Valve is one of the more unpredictable and surprising names in the video game industry. With its unorthodox strategies and innovative games, the company is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in gaming. Valve also made waves last year when it announced that it was working on a "Steam Machine." Steam is currently one of the largest online gaming distribution systems and currently boasts of over 65 million users. Given the platform's large user base, a console does seem like the next logical step. Not surprisingly, at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Valve announced a roster of hardware manufacturers that will be producing the much-awaited Steam Machine.
According to the company CEO Gabe Newell, Valve will be partnering with a total of 13 hardware manufacturers for their highly anticipated console. These upcoming "Steam Machines" will leverage on Valve's existing Steam network to provide a genuine console experience for gamers everywhere. These machines will come in a form factor that distinctly appears console-like. Internally however, the new Steam machines will also bear similarities to PC gaming rigs. The machines will come in a variety of shapes and sizes and in addition to this, they will also come with differing hardware specifications that may include Nvidia GPUs and Inter processors.
Valve first announced the development of their Steam consoles fall last year and it may culminate in the successful marriage of PC and console gaming, offering gamers the best of both worlds. Advantages should include the power of a top spec'ed PC gaming rig with the affordability of a console. In terms of pricing, the new crop of Steam machines ranges from sub-$500 units to $6,000 powerhouses.
Valve said it will be working with a wide variety of companies known for manufacturing PC and gaming hardware, such as Origin PC, Zotac, Gigabyte and Alienware. While most of the companies involved will be producing hardware for the U.S. market, a number of manufacturers have been selected to target Asian and European markets as well.
While there are currently only around 250 titles available for Steam OS, a slew of new titles will probably be ported to the OS once the new Steam Machines are available.