Steam Machines: Everything You Need to Know

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stradric

"Why would I even want a Steam Machine or SteamOS PC in my living room - I'm a PC gamer."

There's a simple answer for that. Some people like the power and versatility of the PC, but also have a lot of games in their library that would play better with a controller on the couch.

Or maybe they like consoles, but don't want to invest in another console that has no backward compatibility.

SteamOS is probably 4 years off to being something great though.

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Gameaholic1337

I do like Steam Machine better because it sounds like dream machine. Steam box makes me think of Xbox or a sauna.

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Thursday

"Steam box makes me think of...a sauna."
Glad I'm not the only one!

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whiskeymcclinton

I'm a Steam user & Fan, BUT...
does anyone else see the similarity & hypocrisy?

Apple -> Walled garden App Store.
Google Play -> Walled garden App Store, with side-loading available.
Windows Phone -> Walled Garden App Store, with a Pay-For Side Loading membership option.
Windows 8 -> Walled garden App Store, with legacy Apps you can very easily "sideload."
Origin - > Walled garden App Store for just games.
Steam -> Walled garden App Store for just games.
Steam OS -> Gimped OS with a built-in Walled garden App Store for a handful of games.

You're still better off installing full Windows or Ubuntu, then the Steam Client.
At least with Windows, you can install multiple "Walled-garden" App stores (Steam + Origin + Battle.net + ...). You're not just stuck with one. Even with Metro Apps, there's nothing stopping building a Metro Steam App, is there?

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Arcticwolf5150

Right now you are right because a programmer has not gotten a hold of SteamOS and created those options. This is the bonus of SteamOS being Linux based; it is completely customizable by its user(s). I do not know programming, and by your comment I'm sure you do not either. But, a programmer can have SteamOS function in any way he/she wishes. Once SteamOS is out of beta and there is a programmer out there looking for notoriety SteamOS will be able to install multiple "Walled-garden" App stores.

So I agree with a comment I read earlier. SteamOS will not gain its true popularity until after it has been out for a few years.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

There is no Hypocracy that I can see

The Steam platform was made to operate independently of Windows so that Microsoft could not block or control access to Steam for Microsoft's benefit and Steams demise whenever Microsoft decides to kill Steam

If you want Windows you can just dualboot or run a Windows VM on the STEAM/Linux platform

If Virtual Machines are good enough to run Linux on Windows then they are good enough to run Windows in Linux

if not, then Microsoft can just die

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AFDozerman

That was an abnormally.... Sane.... Comment from you, Bullwinkle...

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Hangdog42

"Gimped OS"? The demos I've seen show you can pop out of "SteamOS" into full blown Debian. Just hook up a Debian repo and install whatever you need.

In other words, it is exactly what you're suggesting people are better off doing. It just boots into Steam to start.

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thetinean

For me, the only really good thing to come out of steam machines are the cases. I've been wanting to put a small but powerful computer on my living room for a while, but there aren't that many cases that are the right size and economical to an extent. I hope this helps bring more competition to the area; these cases are good both for media center PCs and console-like PCs.

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Thursday

I know! I've been trying to build an acceptable SFF Media Center PC for my entertainment system for a long time but they've always looked so out of place. Some of these new cases though are just amazing!

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Screw Dual-Boot!

Make the STEAM O.S. into a lightweight VM launcher with STEAM as the only NON-VM O.S. to keep game latencies down and as close to the hardware as possible

This would allow instantly switching to a Virtual Machine of any O.S. you like at any time or switch between several VM's + STEAM

Minimum requirements should be a quadcore and 16GB Ram

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LatiosXT

The only problem, as far as I know, there aren't any readily available VMs to virtualize your graphics card. As far as I know, most VMs either emulate a popular chipset (Microsoft's VM emulates an S3 Trident) or something else (VirtualBox does its own thing).

It's possible though, considering modern consoles except Nintendo's run a hypervisor. But then again this is just a bare-metal VM manager.

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AFDozerman

Check out the xen hypervisor. I believe it's the closest to what you are describing.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Thanks

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Chronologist

Closing their ecosystem is a pretty huge blow to one of, if not the defining characteristics of PC's.

I hope Microsoft isn't stupid enough to try to change that.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

That open market is the biggest reason most of us are on PCs today, instead of Macs.

If the board of directors and marketing suits at Microsoft don't understand that kind of strength, then the company deserves to crash and burn.

I will switch to a Steam Machine before buying all my software through a Windows store.

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jbitzer

Let's face it, if Windows becomes a closed marketplace like that, as much an MS fanboy as I am, I'm going apple. They do closed systems best thus far.

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PCWolf

Basically, Steam Machines are nothing more than PCs with Console Styled Cases with Steam OS instead of Windows.

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maleficarus™

You obviously didn't read the article did you? Gabe even admits this and said this was the intent of the Steam Machine. I would sooner buy a Steam Machine then an Xbox or a Playstation. At least with Steam I can still upgrade what is inside of it when I want to without waiting 5+ years for a new system!

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PCWolf

I did read the Article. Already know about Gabes main reason being Windows 8 & his fear that it's moving toward a "walled garden", and is his reason for making the Steam Machine. I Looked at all the specs of the various Steam Machines being listed. They all use PC hardware, in Customized Console Style Cases. In short, & once again, I stand by my comment that Steam Machines are nothing more than PC's in Console styled cases with Steam OS installed instead of Windows.

Some of these Machines even use Integrated Graphics or are simply too underpowered to run top shelf games at max settings. They do not have the Unifying Standards of a Console. & Why would a PC user with a Powerful Rig even want to buy one of these Steam Boxes? For the Pretty Steam Case? To say they Own something with the Steam OS? I'm still wondering how Gabe has managed to talk ATI & Nvdia into making updated Drivers for his Linux based Steam OS Variant. Or how he even plans to get DX11 effects & features from games working on the Steam Box. These issues never seem to come up in Articles like this.

If you have anything that proves my belief wrong, please state your facts.

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Hangdog42

PC users with powerful rigs aren't the target audience here. Casual gamers or console gamers who want a plug-and-play experience are. It's pretty clear that Valve has gotten the attention of both Nvidia and ATI, how they did it is pretty irrelevant. But if Steam Machines turn into a successful franchise, both companies will quite willingly follow the money.

As for DX11, the gaming market will take care of that. OpenGL has already been proven a more than worthy competitor, and I suspect developers will be using it much more frequently even if Steam Machines aren't a hit.

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legionera

Imagine the world collapses and we never find out the answer

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Renegade Knight

Valve may not have a winner with the Steam OS but they are doing what they should be doing. Metro Apps are Windows Store Only. Desktop programs are already called legacy apps by a lot of folks.

Windows 9 will tell if MS means to close the ecosystem or keep it open. We shall see, but I do know the temptation is there to close it for Joe Consumer even if they do leave it open for sideloading for Corporate and Government customers.