With much fanfare, Valve unveiled its Steam Machine concept at CES 2014, showing off over a dozen gaming PCs that were designed to sit in the living room and run the company's SteamOS. (That was nearly two years after Valve showed its initial prototype to partners.) Since then, however, there have been nothing but delays in getting an "official" Steam Machine as originally envisioned to market -- the systems became available, but running Windows and promising future support for SteamOS, whenever it decided to show up.
That wait may finally be drawing to a close. Valve's website is promoting that two official Steam Machines are now available for preorder, along with the company's own Steam Controller and Steam Link hardware. Limited quantities of the Alienware and Syber Steam Machines will be shipping on October 16, according to Valve.
Both Alienware and Syber -- a division of CyberPowerPC -- have released systems based on the original Steam Machine model: the Alienware Alpha and Syber's range of configurations. But now the PCs will ship with the Linux-based SteamOS, allowing gamers to play thousands of titles on their HDTV. Valve has partnered with GameStop to sell the Alienware Steam Machine and its Steam Controller and Link add-ons.
GameStop currently has four Alienware configurations ready for preorder, ranging from a $449.99 model with Intel Core i3 dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drive to a $749.99 version with a Core i7 quad-core CPU and double the RAM and hard drive space of the base edition. Syber is touting three levels of Steam Machine: a $499 Core i3 system, a $729 Core i5 model, and a $1,419 Core i7 edition.
All Alienware Steam Machines include a Steam Controller, though it appears the Syber systems do not. The $49.99 input device -- available through GameStop or the Steam website -- features an analog stick, a pair of trackpads, and haptic feedback. The similarly priced Steam Link allows you to stream games to any TV in the house from a PC running Steam. Valve promises streaming support for up to 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution, and the Steam Link will compete against the likes of the Razer Forge TV, Nvidia Shield Android TV and similar game-streaming devices.
Steam Machines are expected to be more widely available by November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Valve promises that additional official Steam Machine models from other manufacturers will be announced soon.
After all of the hype and all of the delays, do you have any interest in buying a Steam Machine for your living room? Will Valve's SteamOS be the most successful platform to bring PC gaming to your HDTV? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion section below.