Valve announced two innovations that can easily quench your gaming thirst. The first, dubbed the Steam Machine, looks more like a console you play in your dorm or living room. The second is a peripheral that can be used with a PC or the Steam Machine console.
The Steam Machine is the kind of console that brought PC gaming to your living room. The machine will allow you to play your Steam titles on an HDTV in your living room instead of your PC. It’s been announced and rumored since
2012, but some light has been shed on Steam’s console earlier this year. The console itself is a kind of miniature gaming computer, complete with RAM, a video card and a hard drive. Valve has also announced that the console is open-source, meaning that manufacturers can make their own distinct Steam Machine and allow us end-users to tinker with them. All Steam Machines will be integrated with Valve’s custom Linux-based operating system, SteamOS.
The second innovation is called the Steam Controller. This controller differs from any type of controller currently in production because it utilizes two trackpads in place of face buttons and physical analog sticks, thus giving the user more of a keyboard-and-mouse-feel. Like a keyboard, you’ll be able to program the two trackpads with different keystrokes. In doing so, Valve hopes to bridge the gap of desk-to-living room play.
The controller will also have a touch-screen that can be used to show other Steam functions, like the screen cap and push-to-chat functions. The controller will also be future-proof, which will allow you to play any past and upcoming titles with the device, even games that don’t allow the use of a gamepad.
When can you get your hands on one of these? As of now, we are still quite a ways away from getting our hands on these gaming goodies. There’s no current release date set, but Valve is slated for a 2014 release. The company has already set up a page for a beta-testing program so users and developers alike can get their hands on these devices earlier than their friends. Only 300 testers will be chosen to get these devices at the end of this year.