Tag Archives: machines

Valve announced Steam Sections coming to gaming retailers soon

Valve is going out of the to show off the new #Steam #hardware at GameStop, GAME UK, EB Games. Announcing dedicated Steam Sections launching this fall in GameStop (USA), EB Games (Canada), and GAME UK  stores. The section will feature the Steam Hardware #devices launching November 10, including the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and Steam Machines, as well as a variety of prepaid Steam cards.

This is a great way for gamers to get up close with a Steam Machine, before you buy one. Everyone will get the chance this fall when Valve opens official “store within a store” experiences inside of GameStop and other gaming-related shops.

Valve is set to officially unwrap the new hardware on November 10, so the company may have a hard time explaining the Steam Machines concept to average gamers that do not follow the news. So putting this new hardware in stores lets potential buyers see the PC-based consoles first-hand and take on Valve’s gaming platform more seriously.

For the most part, Steam Machines are simply standard PC’s with off the shelf parts but running a Linux variant, SteamOS, which we already know. The Steam Link is the streaming device that lets gamers stream games from a Steam Machine or Windows gaming PC to the living room.

steam_machine_by_origin

“GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Games are leading retail destinations for core gamers and early adopters,” outlines Valve’s Gabe Newell. “Creating a ‘store within a store’ across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers’ hands.”

Steam Machines being the highly anticipated devices from Valve, which is still the dominant distributor of digital games for Linux, Mac and Windows PC. Some people have a growing concern that it could be too late for Steam Machines, as they were birthed during the backlash against Windows 8, and before the release of next-gen game consoles.
So when Steam Machines formally launch in November, they will be up against Windows 10 as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Valve did not mention if Steam Machines will be unveiled at stores but did outline the physical Steam Machine stores-within-a-store launching this “fall.”

That being said, Linux Game News would like to expect these thoughts to you, our readers. What do you make of the new Steam hardware?
Do you feel the new hardware is poised to make a lasting impact? And what are you hoping for with these new devices?

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Steam Dev Days: SteamOS and Controller

 

Valve’s “Steam Dev Days” conference starts today. It only runs for two days but if you look at the session listings it’s going to be a packed two days.

We’ve talked and talked about SteamOS, the Steam Controller and Steam Machines and #Valve is going to talk more about these and about Linux game development & debugging, and porting your game to OpenGL. All steps along the path to leaving Windows development behind and embracing SteamOS.

But another hot topic this year is VR at Steam Dev Days. Yesterday Valve launched SteamVR, with support for the Oculus Rift dev kit (here’s how to try it out if you have an Oculus). There’s also some speculation that Valve will announce its own VR visor during the conference. I don’t have an Oculus to test with, but people who’ve tried it say it projects the Steam US as a “giant floating curved screen,” Eurogamer reports.

So it seems like we can add SteamVR to SteamOS, Steam Machines and Steam Controllers. PC gamers as a whole seem really excited about what Valve is doing. I am as well, at least to a certain extent.

But I do wish there was another company out there pushing PC gaming forward as enthusiastically as Valve is Steam Dev Days. Valve seems to be a pretty consumer-friendly company…today. But we’ve seen other companies that seemed very consumer friendly change their ways over time, once they became big enough and corporate enough. Perhaps that will never happen with Valve, but I’d still like to see them have some healthy competition just to keep them honest.

Reblogged from: itworld.com

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The Steam Machine’s biggest problem is Linux says John Carmack

The Steam Machine’s biggest problem is Linux says John Carmack

Ever since #Valve announced its three-tier approach to bringing PC gaming to the living room — Steam OS, the #SteamMachine, and the Steam Controller — people have been divided on whether or not it’s a sound idea. #JohnCarmack , a man who changed the face of PC #gaming at #IdSoftware, thinks the Steam Machine’s odds of succeeding are “a bit dicey.”

Once upon a time, Carmack — though regularly heralded as a PC gaming genius and visionary to this day — thought Valve’s digitial distribution platform, Steam, wasn’t the greatest of ideas. He points that out himself, but maintains that despite his previously incorrect prediction regarding one of Valve’s ambitious ideas, the Steam Machine still won’t be an instant hit. Rather than think the Steam Machine will travel down a rocky path because it’s basically just a regular PC, or because Valve has gone a little crazy, Carmack feels the biggest hurdle the Steam Machine faces is Linux.

Steam living room

Speaking at Nvidia’s Montreal conference, Carmack noted that trying to force PC gaming over to Linux seems a bit crazy. Pushing developers to also develop a Linux port — or even crazier, to develop games with Linux as the main platform — is certainly asking a lot, and seems more like Valve is betting on its pedigree alone to pull developers over to aubergine color schemes and penguin logos. Though Carmack has been wrong about Valve in the past (and is fully aware of that), he’s not the only high-profile games developer that feels the Steam Machine’s future is murky. Tim Sweeney, a founder of Epic Games, also can’t predict the Steam Machine’s success, saying the open gaming platform is an interesting concept and could at least pave the way for more open gaming console standards in the future.

