Recap: Valve's three major Steam living room announcements from this week
Valve made quite a splash in the living gaming market, making three huge announcements this week. Spread out over the course of the week, Valve revealed their plan to bring Steam's PC gaming experience to the living room through three key features: SteamOS, Steam machines, and a Steam Controller. Miss any of the announcements? Check out a brief recap of each below.
The core of Valve's living room vision, SteamOS brings everything you love about Steam to the living through through a free operating system designed for television. I know, we already have Big Picture mode, which allows you to connect to your TV via HDMI, but SteamOS is so much more than that. SteamOS will allow you to play all of your PC games on your SteamOS machine, bring all of your media services to the living room, and introduce the Family Sharing Program.
Valved summed it up perfectly: "At the core of SteamOS is everything you already love about Steam."
At the time, the big question still remained: what exactly will run SteamOS? Thankfully, Valve followed this post up with the announcement of Steam Machines.
Let's be clear here: there is not just one Steam Machine. Valve recognizes that entertainment "is not a one-size-fits-all world." And because of that, they are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to the market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.
However, Valve has created their own prototype of a Steam Machine. They've designed a high-performance prototype that's optimized for gaming, for hte living room, and for Steam. It's also completely upgradable and open. Just 300 of these boxes are being shipped to Steam users (for free) for testing. You can find out how to participate here.
Bringing it all together is the Steam Controller, a device that will allow you to play any game on the big screen -- regardless if it has controller support or not. This Steam Controller is designed to work with all games thanks to a design that mimics keyboard and mouse functionality.
But how does it do so? With dual trackpads using haptic feedback instead of joysticks, a clickable touch-enabled screen in the center, and 16 buttons (half of which are accessible to you without requring your thumbs to be lifted from the trackpads). I haven't held the controller so I'm unable to comment on its practicality, but it certainly looks intriguing.
Just yesterday, the GameZone crew got together to offer our opinions on Valve's initiative. The idea of bringing PC gaming to the living room is a risky, but bold move. It's not everyday someone challenges the big three: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. But if anyone has a fighting chance, it's Valve.
These announcements are just the beginning, though. There's still plenty more we need to see and learn about all three of these new technologies. We'll undoubtedly have a better idea about the practicality of PC gaming in the living room once we get hands-on time with the technologies, but until then we can only speculate.
So with that, what do you think of Valve's announcements and their aim at bringing Steam into the living room?