In part deux of their three-pronged announcements this week, Valve has released news that they will have a console for their SteamOS operation system. They’ve also announced that they’ll be giving away 300 of these consoles in a beta test. The rest is kind of unknown.
But let’s first talk about what we know definitively after today:
• Half Life 3 is confirmed! It’ll be a launch title when the system comes out in 2014. Just kidding. (We’re keeping our fingers crossed that that’ll be the third announcement on Friday).
• Valve will make 300 prototypes of the Steam Box that they will distribute to active members of the Steam Universe (Steam U) who have signed an agreement and use the “Big Picture” feature with gamepad controller. Users who want to beta test must be actively using these features by October 25th, 2013.
• After the prototypes, Valve has made no announcements for first-party machines.
• Valve will be working with different hardware developers to create different consoles with different strengths. They’ve also gone on the record today stating that they’d like their machines to be hackable/upgradable. I’m waiting for the first person to install Windows on one of these things.
• Nvidia announced today that their relationship with Valve will continue through SteamOS. “Nvidia engineers embedded at Valve collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL; optimizing performance on Nvidia GPUs; and helping to port Valve’s award-winning content library to SteamOS; and tuning SteamOS to lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action (source).”
If I can be honest here for a moment (as a console-only gamer), I still don’t see the reasons to get as excited about this as most people are.
• You’re going to need to run two computers (one Steam Machine, one your normal PC) to play games.
• I don’t see enough exclusives here yet (although Half-Life 3 is an entertaining possibility).