After months of speculation, Valve has officially unveiled the Steam Box, or as it’s formally known, the Steam Machine. In a week’s time, there were three announcements made by Valve.
The first on Monday, September 23rd was the new software entitled SteamOS. It is a Linux-based operating system designed for the living room. At first, I didn’t really understand as there was no hardware surrounding this new program. It seemed like an advancement of Big Picture mode.
Wednesday, September 25 brought us the news we’d been waiting for, Valve’s official console. The Steam Machine will be running SteamOS, which by the way, is how you’ll be able to stream your PC games to the console. Starting in 2014, there will be several different models of the Steam Machine all developed by different companies. Well-known PC companies such as Dell and HP are rumored to be working with Valve to get the Steam Machine out by 2014.
Now, the third announcement which after both a software and hardware announcement, you’d think the third unveiling would be Half-Life 3 or any other 3 for that matter. No such luck, as the third and final showcase was the Steam Controller. While it’s not any kind of 3, I am satisfied with the Steam Controller and can’t wait to see how it functions. At first glance, I almost did a double-take. This is the most bizarre looking gamepad I’ve ever seen. It’s tagline “a different kind of gamepad” fits quite well. The most noticeable features are the dual trackpads replacing the usual analog sticks. They are similar to that of a laptop mouse, but ultimately offer much more precision than you’re usual controller. It was designed to offer PC players a viable alternative to keyboard and mouse. In the center of the gamepad there is a touch screen that will display the game you’re playing on your TV screen and, like the DualShock 4, is clickable. There are also you’re standard face buttons (AXYB) that are placed two on each side of the touch screen. This will cause you to use your left thumb a little more often than you’re used to. One feature that Valve added in is the ability to play any game, old or new with the Steam Controller. They’ve done this by tricking the game you’re playing into thinking you’re using a mouse and keyboard. This now opens the doors to the idea of playing RTS and space exploration games with a controller. It might not work, but at least it’s cool.
So those are Valve’s three announcements, no Half-Life 3, but it’s cool to see Steam branching out into the living room.