Next to the Valve and HTC's Vive booth at Gamescom 2016, there was another piece of Steam hardware being shown off. The Smach Zero, previously known as the Steamboy, will go on sale when Valve launches the first round of Steam hardware, but the portable PC gaming console won't ship until a year later.
The Smach Zero will go on sale on Nov. 10 for $300 and will ship at some point in the fourth quarter of 2016. That $300 price tag is a preorder perk. The Smach Zero will retail for more down the road, possibly even before the handheld ships next year.
Unlike the Steam Machines that have been soft-launched over the past year, the Smach Zero provides complete access—anywhere—to over 1,000 Steam games. Presumably, that figure concerns games that are supported by Valve's Steam OS platform.
The Pro version of the Smach Zero will support 4G LTE, which will, like Nvidia's Shield tablet and handheld, provide players with a link back home to their gaming rigs. Like the Steam Machines before it, the Smach Zero will lean on those gaming rigs to handle the processing of PC games. The Smach Zero will simply stream the content.
Here's a rundown of what we know so far about the upcoming handheld console for Steam:
– 1,000 plus Steam games available at launch
– Anywhere Steam access
– AMD embedded G-Series SoC "Steppe Eagle" with Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics
– 4 GB RAM memory
– 32GB internal memory and SD Card Slot
– USB (OTG) On The Go
– 5-inch Touch screen with a 720p resolution
– Configurable tactile gamepads, similar to the Steam Controller
– HDMI video output connection
– Wi-Fi connectivity
– Bluetooth connectivity
– 4G mobile network connectivity (PRO model)
While the Smach Zero is over a year away from landing in the hands of consumers, the long-awaited Steam Controller and Steam Link are coming in the last quarter of the year. The Steam Controller features tactile thumb pads, programming buttons, a joystick and two rear triggers.
The Steam Link, the most fundamental of the Steam Machines, links living room TVs with gaming PC over local networks. The device, which supports Steam Controllers and third-party game pads, can stream games to big screens with a resolution of up to 1080p.
The Steam Link and Steam Controller are both up for preorders now and will ship on Nov. 10, which is when advanced orders for the Smach Zero open up.