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back to article No, it's NOT Half-Life 3 – it's Valve's lean, mean STEAM MACHINE

Video game maker Valve has let loose the first photographs of its prototype Steam Machine hardware, in addition to sharing a few more details about its plans for the upstart, PC-based console. The photos come care of a report in the Seattle Times on Monday, which gave us our first glimpse at what an actual piece of Valve-made …

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Anonymous Coward

Looks slightly Xbox or projector like.

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Go

I am kinda judging that that is not a very positive thing then......

I know it's not the same for everyone but my console hides under my desk, the only time I ever see it is when I insert a DVD/Game.

If the console looks like shit but plays superb, then I really don't care what it look like. I think my PS3 slim looks kinda crap too. There will have to be damned good content though and not just another subset of what we already have on the market. We really don't need any more Halo, Gears of War or COD franchises....

Kudos to steam for what they are attempting.

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what xbox ?

all i see is a big power button and an optical drive - for media playback i assume, not having discs is the whole point of steam, no ? :) shape is just practical to put next or under your telly and easy to produce.

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Looks slightly Xbox or projector like.

It looks to me me more like a 21st century QUAD 33

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Re: what xbox ?

BF4 is a 20+GB download... I think the option to install from media is a good one to have!

Although having said that, the first years of BF3 updates came in at 20GB or so IIRC - always amazed me that a patch to fix game play issue would be 2GB... I stopped playing the game when it took longer to update it than I had spare time to play it...

Good luck steam! Hope you find the right balance of openness and profit.

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Quad 33

Glad you put the link in otherwise it'd only have been oldies like me that would have understood...

Am I the only one that thinks that the Steam Team all look rather young to have done this? Is this possibly a photo of the children of the developers?

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Re: what xbox ?

for media playback i assume, not having discs is the whole point of steam, no

Actually, Steam does support installing from disc, and games only ever get bigger, so optical disc transfer might still be viable, at least for this generation.

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RE: Quad 33

Oooh, I've got one of them in my loft!

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Piles of floppies

We'll probably be installing games of huge piles of Blu-Ray disks soon.

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Good luck to them.

Here is hoping they provide what the customer wants.

And that customer is the one buying the machine, not the advertisers and other business hang-ons that have made the new Xbox-one and PS4 such shitty options.

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I, for one,

hope there will be a fogger attachment available to emit "steam" as play gets more intense.

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Re: I, for one,

That, or perhaps they just make it water-cooled, and use the excess heat to make you coffee while you play.

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Re: I, for one,

SteamOS been based on Linux, I am pretty sure someone could hack one of those usb powered fogger to release smoke when you press buttons on steam controller.

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MrT
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I initially read that...

... as a "frogger" attachment, and in the brief few seconds before rereading it correctly had strange ideas of retro gaming possibilities...

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Re: I initially read that...

If you can assemble your own system, it doesn't matter what the reference design look, it's the combination of the controller and UI design that is important.

I think a nice big passive cooler mounted in a chassis resembling a valve amplifier would look good on some people's AV cabinets...

http://www.2dayblog.com/images/2012/april/550x-nofan-cooler.jpg (95 W TDP)

That'll cool any sensible CPU for gaming, a shame there doesn't appear to be similar passive solutions for GPUs.

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@Dave 126

Wow, that thing is quite beautiful (I mean it, not sarcasm). You could have a openish chassis with two or three of those popping out the top and it would look stunning.

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This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

Can PC gaming survive when even PC games are made for hand control instead of keyboard+mouse?

And should it?

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

Of course it can, and yes it should.

Without PC gaming, all of those 3rd party mods, many of which end up giving the game devs even more ideas to incorporate into expansion packs or future revisions of the game franchise, will die.

Not to mention, there are members of the gaming community that will give up their mouse and keyboard when you manage to prise them from their cold, dead hands. Some people do not like playing with sloppy controllers, and prefer the precision of a K+M interface.

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CLD

Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

I don't think this will do either, but it may dilute the console market place a bit more... The reason i don't think this will kill PC gaming, is that some games just don't work nicely on a console - for instance, I like to play the Civilisation games, these would be terrible on a console under a TV.

Not sure if the market will happily fit four consoles (Xbox, Playstation, Wii and SteamBox)...

I hope they understand that a console is so much more than a gaming device... it is a media hub. Most console owners i know use it more to watch videos and play music than they do with games. As long as this device has a good media centre interface then they should be onto a winner.

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

If you think of your console as a media hub you can leave the PS4 from your list.

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

They have said you will be able to dual boot it, so there are pleanty of ways you can also use it as a media player. Performance wise this leave the 'next gen' consoles for dead. I bet they sell a lot more controllers than systems though, as plenty of people will want to supply their own hardware (or use existing hardware).

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

If the media facilities involve a reboot to $different_os and XBMC or something similar, those media facilities will never be used by the majority of console owners.

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

Pretty sure you can just launch XBMC through steam's big picture UI, problem solved.

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

Frankly I don't see much use for PC gaming if the advantage of the superior control of keyboard & mouse is removed. Better hardware, sure, but the games aren't written for PC, they're written for the consoles (that's why no game has pushed the PC hardware in the last five years), so the better hardware just translates to high framerates at very high res - but the steambox is made to use TV for display.

