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First Steam Machine Priced At $499, Fires Warning Shot Over Next-Gen Consoles

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
PC, Steam Machine, Valve

First Steam Machine Priced At 9, Fires Warning Shot Over Next-Gen Consoles

Remember the IBuyPower Steam Machine prototype that broke cover yesterday? The one that looks like a nuclear sandwich with the crusts cut off? We're excited about Valve's new play for the living room, but as always, the price has to be right.

The price, it turns out, is going to be $499. Game on, next-gen consoles.

According to a follow-up report from The Verge, IBuyPower's machine is priced to directly compete with the Xbox One (which costs the same Stateside), boasting a "multicore AMD CPU" and a "discrete AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card." The Steam Controller will also be included as standard, along with its versatile vibrating trackpads and adorable owlish stylings.

This aggressively low pricing is nothing less a statement of intent; that Steam Machines are willing to duke it out on console's home turf, and on their own terms. If we see more manufacturers taking this tack - remember, there'll be both entry-level and advanced models available - and SteamOS actually works, we reckon that they'll be a tempting little offer. After all, a gaming PC offers the widest range of games, most competitive pricing and the most impressive visuals around... and Steam Machines could help to remove the two remaining rough edges of relative inconvenience and high up-front cost that stop many gamers from taking the plunge.

That said, we don't know enough about the CPU to make any kind of judgement call here. At all. Plus, if we've learned anything from Valve, it's that everything works brilliantly... eventually.

What sort of specs will you look for from a Steam Machine - and how much would you be willing to pay?

Add a comment22 comments
Late  Nov. 27, 2013 at 11:11

Ooh, nice price.
Realistically it was unlikely to be much lower if it were to be a competent machine. I wouldn't have been surprised to hear it was being priced at double this.

Of course we need to know what's inside it and what it's capable of* before deciding whether it's worth buying - but if it's c£400 and it's capable of playing most games (and playing them well) then I'm very much interested.

I look forward to hearing more - on this machine and on other Steam boxes.



*I'll need that spelling out to me, tbh. I'm a console gamer, and PCs baffle me. I'll be relying on you chaps to tell me whether the Opticron Three Thousand processor paired with two Intelliflex RSP8220 graphics cards and 256 gigawatts of ram is good. Or bad. Or a nonsensical figment of my imagination.

chieftex  Nov. 27, 2013 at 11:28


*I'll need that spelling out to me, tbh. I'm a console gamer, and PCs baffle me. I'll be relying on you chaps to tell me whether the Opticron Three Thousand processor paired with two Intelliflex RSP8220 graphics cards and 256 gigawatts of ram is good. Or bad. Or a nonsensical figment of my imagination.


I can help a bit here. So far we know very little - but if what they say about the graphics card onboard is true (arguably the most important part game-wise), then it'll be a good machine. The CPU doesn't have as much bearing on performance in games as it used to. But we still need to know how much ram (and what speed), onboard storage options, inputs etc.

Oh and 256 Gigawatts of ram is very good - and will be even better when they invent it.

DivideByZero  Nov. 27, 2013 at 11:45

I wonder if they will introduce a good spec one at some point?

That whole things costs less than my GPU alone.

It's good that this is happening and it's pretty exciting, but definitely not for me.

Stelph  Nov. 27, 2013 at 11:46

Ooh, nice price.
Realistically it was unlikely to be much lower if it were to be a competent machine. I wouldn't have been surprised to hear it was being priced at double this.

Of course we need to know what's inside it and what it's capable of* before deciding whether it's worth buying - but if it's c£400 and it's capable of playing most games (and playing them well) then I'm very much interested.

I look forward to hearing more - on this machine and on other Steam boxes.



*I'll need that spelling out to me, tbh. I'm a console gamer, and PCs baffle me. I'll be relying on you chaps to tell me whether the Opticron Three Thousand processor paired with two Intelliflex RSP8220 graphics cards and 256 gigawatts of ram is good. Or bad. Or a nonsensical figment of my imagination.


