the fact Valve is currently set to offer thirteen separate Steam Machines, ranging from $449.99 to $4,999.99, he continued, “Our perception is that customers are always going to make the best choices for what they want. We can knock down the barriers that keep PC gaming out of the living room, and then customers can decide what they want. So the way we organised it, in our thinking, is a sort of ‘good, better and best’ kind of thing.”
Newell sees the Steam Machines as the keys to finally putting PC’s in the living room. Everything from the interface’s Big Picture Mode to the Steam Controller is meant to bridge that gap.
“[T]here were a lot of people who said: ‘nobody wants a PC in their living room’. And we’re like ‘okay, we need to break that down into tractable problems’. One is the user interface problem. How do you take something originally designed for keyboard and mouse and make it easy for both the interface and content developers to work in both spaces, to get the best out of both? That leads you to the Steam Big Picture mode.
“Then you say ‘okay, now we need to have couch-friendly input devices and integrate touch’. So the gamepad is a controller, as well as a set of technologies that can then be integrated.
“You can actually sort of logically deconstruct that and take pieces out. If you like the touchpads, you as the keyboard manufacturer can now put them on your keyboard and people will just know how they work, and games will know how they work.”
Gamespresso’s review of the Steam Controller noted that, while it did take time to get used to, the controller overall was a decent choice, praising the confortable grips and the innovative touch pads.
For those not interested in throwing in the hundreds of dollars to pick up a Steam Machine in order to put a PC in their living room however, Valve has another option. The Steam Link, simply mirroring the PC you already have to your television, is a good choice for those who already have a powerful PC. Our review called it nearly perfect, praising everything from the lack of latency while steaming to the small, minimalist design.
Will you be picking up a Steam Machine? Let us know in the comments.