Valve has just confirmed the rumored Steam Machines are real, claiming a “powerful new category of living room hardware is on the horizon;”. This follows their recent announcement of their Steam OS. This means that at some point next year, we will be able to play our steam libraries on our TVs in our living rooms! This has me extremely excited(and a bit worried about how many machines I’ll have in the living room). So what does this all mean?
Valve has stated that they don’t believe in the “one size fits all” solution that console makers have. They are planning several Steam Machines from several manufacturers, themselves included, to meet several gamer requirements and budgets, to be released in 2014. They will be giving out 300 beta machines this year to testers, and are encouraging them to be very public and vocal with their findings. I can’t wait to read up on what their experiences are.
So what does this mean? You will now be able to take your Steam library to your living room. All the games you bought for pennies during one of Steam’s awesome sales. All your humble bundle games. All of it! The indie games, the majors. It is an extremely exciting proposition. I personally have so many games in Steam right now, and a lot of times I don’t play them because I would rather be relaxed playing on my TV and not my PC monitor.
It is also huge competition for the three big players. When you know that you can potentially get a game so much cheaper than the $60 MSRP for a 360 or PS3 version, you are more hesitant to purchase it. This is especially exciting for budget gamers who don’t mind waiting a couple of months to play the best games as long as they can get them for a great price. I want to play Saints Row 4, but I don’t want to pay $60. I would love to pay $20 and play it. That is a possibility with Steam. It may not affect my Xbox Live gamerscore, but still.
With both the Xbox One and PS4 going to a x86 architecture, porting games to PC should be an even more common occurrence. Plus, details and resolution can be a bit lower on TV since we’re used to it. Plus, since there are going to be different costs/sizes/configs, there will be options for everyone. The main investment in the Steam Box could be the box itself. This can lead to true cloud gaming if you have a laptop. Play on the road, continue at home. Will I get a Steam Box? If it’s priced well, more than likely I will. Even if I don’t, Valve has made an important step towards changing the gaming landscape for good.