Im no expect, but id guess that its difficult to say TBH since the graohics chips in the consoles are very different to the ones in PC's, along with the fact that is not yet known how intensive the Steam OS will be (windows is quite process intensive compared to consoles OS so a console wont need as much power), the R9 270 seems to be quite a nice card tho, currently priced at 180 on its own, so would be able to run most games at a good old lick

What will be interesting is which console the steambox will directly challenge, its certainly a "gamers machine" aimed at pure gaming it seems which might mean its more of a threat to the PS4 than the Xbox one considering the Xbox one has other "features" (Kinect, HDMI Passthrough) which, i important to you, would make that more appealing than a steam box

Late  Nov. 27, 2013 at 12:06

I wonder if they will introduce a good spec one at some point?

That whole things costs less than my GPU alone.

It's good that this is happening and it's pretty exciting, but definitely not for me.


I get the distinct impression they'll be making top end machines as well as more basic ones - but to be honest I think their focus should be on the more basic ones. The more basic (but importantly cheaper) machines should be there to tempt people away from consoles and into pc/steam territory.
Any top end machines will mainly be for established pc gamers - and as such will inevitably face the question "how is this better than my current rig?" - and for a lot of pc gamers the answer will be it isn't. Even if it is many will prefer to keep their current machine and stick a newer card in.

Valve's priority has to be to get as many people using steam as possible, as that's where they make the real money.
And machine manufacturers' priority has be to make their machine as appealing as possible to as wide a market as possible - and the low end is going to be a much wider market than the top end.
I'm sure I speak for the majority of console gamers when I say we're sick of high game prices and feel we're missing out with all the great Steam deals we've seen in recent years. A lot of console gamers will definitely be tempted by a complication-free front room pc.
Possibly fed through their xbox One... ;)

(Yes that last line is tongue-in-cheek - a pc would definitely be better not being fed through a console! Would be cool, though. (Do people still say cool?))

DivideByZero  Nov. 27, 2013 at 14:04

I say cool a lot and I completely agree that they should go for the base end of the PC market. But that's why it isn't for me.

My main question about PC gaming at the moment is will I be gaming on the PS4 or XBO controller next year, or still on the 360 controllers? Or... will this Steam controller work with normal Windows PCs and it is as amazing as it looks?!

musicrabbie  Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:17

Early days but not a great games catalogue for starters.
http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/

X10  Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:21

One of the biggest problems I see here making any comparison to a console is not of perceived power offered, but that the Steam OS will be playing PC games available on Steam and that those games will be made with PC's in mind. This developer mindset is completely different to the console development mindset, where they build engines and optimise code to push the hardware to its limit where they can.
PC developers do not do this, instead relying on new advances in technology to fuel their games.
A console will be an investment of 5 years or more, expecting better and better results as time goes on, it could be argued that PC gaming is in fact the opposite, with visual quality degrading over time as newer hardware allows developers to make the jumps in visual and technical abilities leaving older hardware struggling.
Of course you can take into account that the hardware will only have to output at 720p to compete with one of the consoles ;P or 1080p, and most likely locked to 30 or 60fps, so could keep the Steam console alive for longer than the average PC would keep a PC gamer happy.
I think this aspect has not really been discussed very much and I think will play a large role for those considering an 'alternative' console for their next purchase.

X10  Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:23

Early days but not a great games catalogue for starters.
http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/


Do Steam OS games = Steam Linux games only?

(I realise the answer may be obvious given that Steam OS is Linux based, but I wasn't sure if that was a confirmed fact or not).

Last edited by X10, Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:28
musicrabbie  Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:29

Early days but not a great games catalogue for starters.
http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/


Do Steam OS games = Steam Linux games only?
Yes (he says with 99.9% certainty), and you'll have 2 ways to play your Windows Steam games:-
- dual boot the Steam Machine with Windows
- stream games from your Windows PC
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/homestream

Last edited by musicrabbie, Nov. 27, 2013 at 15:33
chieftex  Nov. 27, 2013 at 16:20

@DivideByZero

The steam controller will work with windows (and windows games). Can't tell if it's amazing or not though. Look up the video where they play Civilization V with it.

googleberry  Nov. 27, 2013 at 17:12

Some thoughts:

1. Valve waited till the the big guns fired their launch fireworks before their first concrete announcement. i.e. they have chosen NOT to compete in the "hype, pizzaz and vitriol" arena of a new console generation launch, which might have given the other players an opportunity to undermine their proposition terminally.

