It's been a long, long time coming, but Valve says its Steam Machine vision is finally approaching reality. At this week's Game Developers Conference, the company said the living room PC platform will officially launch this November, while also providing details about a couple of hardware products of its own.
Valve rolled out the Steam Machine concept -- PCs that connect to HDTVs and use the SteamOS for gaming -- about 18 months ago, but after several companies announced their Steam Machines at CES 2014, the platform ran into snags. Valve needed more time to perfect the OS and its Steam Controller, leaving companies like Alienware and CyberPower PC's Syber affiliate to ship their systems as Windows-based living room PCs.
Any sense that the Steam Machines platform would wind up being vaporware should be dispelled -- at least temporarily -- by Valve's announcement. Even better, it unveiled a new piece of hardware in the $50 Steam Link that will join the growing number of cheap devices that let you game on your TV set by streaming from your main PC. It promises game streams at 1080p HD resolutions and 60 frames per second. The company will also offer the $50 Steam Controller to pair with the Link or any other Steam Machine.
Speaking of which, there are still partners that are throwing their support behind the Steam Machine concept, including the previously burned Alienware and Syber. Gaming PC stalwart Falcon Northwest is another name Valve is bandying about, and Maingear is readying the Drift system (pictured above) for Steam gaming.
While Valve is targeting budget buyers with the Steam Link, the Drift is a high-performance system (complete with liquid cooling) that's more traditionally seen as a gaming PC. Likewise, Falcon Northwest's Tiki is designed to provide more power in a diminutive form factor. Syber is covering the whole spectrum, with a half-dozen computers that will range in price from under $500 to over $1,000.
Despite the promising news, November is still many months away, so there's plenty of time for Valve to delay the official Steam Machine launch as it did last year. Are you still intrigued by the Steam Machine concept as an alternative to gaming consoles? Do you think it will ever come to fruition? Let us know in the Talkback section below.