Valve gives up-close look at third-party Steam Machines
Valve's Gabe Newell was on-hand at CES in Las Vegas to introduce a wide line of third-party Steam Machines, the company's big Linux-based play for the living room game experience.
Partners were leaked earlier this week, but Valve confirmed the following companies:
Alienware, Alternate, Cyberpower PC, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte, iBuyPower, Material.net, Next, Origin, Scan Computers, Webhallen.com, Zotac, and Maingear.
This initial large slate of partners is just the beginning -- Valve's plan is to get as many manufacturers making Steam Machines as possible, in order to get Valve's distribution service into peoples' living rooms.
For game developers, this means the PC market has a chance to gain even more relevance, even as new consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 exhibit strong initial hardware sales.
When one journalist asked if Valve's Steam Machines would be able to catch up with Xbox One's 3 million units sold so far, Newell quipped, "Well it'd be hard for them to catch up because we're at 65 million," referring to the amount of registered Steam users.
Right now, there are only 300 of Valve's Steam Machine hardware beta units out in the wild. Asked how the reception has been so far, Newell replied, "Users have been super happy, but we want them to tell us what's wrong, so we're poking them harder," he said. "Right now they're all saying this is the best thing since the beginning of... time... or something."
Valve's latest Steam Machines press release mentions that the upcoming devices will start at $499, ranging as high as $6000 for Falcon Northwest's highest-end "Tiki."
The first Steam Machines from third-parties are slated to arrive in 2014.
As you might expect, manufacturers at the CES event that we spoke with all said working with Valve has been a good experience, and the Steam provider has been very helpful in the third-party hardware prototyping process.
Alienware business development manager Marc Diana said his company has been working with Valve for over a year on its Steam Machine. "The relationship has been fantastic -- we just pick up the phone, and they're very supportive."
For a comprehensive look at these machines, check out Valve's official Steam Machine brochure here [PDF]
Below is a Vine of the initial line of third-party Steam Machines, along with some pics we snagged at the busy event.
(Lastly, Valve's own prototype Steam Machine, which was hiding behind one of the many TVs at the event.)