2. Their first steambox entry matches the next-gen console price ballpark, which signals to consumers that they are competing in this space to the market. "Please consider us if you are a gamer, have this much money to spend, and want a next gen experience" is the quiet message.

3. Valve can EASILY modify their product within in short span of time depending on market response to their first steamboxes, so have much greater flexibility in adjusting to meet the market. MS and Sony are stuck with their respective platforms for the foreeable future. I think this means they are aiming to gently and incrementally steal console consumers away from the big platforms over the life cycle, rather than try to snatch a market dominant position from the outset.

DivideByZero  Nov. 27, 2013 at 17:13

Thanks for the info Cheif, I'll just wait and try it for myself though. Doesn't matter how good the reviews are or how good it looks, it needs to feel right for you.

I made that mistake buying a Razer mouse... worst purchase I have ever made. Other people love the f*** out of those mice though.

timz  Nov. 27, 2013 at 17:18

Buy the steam controller use with your current gaming set up dual boot Windows and Linux! Cheap solution!

musicrabbie  Nov. 27, 2013 at 17:42

3. Valve can EASILY modify their product within in short span of time depending on market response to their first steamboxes, so have much greater flexibility in adjusting to meet the market.
Main problem I see is lack of CONTENT. (All these announcements are great until you realise that you cannot play anything new.) Valve cannot produce CONTENT in a short span of time. Whether others can (or wish) to produce CONTENT for SteamOS we'll see in a year or two.

Last edited by musicrabbie, Nov. 27, 2013 at 17:43
googleberry  Nov. 27, 2013 at 18:06

That is a good point and I can't refute that.

The thought I would add is that a sufficiently powerful PC turns a prev-gen console title into a next gen title by default because it can upscale resolution, AA, filtering, frame rates. The steambox essentially doesnt need new content to provide a next gen exeperience: it can take existing content and give it a next gen steroid boost.

Example: you played skyrim on 360, then you get a steambox and can now see the PC version modded up with new textures, 1080p, 60fps with all settings maxed. It's kind of next gen.

This is a personal view, but so far what I see next-gen as being is same ol gameplay with better gfx at the mo. Steambox is the magic box that does this in an accessible way for non geeks (and with all those steam sales your collection can grow mighty quick!)

Your argument stands, although my sense is Valve arent competing on exclusives, they're competing by capturing customers on the merits of their rich existing steam marketplace.

Last edited by googleberry, Nov. 27, 2013 at 18:09
musicrabbie  Nov. 27, 2013 at 18:17

I'm a bit confused. Steambox = Steammachine = SteamOS = Linux and I don't think Skyrim runs on Linux. Unless you mean to install Windows on a Steambox?

googleberry  Nov. 27, 2013 at 18:41

It will. I'll bet my grandma on that

Late  Nov. 27, 2013 at 19:43

I'll see your grandma, and raise you my two kids. (Looking forward to offloading them tbh)

Zeipher  Nov. 28, 2013 at 02:46

When's it coming out??? 2014 is too vague :(

I'm this close to buying a PS4, but only because I can't plug my PC into my lounge TV.

I wonder if it will run Star Citizen :)

If so, SOLD!!!

musicrabbie  Nov. 28, 2013 at 08:53

The Steam Machine Beta unit is due soon (Jan2014 at the latest). It'll be a slow journey. If Star Citizen gets a Linux port you might be in luck.

Late  Nov. 28, 2013 at 09:24

When's it coming out??? 2014 is too vague :(

I'm this close to buying a PS4, but only because I can't plug my PC into my lounge TV.

I wonder if it will run Star Citizen :)

If so, SOLD!!!


We've no details but I'd imagine we're looking at the second half of 2014...

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