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Re: This will either save PC gaming or kill it.

@lurker - then it better be preinstalled, or again, the average console user will never know it's even possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Destined to fail

A console with 20 different hardware specs.

A console with none of the benefits of a console in other words.

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Re: Destined to fail

I dont see that underpowered but consistant hardware specs is the benefit some say it is. I dusted off the old xbox 360 last night and fired up badlands. I noticed the game chunking quite a lot during the intro.

Conversely, PC games have been able to automatically benchmark the pc rig they're running on and configure to suit for years and years. Varied PC hardware is simply not the problem console gamers say it is. Its just an excuse to justify lame hardware and slow development cycles while the manufacturers milk more cash.

This will build on the success the steam platform already is.

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Re: Destined to fail

Have to agree with the auto adjust although we get the option to change things if we want to. Nvidia's auto adjust program can be used as well for older games if need be.

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Re: I dont see that underpowered but consistant hardware specs is the benefit some say it is.

Compare the games released when the ZX spectrum first came out to things that were released at the end of it's popularity. Take a look at some first gen wii games then fire up Xenoblade Chronicles. There's clearly big gains in performance that can be made by having an intimate grasp of the precise hardware you're running on.

Doesn't necessarily beat the ability to run on increasingly powerful hardware though....

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Re: underpowered but consistant hardware

i think part of the problem is that the last generation of consoles (x360, ps3) has actually had many more consoles, with different hardware than people think.

Time was, an N64, was an N64, but ever since the PSX (at least) things have changed mid-generation, with things like the PS1and halfway through the PS2 life cycle, the PS2(slim).

Even at launch, the x360 was available in 2 configurations, admittedly, at that point it was largely cosmetic, but then not much later the x360 elite was released, then the slim, and now they are gearing up for another x360 shortly after (?) the xb1 is released.

The PS3 has also been through many slight changes while staying in the same 'generation'.

While most of this has been cosmetic/aesthetic, there will have been changes under the hood as well, even if it is only using different chips to allow them to make the whole thing 'slimmer'. I'd be surprised if this had /NO/ impact at all on the way the software (games) runs on them.

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Re: underpowered but consistant hardware

That's been going on for a while longer than the PSX. Mastersytem had 2 revisions, Megadrive/MegaCD/32x, Gameboy/Gameboy Pocket. Gameboy Advance/SP/micro. Even the ZX had several different versions with different memory/sound chips etc. BBC Micro A and B, the list goes on... I would be surprised to find hardware differences even when there are no case size differences.

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Re: underpowered but consistant hardware

Time was, an N64, was an N64

Until you plugged the memory expansion module into it.

Hardware revisions have been going on for as long as there have been computers. No biggie.

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I wish them well but...

They had the opportunity to make something really revolutionary and cool looking. Not that everyone would want a garish monument in their living room, but they could have exploited the "steampunk" theme here, or at least made it a little more arty looking. From the pictures it looks less appealing and interesting than my cable box. I'm no fanboi, but they could have taken some cues from what Apple has done with their designs, or even Sony, may they rot.

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Re: I wish them well but...

You irked me with your pessimism, then enraged me with your delusion that their steam moniker has any relevance to that distinctly self-regarding and ultimately generally-quite-unimaginative and tiresome Steampunk aesthetic. I can't think of a quicker way to turn off huge chunks of your consumer base than by putting too much niche character into a design.

This is beta test kit they're announcing here - it needs to be intrinisically practical and dull so as to focus on the internals, which may well get swapped around, which certinaly do need to be breezy and cool. After all, much of the hardware production will end up being done by third-party actors, all featuring their own design requirements and conceits.

Regardless of that - no design team in their right mind would give away cues to their end-game at this stage.

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"replaces the traditional mini-joysticks of most console controllers with force-feedback trackpads and an LCD screen, for greater flexibility"

And from the looks of it has no real buttons that you can find by touch without looking so useability will be total crap.

Oh who am I kidding it's a gamepad of course useability will be total crap.

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"it's a gamepad of course useability will be total crap"

Cheer up, grandad - we're not all crippled by arthritis.

I agree with you about finding buttons by touch, though. I'm quite fond of dual thumbsticks, too.

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Missing one thing...

Games!

Where are the games? (Yes, I know Steam on Windows has tons of games, and on Linux it's possible to run WINE).

The concept is interesting. As a console gamer they can sway me. I tend to think they can take a slightly tighter reign on the hardware than it seems is being suggested. Current plans look a little too fragmented in the hardware. If they want to take on consoles and bring PC gaming to the living room then I feel they need to be a little more focused.

Running Linux is fine, The prototype box looks OK, Could get used to the controller, And they have a 10-foot interface.

Now give me a sub-£500 price point and a roll call of AAA titles from major 3rd party developers and I'd consider ditching the PS4 in favor of it...

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Re: Missing one thing...

Where are the games?

The creep toward major publishers putting games on Linux is starting. Metro: Last Light has just been put on Steam for Linux, Tripwire have been putting everything on Linux, as have Double Fine, Valve themselves, and Egosoft. All we need is for someone like Activision to start doing it, and a console might be that trigger.

Steam for Linux now has (I think) over 300 entries in the store.

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