Valve Steam Machines delayed until 2015

Valve Steam Machines delayed until 2015

Summary: Much to the frustration of gamers, Valve's SteamOS Linux-based Steam Machines will be delayed until 2015.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Linux
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Steam-Controller
Valve's having trouble perfecting its Linux SteamOS gaming controller.

Well, that's annoying.

Valve product designer Eric Hope, posting under his screen name Axiom, has announced that Valve's own SteamOS Linux-based Steam Machine will be delayed. "

Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014," Hope said.

The problem isn't with the Steam Machine itself. There are more than a dozen Steam Machines besides Valve's own that are already in pre-production. As technology teardown firm iFixit found when they ripped apart the first beta Valve Steam Machine, the game console itself is quite straightforward.

No, the problem is with Valve's wireless controller.

Hope explained: "We’re now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers." He added: It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements."

"Obviously," he continued, "We're just as eager as you are to get a Steam Machine in your hands. But our number one priority is making sure that when you do, you'll be getting the best gaming experience possible. We hope you'll be patient with us while we get there. Until then, we’ll continue to post updates as we have more stories to share. "

There is, of course, no reason other companies that have committed to making Steam Machines can't release their systems. Gaming PC heavyweights Origin PC and Alienware, for example, are still committed to this Linux-based gaming platform.

SteamOS, the operating system based on a Debian-based Linux distribution, is continuing to mature rapidly. While it's designed to first and foremost to run Valve's Steam and Steam games, it also supports the GNOME desktop, so you can also it as a regular Linux desktop.

On top of Debian 7, SteamOS features various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack, a newer Linux kernel, and a custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between the Steam games and the SteamOS system overlay. The Steam client and some of the drivers are proprietary.

Of course, you don't have to buy a Steam Machine at all to run SteamOS and play Steam games. You can install SteamOS and start playing games today on any PC with an Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor; 4GBs or more of RAM; a 500GB or larger hard drive; and a NVIDIA graphics card. AMD also states that it now support SteamOS with its ATI graphics with its Catalyst driver as well. Support for Intel graphics is on its way.

In addition to gaming, Valve is also adding music and video streaming functionality to SteamOS. Music streaming will come first, followed by video.

In the end analysis what all this means is that while Valve itself may not be shipping a Steam Machine by the 2014 holiday buying season, I see no reason to think that other companies won't be selling them by the fourth quarter of 2014. I see this more as a hiccup than a real delay in SteamOS gaming's rollout to the mass market.

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Topics: Hardware, Linux

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39 comments
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  • Gamers

    Actually, Steven, I don't think Gamers are really at all upset about this. Valve has yet to actually show anybody why they would want to buy a Steambox (Aside from the streaming feature, which still requires a good gaming PC to stream from and thus is useless for most people). This is jus ta windows PC minus the license cost that is not capable of performing the tiniest fraction of the tasks that its Windows and Mac counterparts can. Oh and there are very few games currently supported. That sounds fantastic!

    I reckon the percentage of gamers who are looking forward to this is similar to the percentage of PC users who prefer to use a Linux variant for their day to day tasks :)
    SovereignTechnology
    • the games!

      Not to mention that most gamers on steam have a huge back catalog of yet-to-be played games that are most likely not supported by steamOS. This is just another reason most people wouldn't adopt it.
      Mister Indie
    • Not very knowledgable about Linux, are you?

      "not capable of performing the tiniest fraction of the tasks that its Windows and Mac counterparts can."

      You mean like capturing 1080p mp4 video from my HD cable boxes via firewire? Oh yeah, you can't do that with Windows.
      Maybe like having more than 1 user logged in, and working, on one system at the same time? Oh yeah, you can't do that with Windows.
      Maybe like cloning my system to completely different hardware with zero re-config? Oh yeah, you can't do that with Windows.
      Maybe you mean having a 2 disk RAID1 array using motherboard SATA ports that can be moved to any other motherboard with zero issues or reformatting? Oh yeah, you can't do that with Windows.
      Maybe you mean installing an OS and having all devices fully functional with zero searching for drivers? Oh yeah, you can't do that with Windows, either.

      I could go on, and on, but I wouldn't want your head to explode.
      anothercanuck
      • My mom was just asking how to get 2 disk raid1 arrays on her Windows box

        without reconfiguration.
        Emacho
        • really

          your mom asked you how to get 2 disk raid1 arrays on her windows box. You sure she didn't ask for 2 disc shaped daisy arrangements in her window box?
          CriticalSection
      • These are things hardly anyone cares about

        Things people do care about are, say, being able to put the OS on a modern notebook PC and have it take advantage of all the hardware. Linux is fine on old-fashioned desktop PCs or very old notebooks, but it usually doesn't work on recent notebooks. The last few times I tried to install Linux on a notebook PC with the latest hardware, it either didn't work at all or lacked so many drivers that it was essentially useless. That's one of the reasons I no longer use it at all (I used to use only Linux, then used both, now use only Windows).

