For a couple of years now Valve has been developing and promoting the concept of what has become their Steam Universe. The Linux-based SteamOS running on top of console-sized Steam Machines for the living room, controlled with the Steam Controller. Now after becoming subject to Valve Time and delayed from 2014, today Valve and their partners are announcing that Steam Universe is finally launching later this year.

Steam Controller

First and foremost, let’s start with the Steam Controller. The final version of Valve’s controller is pretty much identical to what we saw at GDC 2015, featuring what has become the controller’s signature touchpads, along with an analog stick, motion controls, haptics (vibration), and what Valve is calling dual-stage triggers, all communicating with host systems over Bluetooth. Though ultimately lacking the touchscreens of Valve’s original design, the final controller retains the touchpads and the same goals Valve had held to since the start: making more traditional mouse-driven PC games playable on the couch with a controller. Valve has put up a short promotional video showing it in action, and it will be interesting to see if it works as well in real life as Valve would like it to. When not part of a Steam Machine bundle, Valve will be selling the Steam Controller stand-alone for $49.

Steam Machines

Next up, this brings us to Valve’s Steam Machines initiative. With last year’s delays we’ve seen a few of the initial Steam Machines reissued as Windows machines in the interim, but now with Valve finally ready to ship on their end, the full collection of Machines will be available. In terms of design all of these Machines are all small form factor designs intended for the living room, with the actual designs being a mix of existing SFF designs – such as the Gigabyte BRIX Pro or the Falcon Northwest Tiki – while other designs being brand new entirely.

Meanwhile as far as performance and costs go, the initial wave of Machines run the gauntlet from low-powered, console-like computers to high-end machines that are meant to take a stab at 4K rendering. The cheapest machines start at $449, such as the Alienware in its low-end, Core-i3 powered configuration, and also the iBuyPower SBX. Meanwhile at the middle of the pack are machines like the Zotac SN970 at $999, and finally at the high-end the sky’s the limit. With many of these designs accepting desktop class CPUs and video cards, the price tag on the top configurations can go into the thousands of dollars, with Falcon Northwest quoting $4999 for what will be their top-end Tiki.

As one might expect, all of the Steam Machines are shipping with one Steam Controller, with additional controllers available from Valve for $49. Meanwhile the very first Steam Machines from Alienware and Syber are already available for pre-order from GameStop and Syber respectively, while the rest are slated to be available in November. The pre-order machines are said to be a “limited quantity” (though we don’t know just how limited), and will be shipping on October 16th, for gamers who are willing to order the machines before the reviews and formal launch. Otherwise we’re expecting to see everything else go out around November 10th.

Steam Link

Finally, we have the Steam Link, Valve’s in-home streaming receiver for Steam. Intended to be used with Steam’s existing, built-in streaming technology, the Link is designed to allow playing Steam games in other locations away from the host PC/Machines, be it things like spare bedrooms or locating the host in said spare bedroom and putting the Link in the living room. The Link features a 2x2 802.11ac for wireless connectivity, or a 100Mbit Ethernet port for wired fallback, along with a trio of USB 2.0 ports and of course the necessary HDMI port.

Valve will be selling the Link on its own for $49, while a package with the controller will be $99, and somewhat surprisingly for a consumer device these days, Valve’s even throwing in HDMI and Ethernet cables. As with the Steam Machines, the Link is available for pre-order through Valve or at GameStop, with a limited number of the devices shipping on October 16th.

Source: Valve

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  • Akrovah - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link

    Well to be fair I don't think a non "M" GPU would fit within the thermal constraints of the Alpha chassis. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    I think it's got 32 ROPs though rather than 16, which means it has more fill rate even than the PS4, and more than double the Xbox One.

    It's not the highest end thing ever, but it's not a joke either, and runs today's games fine. The specs are good for the price.

    Hopefully they'll keep selling the Alpha with Windows too, although I guess they give you somewhat of a discount without it if you want to buy your own copy.
    Reply
  • YazX_ - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    500$ for low end, 1k for mid-range and and 5k for high end?!?!

    i dont see how this gonna be a success with such crappy hardware compared to the price point where you can build a better PC for the price, also taking into consideration XB1 and PS4 prices. and ofcourse no windows OS, that leaves it with less games.
    Reply
  • Margalus - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    That is falcon Northwest.. Look at Syber, it's about $700 for a decent mid range system 1400-1500 for a high end. Reply
  • Morawka - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link

    not in the alpha's form factor. $450 is a steal for a NUC like device with a Discrete GPU Reply
  • barleyguy - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link

    The Zotac ZBOX EN-860 is almost identical specs in the same form factor. It goes for $499. Reply
  • savagemike - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Will you just be able to build your own and use their Steam OS? Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Yes, that was one of the highlighted features of the first SteamOS Reply
  • iniudan - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    Yes, you can actually already do that with the SteamOS beta, off course their install solution isn't the easiest for your average consumer (but you shouldn't be one if your on anandtech), as it's mostly a solution targeted at OEM, who mostly just dd the whole thing unto the disk from a master image file.

    http://store.steampowered.com/steamos/buildyourown
    Reply
  • iniudan - Thursday, June 4, 2015 - link

    I meant easiest to customize, wish there was a edit button. =p Reply

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