Valve has been pushing out its Steam Machine project for the past few months, combining the hardware (Steam Machine), software (Steam OS) and Steam Controller together to make a customisable console to beat the incoming next generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
It looks like the marketing pitch worked, as Valve has announced fourteen different partners that will work on Steam Machine in 2014. The list has Alienware, Alternate, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon NW, GigaByte, iBuyPower, Maingear, Material.net, Next Spa, Origin PC, Scan, Webhallen, Zotac.
Alienware is the obvious highlight of this list, the others are mostly big custom PC makers, who have little branding compared to Alienware. The Steam Machine will be customisable and both users and OEM partners can add different parts to make it higher or lower quality.
All Steam Machines will come with the Steam Controller, but there are some partners wondering about how Steam OS will fair and are preparing to dual-boot Windows OS onto their machines, to make it a more familiar and usable interface for some customers.
Valve’s Gabe Newell has already said he is not afraid of the Xbox One and finds Apple to be the biggest threat to Steam, pushing out the Steam Machine and Steam OS is a way to cultivate gamers into one channel, instead of playing on Windows for PC and Xbox for console.
The Steam Machines have a variety of prices, anywhere from $400 to $2600 with specs ranging from a AMD Radeon R9 to the Nvidia 780 Ti, one of the top GPUs behind the Nvidia Titan. No big PC manufacturer has joined in the Steam OS battle, but we didn’t expect them to given the level of customisation they would need to offer.
Anyone thinking Steam is a small fish in the water against Xbox and PlayStation would be wrong, Valve has already announced around 60 million signups since Steam’s launch, more live users than Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.