Valve is trying to shake up the console wars later this year by providing gamers with a middle ground between gaming PCs and conventional consoles.
That middle ground is called the Steam Machine and it will run Steam OS on your living room TV or office PC. The Steam Machine is designed for gaming and multimedia and will compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
One of the things that makes the Steam Machine unique is its multiple configurations. The Steam Machine was initially reported to come in three different performance levels. You can buy the budget Steam Machine, but don’t expect the best performance, or you can buy the premium Steam Machine and enjoy maximum framerates.
Valve is partnering with a number of hardware manufacturers to make different types of Steam Machines beyond those three initial boxes.
At CES 2014, Valve discussed the Steam Machine further and released the names of the partner manufacturers. Those manufacturers include:
There are at least 12 manufacturing partners in total. Each of the partners listed above sell pre-built gaming PCs in some form or another, with companies like Falcon Northwest catering to the premium gaming market.
Manufacturers can modify Steam Machines quite a bit. They can completely change the exterior aesthetics of the console, which means that we may see all sorts of creative Steam Machine designs.
The Steam Machine shown above, for example, is an early prototype from iBuyPower. It looks different from the initial Steam Machine designs we’ve seen from Valve, which means that the company is giving a considerable amount of creative license to its manufacturing partners.
Are you getting a Steam Machine? Or are you sticking to your Xbox One and Playstation 4?