Today begin to be sold both the first Steam Machines like the other two elements of this unique offer from Valve and Steam: The original video game controller, Steam Controller, and of course, the Unique Link , a small device that allows play video games from your PC, in our local area network, for example to enjoy in the lounge.
Our fellow Kotaku already made clear how interesting it was the new controller Valve and ourselves we told you about Steam Link and interesting proposal brought this device when “expand” the benefits of our PC games. With these two good proposals, where are the Steam Machines?
A bold proposal
When Valve raised this alternative to traditional consoles did very bravely. Some saw in the Steam Machines potential via the PC recover at least a small part of their role, and they also hand hicese Linux thanks to the presence of steamos, an operating system in its new version (known as Brewmaster ) is based on Debian 8.1 “Jessie”.
The use of an open source operating system has numerous advantages.
The most important: that anyone could convert their desktop PC or
laptop, or one that had dust-catching in a Steam Machine with which you can enjoy at least part of the services offered by the platform Valve.
These benefits would then be better or worse depending on the hardware of that machine, but this proposal Valve left him clear: if you want to make your PC as a system to enjoy the game, I want to put it easy. In the presence of steamos we were joined the other side of the equation: the launch of “approved” by Valve machines to offer that experience that the company wanted to provide. The Steam Machines had arrived.
A fuzzy catalog
The first problems came with the uncertainty of the specifications of these machines. The freedom that manufacturers and users could enjoy thanks to this project became anarchic against him, because suddenly appeared machines covered perhaps too spectra and added confusion to the scenario proposed by Valve. Which machine will give me the performance I need?
That question has never been answered at all, but if there was a solution that was the economic cost. The most powerful machines seem to guarantee a strong user experience, but here we have different alternatives that will be added various other manufacturers.
The three initial designs Alienware, Syber and Zotac have very different specifications and price, and this is also evident that the experience they offer is very different.
In fact in Futuremark they have been evaluating the performance of some of these settings through its synthetic benchmark 3DMark, and the results are logically disparate: the more we are willing to spend -the Alternate Ultra Steam Machine costs $ 1,899 for ourselves in one of gamma- stops obtain more performance.
The same applies to software catalog, which has been growing steadily for years and today stands at more than 1,000 games available on Steam for steamos, or what is the same, for Linux.
Unfortunately many of them are “minor” titles and we can enjoy the “first sword” of the big developers, who continue to think only in terms of consoles and at most Windows-based PCs. Steam intended precisely to change that, but it does not seem to have achieved.
The solution to a problem that does not exist?
The truth is that the Steam Machines seem the solution to a problem that most people simply do not exist. The segment of video games continues to grow, but it does essentially consoles and Windows-based PCs, where the efforts of both large producers like many independent developers focus.
This vicious circle makes things difficult to Steam, even with its role of reference in the market has not been able to finish boosting the segment of gaming PCs based on Linux. In the latest edition of its survey on hardware and software October 2015 it was clear numbers.
Here we have Windows systems, which remain absolute protagonists on Steam: The 95.45% of users use different versions of Windows (btw, Windows 10 is the second most popular here).
Gamers OS X account for 3.49%, while Linux, which should have generated more interest in this effort, is less than 1% market share: it remains at 0.95%.
That’s the first big problem of a Steam Machines that have a difficult ballot, especially because finding remarkable performance computers with a competitive price and is relatively simple without Valve intervene, but mainly because it is difficult to compete with consoles: no Steam Machine can offer benefits to the ecosystem and the PS4 or Xbox One achieved by just 350 euros, and if Valve wants less attractive to those consoles it is very difficult with the current proposal.
We’ll see how the market evolves, but a priori it seems much more likely that both Steam interesting as the singular Link Controller Steam achieve capture the interest of gamers, who can, yes, Steam Machines build their own thanks to the availability of steamos as downloadable operating system.
Maybe you please take a look at that possibility before making the jump to an approach that seems to have a complex future. As indicated in the title, does anyone need the Steam Machines?