Sweeney does have a point: The dominant gaming consoles for the next decade or so appear to be the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and considering how poor Android gaming devices have been received, the dominant mobile gaming platform will likely continue to be iOS. Apple’s mobile OS is notorious for being tightly closed, and while Sony has scooped up a ton of popular indie developers and Microsoft has corrected its indie game self-publishing policy, those two platforms are much more locked down than the wild wests of PC gaming and Linux. If developers truly feel the closed approach to gaming Sony, Microsoft, and Apple have taken is harmful to the industry, Valve’s open gaming console might pick up some steam.

However, as Carmack specifically noted, Linux might be the Steam Machine’s downfall — not because an optimized, specialized distro couldn’t handle games well, but because developers may not flock to the platform. As it is, thanks to Steam, PC gaming on Windows (and to a lesser degree, OS X) has experienced a recent surge in popularity, so even if Valve’s Steam Machine makes development easy enough for Linux, the time-versus-reward may just not be there for developers to focus on a tiny fraction of the PC gaming market.

Reblogged from: extremetech.com

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Steam Box a PS4 or Xbox One killer from Valve?

Steam Box a PS4 or Xbox One killer from Valve

With the announcement of SteamOS, Steam Machines, and the Steam Controller, Valve has effectively worked the internet into a frenzy. The number of voices singing Valve’s praises has been enormous, and with good reason. Valve is moving in a really interesting direction, and nobody can claim that it’s playing it safe. Even so, the amount of cheerleading being done about the superiority of the so-called Steam Box has gotten out of control. While a nice PC made of off-the-shelf parts can usually outperform consoles, the high barrier to entry and fast-paced upgrade cycle will make the average gamer scoff.

Using Amazon, Crucial, and Newegg, I priced out the off-the-shelf components that roughly equate to what will be inside of Valve’s prototype Steam Machines. Valve remains vague on some of the details, so I did have to do a little bit of guesswork. That being said, I tried to find fair and representative prices for the components, but your milage may vary when shopping for PC parts.

Low spec

  • $249.99: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 (3GB of GDDR5)
  • $165.66: Intel Core i3-4340 Dual-Core
  • $163.99: 16GB (8GBx2) of DDR3-1600 RAM
  • $134.99: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI LGA1150 Motherboard
  • $99.99: Seagate ST1000DX001 1TB+8GB SSHD
  • $59.99: Rosewill CAPSTONE-450 450W Power Supply

Total: $874.61

High spec

  • $999.99: Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN (6GB of GDDR5)
  • $294.99: Intel Core i7-4770 Quad-Core
  • $163.99: 16GB (8GBx2) of DDR3-1600 RAM
  • $134.99: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI LGA1150 Motherboard
  • $99.99: Seagate ST1000DX001 1TB+8GB SSHD
  • $59.99: Rosewill CAPSTONE-450 450W Power Supply

Total: $1753.94

Xbox One and PS4, product shots

Let’s assume that Valve and its hardware partners work out a noteworthy deal, and sell these machines at a discount. If you take a 20% cut, the bottom-end machine would still be roughly $700 before you factor in the cost of the case, controller, and packaging. Even if the machine was being sold at 50% less than what the parts retail for online, that low-end machine’s innards would still cost more than an entire PS4 package.

PC gaming rigs, and therefore Steam Machines, are inherently at a disadvantage in a few vital ways. Most importantly, there’s no single hardware spec, so it’s impossible for developers to spend the time needed to optimize for each combination of hardware. The bottleneck areas aren’t consistent among all PCs, and that can lead to serious frame rate issues on some machines. With consoles, developers always know what hardware they can expect, and that makes for better optimization across the board. Even though the PS3 is seven years old now, The Last of Us pulled off jaw-dropping visuals because the team at Naughty Dog was able to squeeze every last drop of processing power out of the PS3. Good luck trying to get that kind of performance on a gaming PC purchased in 2006.

While many diehard PC gamers incessantly brag about the power of upgradability, that also comes with the inevitable creep of system requirements. If you buy a low-end gaming PC that can play today’s games at a decent frame rate, will it be able to pull that off for games made in 2015? It’s certainly not guaranteed. It’s true that PC games almost always look better than console games, but that comes at the cost of a larger initial price tag and a comparatively fast upgrade cycle. For example, a launch-day PS3 can still play every game ever released on that platform, but a PC gamer would have likely gone through countless upgrades and at least one or two major rebuilds over the course of seven years.

Valve is definitely making bold and interesting choices with its new platform, but the Steam Machine will still have much of the baggage that comes along with any traditional PC. It’s clearly a fascinating option for core gamers, but based on the details we know, it’s not going to be a console-killer. The simplicity, affordability, and lengthy upgrade cycle of traditional consoles still has a lot to offer in a post-Steam world. A Valve-endorsed Linux gaming PC is worth noticing, but the PS4 and Xbox One teams don’t have anything to worry about just yet.

Reblogged from: extremetech.com

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