It’s finally happening.
Valve has released details on the first wave of Steam Machines, a series of computers designed for playing PC games in the living room. They will all hit the market this November — and could have a significant impact on a PC online gaming market that may hit $30 billion by 2017.
The company has posted specs and prices on 15 models on its online store, Steam. The cheapest is the iBuyPower SBX, which goes for $460. It comes with 4GB RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an MD Athlon X4 840 graphics card. The Falcon Northwest Tiki Steam Machine and the Origin Omega Steam Machine are both potentially the most expensive, with the priciest versions of each going for $5,000.
The large variety of Steam Machines is part of Valve’s initiative to give consumers choice. Each one will use Steam OS, a Linux-based operating system, to play digital games. Each comes with the new Steam controller, which has two track pads as well as a more traditional analog stick.
Console usually come in only a couple of models, and even then the differences usually only involve hard drive size. Valve is taking a more PC-like, open approach to living room gaming, which might have an impact on Sony’s, Microsoft’s, and Nintendo’s business.