Rumours have been floating around the internet for a while now concerning gaming company Valve’s entrance into the PC hardware scene – the Steam Machines. Since being revealed in 2013, we’ve gleaned a lot concerning these living room PCs; they’re going to be fast, powerful, will run a Linux-based operating system developed specifically by Valve, and there will be fifteen PC units on offer on the first day of release. Steam Machines are obviously a rather intriguing concept, but how will they size up compared to existing modes of gaming?
One of the key selling points of the Steam Machines is the sheer number of systems that are available. Fifteen companies are in the process of developing over 27 systems of varying prices and specifications, and more will likely follow in the future. The systems are designed to be far more scaleable, modifiable and generally more attractive than existing PCs, issues that will likely boost the image of PCs in the eyes of gamers in general. Many of the systems are more powerful than both the PS4 and Xbox One (both of which can’t be currently upgraded), which could prove a huge draw for gamers currently sitting on the fence.
With endlessly upgradeable Steam Machines, the types of games people play may be effected irrevocably. Today, many of the games people play are very much restricted by the hardware they’re played upon. Mobile games’ graphics and visuals have to be kept at a low quality due to the comparatively poor hardware located within mobile devices, this being an impediment to mobile gaming producers and mobile gaming fans. With Steam Machines, however, more and more users on websites and apps would have better hardware at their disposal, allowing games producers such as FreePlayCasinos to bolster the quality of their games. We’d also likely see a larger number of players buying the PC, not console version of the game, leading to certain franchises – Call of Duty, for instance – no longer being console-dominant.
In today’s console-focused market, the emphasis and experience of many gamers is one of heading to the high street – or ordering online – disk-based titles. With Steam Machines however, the integration of Valve’s Steam service will render disks obsolete. Gamers will be able to peruse, purchase and download their games, all from the comfort of their front rooms! One issue Valve may have to iron out is the issue of ‘always online’ games, where players cannot start up their favourite games without having access to the internet, however if this issue is solved, it’s likely that every other gaming provider will have to indulge in a bout of catch-up to keep competitive!
Steam Machines will be released later this year, but it’s yet to be seen what their effect on the gaming industry will be. Watch this space!