        If I dig up some obsolete notebook with the right hardware components, Linux will probably run fine on it, but would it be useful? Not for me. With the increasing use of touch screens and digitisers, things will probably only get worse for (desktop) Linux. Even Windows 8 wasn't enough to push any significant fraction of Windows users to (desktop) Linux. If they move away from Windows, they go to Mac.
        WilErz
        • Another less than Linux knowledgeable person.

          Please tell us the names of those recent notbooks, and the distro/version you used.

          I haven't found a PC, laptop, or netbook in years now that won't work with Linux, and I have put Linux on a lot of systems, new, old, and everything in between.
          anothercanuck
        • True, But

          While I agree that the above comments are not a concern for the average user, I have to disagree completely with the touchscreen comment, only because I happen to be using one as I type this. In fact, I have yet to find a "Windows 8" ready touchscreen that isn't natively supported by Ubuntu. Not to mention the fact that, in my experience, setup of said touchscreens in multiple configurations, has been far easier than Windows 8. And to top it off, I didn't need to install a single driver to get 3 different models working together harmoniously, where as Windows required I remove any other driver before it would let me use another brand of screen. The 3-at-once feet may not matter to the average user, but for an interactive display, this was a absolute requirement. The fact that "Windows 8" branded touchscreens worked better on Linux for both normal use, and extremes, shows just how much ground it has covered. This of-course doesn't even touch on the other driver issues I've seen.

          As for game support, at the moment I agree that the Steam catalog has a distinct lack of native Linux games (and thus SteamOS games,) but Valve has been making a big push to developers to start porting to Linux. Only time will tell if that has any true effect.
          mrmakeit
        • Linux runs on almost anything nowadays

          Your claim that Linux only runs on obsolete old Notebooks doesn't fit my experience with it and is roghly a decade out of date.

          On the contrary you can expect it to run on almost anything with only a few exceptions (or so I assume - never actually saw an excpetion).
          I have been using it on several Dell Laptops and a couple of Asus Laptops during the last 7-8 years. Always current Laptops at the time.
          I'm writing this on an 11" Asus F201E. My main machine atm is an Asus G75 (17"). Neither has any problems with Linux.

          I certainly had more problems with the Vista and W7 machines I use at work.
          I doubt that the use of digitizers is increasing (outside the circle of graphic artists who always used that).

          Also if you dig up an obsolete notebook it's not going to have a touchscreen.
          And if you look at recent Ubuntu versions you might notice that it has a lot of changes excplicitly for use on touchscreens.

          And why would things get worse for Linux? It has more software available, more hardware support, more companies using and supporting it than ever before.
          Take any Laptop, put Ubuntu 14.04 (or another modern distro of your liking) on it and use it for a few days. You might be surprised.

          Both Vista and W8 pushed/push Users away from Windows. Most of them move to Mac, some move to Linux.

          For non-technical users the problem is not Linux itself (surfing, EMail, Videos, Music - you can do all that on any OS without problems) - it's just that machines rarely come pre-installed with Linux and most users don't install any OS themselves.

          If Valve is successful in convincing major game studios to publish new games on steamos (and thereby also Steam for Linux) we'll see an increase in Windows gaming users migrating away from Windows. Meanwhile they already increased games for Linux from a couple dozen 1.5 years ago to several hundred (ca 15% of all Steam games now).

          Anybody who looks at the current situation and thinks it cannot change drastically should remember that a few years ago IE had > 96% market share.
          mail@...
      • You clearly don't know Windows

        Everything you say can be done in Windows - even since Vista, sorry to say.
        Joe_Raby
        • Nice try, but not.

          Name the Windows software that allows video capture from a HD cable box.
          Tell me which version of Windows allows multiple users to type AT THE SAME TIME. Windows Terminal server only, with expensive CALS, but you're not playing games on that.
          Tell me how you move a Windows install from a SATA drive to HW RAID controller with zero reconfig.
          Tell me how you move from ASUS motherboard RAID to an Intel motherboard RAID with reformatting.
          Tell me a how a Windows insrtall from a retail DVD can find all hardware with downloading drivers.

          Ya, nobody cares about this stuff, unless they use computers.
          anothercanuck
          • Clarification

            As a avid Linux user, I like to ensure the facts are straight.

