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Published:January 17th, 2014 15:17 EST
The Steam Machines: Valve Makes an Attempt at Console Gaming

The Steam Machines: Valve Makes an Attempt at Console Gaming

By Derek Sanders

With Microsoft`s Xbox One, Sony`s Playstation 4, and Nintendo`s Wii U all available in stores, the newest generation of consoles is now underway and many gamers can now enjoy the latest titles being offered. However, another contender may soon arrive that can offer them significant competition. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, video game developer and publisher Valve Corporation has announced a line of home video game consoles being produced named the Steam Machines.

Developed as a sort of hybrid of a PC and gaming console, the Steam Machines will be manufactured and distributed by a variety of different vendors using a range of design specifications outlined by Valve. The consoles will run on SteamOS, an open source Linux based operating system developed by Valve to run the games featured on its software distribution platform Steam. Being manufactured by different vendors, each of the consoles will vary in different factors like size, power, and price and, similar to PCs, the consoles can be freely modified and upgraded by users.

Primarily known as a video game development studio, Valve has created critically-acclaimed series like Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress. It is also known for Steam, its software distribution platform which allows users to download games straight to their computers, as well as updates for some of those games. The games featured on Steam range from Valve`s own first-party titles to independent releases like Fez and Bastion to large blockbuster titles like Borderlands and Street Fighter.

The gaming community is fairly split on their opinion on this console line. A recent poll by gaming website IGN stated that 52% of users polled said that they were not interested in buying them against 48% that said they were. One of the common complaints against the devices is that they are so similar to computers that consumers who already own gaming PCs do not see the point in buying this secondary machine. Meanwhile, those that do not own a gaming PC or find the main three video game consoles unappealing see this as a good alternative.

Though a full release date has not yet been announced, the Steam Machines are expected to be in stores sometime in 2014.