After a lengthy testing and refinement period, Valve’s Steam Machines have finally been given an official release date.
The first batch, made by AlienWare and CyberPower, will be in stores on November 10th. Valve will also be launching Steam Link, their streaming hardware, and the Steam Controller on the same date. Gamers in the U.S. will be able to pre-order the AlienWare built machines on June 4. Some orders are expected to be filled as early as October 16.
Steam Machines, which run a variant of Linux dubbed SteamOS, will only be able to play games that directly support Linux. Games that do not support Linux will only be playable if streamed from a local computer running Windows or Mac OS X. However Valve are actively pushing to add Linux support to many more games.
Alienware Steam Machine prices will start at $449 but there will be several configurations available at different price points. Moreover there will be options to upgrade certain components of the Machines, with the exception of the graphics card. Additional hardware manufacturers are expected to roll out their own Steam Machines soon after.
The Steam Controller, which has also seen several re-designs since it was first revealed, will be sold at $49. The Steam Controller aims to be a hybrid of the standard console controllers whilst also catering for games that are traditionally mouse based. It uses a mixture of touch pads, rear and face buttons, and an analogue stick to maximise the types of games it can play. Every button on the Steam Controller is also completely configurable.
Finally, the Steam Link will also be on sale for $49. Announced back in March, the Link is a streaming device that allows the user to display content from a Steam account on a local machine – whether its Windows, Mac or SteamOS. It also promises to deliver content at 1080p resolution at 60Hz with low latency. So even action-heavy games can be played with minimal lag.
With these releases, Valve’s ambitions of being part of the living room will be put to the test. There’s been debate as to whether there will be an audience for these machines once they are released, or if they will be cheap enough to lure gamers away from the mainstream consoles. Either way, roll on November 10th.