At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Valve showed off some upcoming third-party Steam Machines. To those unfamiliar, “Steam Machine” is a phrase that encompasses many different types of computers. Valve has already sent out 300 of their own prototype Steam Machines to beta testers. Each Steam Machine comes loaded with Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS, with a Steam controller bundled in. These systems are being touted as alternatives to the likes of Windows based gaming PCs, as well as consoles like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Prices vary based on system specs, so expect a console rival to run around $600 while fully customized boutique builds to carry a hefty $6000 price tag. Engadget has a pretty comprehensive list of the systems and specs that were announced.
Many of today’s PC games are designed to run on a Windows OS, and while ports to Linux are becoming more popular, that leaves a large percentage of games unplayable on these new Linux-based Steam Machines. One possible solution is Steam’s in-home streaming functionality.
Valve recently wrote this explanation of their in-home streaming. “Any two computers in a home can be used to stream a gameplay session and this can enable playing games on systems that would not traditionally be able to run those games. For example, a Windows only game could be streamed from a Windows PC to a Steam Machine running Linux in the living room. A graphically intensive game could be streamed from a beefy gaming rig in the office to your low powered laptop that you are using in bed. You could even start a game on one computer and move to a more comfortable location and continue playing it there. “
Sounds pretty awesome! But, as a person who has built multiple PCs before, the thought of buying a pre-built computer with an OS already installed doesn’t have much appeal. However, the possibility of foregoing a Windows OS purchase for my next build, snagging a copy of SteamOS and purchasing a Steam controller to create my own Steam Machine sounds interesting. The flexibility of streaming my gaming opens up a lot of different opportunities for playing certain games in ways not really possible before.
Do you plan on purchasing a Steam Machine, or will you try any of their streaming functionality on your existing systems?