            To clarify, while I have yet to see a software that allows capture from any HD box, I've had one offered to me for my Cox DVR box. It was limited and hard to use, but did capture in HD. I'll agree that the Linux versions are superior, but the Windows options aren't non-existant, just few and far between.

            For the second comment, I completely agree. As far as my Windows knowlage goes (I've set up a few classroom environments), this is far from posible on a standard Windows desktop.

            As for RAID, I suppose it depends on if you're dealing with hardware RAID or software RAID. RAID 0 or RAID 1. Generally speaking, hardware RAID is non-transferable on any OS, as the hardware cards tend to do thing their own individual way. Software RAID is different, as most (but not all) RAID drivers in Windows are brand specific. But beyond RAID, Linux offers may other RAID-like options, most of which have specific use-cases, but are much better. You can, of course, just clone the drives to the new RAID, which is possible in both Linux and Windows, but you'd be hard pressed to get both RAID drivers working at the same time in Windows.

            And the last comment. Again, I can't recall a time when Windows didn't have to setup every single device. Most PCI cards are searched and installed at boot, which makes their setup invisible, but having used Linux on all my personal computers for several years now, I still can't stand when Windows says it has to find a driver for my flash drive. This boils down to the fact that Windows doesn't respect USB enumeration flags, and instead entirely relies on Device and Vendor ID's. This is fall-over from when PCI didn't have good enumeration (and explains why a few years ago, Linux did have difficulty on newer systems), but there is really no excuse for it now.

            Ultimately, only 2 of these really affect the average user more than once (drivers and cable box capture), but this is due more to the fact that users have been "trained" not to care. Need more than one user? Get 2 computers. Want to use RAID, make sure you pick a good one the first time, and never go back. These aren't the best options, but most people don't care enough. Not a great stance to take on it, but that's just how it is.

            (Also, should anyone have *linkable* evidence to solidly disprove any of this; Please, send it to me. I realize I don't know everything, and am more than happy to see where I am wrong.)
            mrmakeit
    • I agree

      Other than Linux geeks, I doubt many people even give a toss that it's delayed. With PlayStations, Xboxes and PCs, who needs it?
      WilErz
    • yep

      Between the 70+ million xbox players and the millions (I think its 40+ million) of playstation network users and the millions of Nintendo wii users - I think there's almost no one waiting with baited breath for this console.

      Trying to tie it into the existing steam network won't help much either because most peoples libraries will be for Windows so won't work anyway. And for those who it would matter are probably only hardcore pc gamers which means keyboard and mouse - so the controller is pointless. This thing will be lucky to get the 1-3% market share of Linux on desktops...
      aesonaus
      • A bit off...

        Other way around. 40 Xbox users and 80+ PSN users. But yeah. Steam machines are going to be a flop.
        Parafrost
    • Windows PC?

      It's a Windows PC, aside that it has a console/htpc form-factor, ships with a controller and boots to a console interface from the get-go. Especially that last part is very important to non technical users.
      When I look around on the internet for arguments to buy a console instead of a PC, things that are listed often are the maintenance, virus-protection and the ease-of-use.
      And the definition of a gaming-console is a machine that is build and configured to play game, which is a description of the Steam Machines. If hardware architecture decided whether a device is a console or not, the current generation consoles would be PC's.

      And it seems you and I have a very different definition of "very few games". Steam currently shows 484 games available for Linux, which are more launch titles than any console has ever had. SteamDB shows 594, which means a bunch is still in development. Various triple-A developers have announced Linux support. Developing for Linux has become much easier since many engines now have out-of-the-box support for it.
      Don't forget the exclusives (vs consoles) like Team Fortress 2, Civilization, Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Unreal Tournament 4 and a bunch more.
      And there's the guarantee that games will keep working, since Linux's golden rule is to never break bindings.

      It will also be the only console that allows for emulators, or to play games online without a subscription. It'll also be the only console that will improve over time, and will eventually be able to do 4K (which will be more mainstream in a few years).

      There are many reasons to think that Steam Machine will be succesfull in the long-term. Probably not at launch, but they will get more appealing over time.
      clementll
  • Dreams

    - they're nice to have.
    Mujibahr
  • Bwaaaahaaaaahaaaaaa

    Told ya so. Total vaporware. Ah, all those glorious plans for Ubuntu phones and $teamboxes.
    otaddy
  • No sweat

    Just purchase a PlayStation 4 which was built using FreeBSD. :)
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • So...

    next year is "The Year Of Linux On The Desktop"? Again?
    Sir Name