Behold, the SteamBoy: the handheld SteamOS gaming device, coming in 2015

Most of us enjoy a casual game or two on our smartphones from time to time, but as handsets become ever more powerful, players are enjoying increasingly exciting and more advanced games on the move. But one manufacturer is hoping that the growth of smartphone gaming doesn't necessarily spell the end of the dedicated handheld console, as it prepares to launch a new device on Valve's Steam Machines platform.

Running the Linux-based SteamOS, the first devices to be launched by Valve's hardware partners have been pushed back to 2015. While most of these machines are intended either as living room consoles or alternatives to 'traditional' mouse-and-keyboard gaming rigs, efforts are under way to launch a handheld gaming device with SteamOS next year. 

Behold, the SteamBoy. 

"SteamBoy is the first device that allows you to play Steam games on the go," says the company behind it, which is - a little confusingly - named SteamBoy Machine. "You will keep playing your favorite games at the bus stop, the office, the school or the doctor's waiting room." 

The device was officially unveiled with a teaser video at the recent E3 2014 gaming expo, and the team behind it told The Escapist that the SteamBoy will include a quad-core CPU, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, along with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Its design clearly shares some commonality with the official (and redesigned) Steam Controller revealed earlier this year, with similar controls incorporated on the SteamBoy on both sides of its 5-inch touchscreen. 

A spokesperson for the company added: "SteamBoy won't be as powerful as other announced Steam Machines, in the same way [that the] Nintendo DS or PS Vita performance is not comparable to a Wii U or PlayStation 4. However, it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam."

The renders seen here and in the teaser video are the closest you'll get to the actual device for now. In the meantime, check out the video and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the SteamBoy below!

Source: The Escapist / SteamBoy Machine

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most of these machines are intended either as living room consoles or alternatives to 'traditional' mouse-and-keyboard gaming rigs

I am a PC gamer. If I wanted these things I would already own Xbox's and Vita's. Why do I want this? Why is Steam moving away from PC gaming?

Ashrak007 said,

I am a PC gamer. If I wanted these things I would already own Xbox's and Vita's. Why do I want this? Why is Steam moving away from PC gaming?

You can still install Steam on your PC. What is the problem with it being avalaible on more devices ?

I still don't think I would like those touch controls at all. Along with having no tactile response at all my thumbs get sore just from looking at them. Put some real controls on it though and we'll talk.

An APU in this device alone will be good enough to handle all the game at 720p and stream it at higher resolution from PC that need more powerful hardware.

AFAIK,
Crysis 1 : DirectX 9 / 10 (x86)
Crysis 2: DirectX 9 / 10? / 11 (x86)
Crysis 3: DirectX 11 (x86)

So, no. This joke cannot run Crysis. I would recommend a Surface 2 for Crysis at least.

Hardware aside, if it's running SteamOS, no it can't. Windows only. Well, excluding streaming if this supports it of course, but still requires a Windows PC.

this could work well with Steams home streaming of games from a much more powerful desktop PC, would save loggin a laptop down into the garden to sit out in the Sun :D

Cnónna said,
this could work well with Steams home streaming of games from a much more powerful desktop PC

That's what I'm guessing too, when they say "it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam", SteamOS can't run over 90% of the titles, so it would have to be. If it's reasonably priced I'd be curious about it.. if it's priced like a regular PC they can keep it.

Now that Beema and Mullins are coming its highly doubtful that they will go with anything else.

Maybe that's exactly the reason these were pushed back? ;)

Those two straight out murder anything Intel has in that price class. If they will go with Intel HD-series for these we might see another lawsuit coming.

Anyway, we can hope. AMD really needs the cashflow.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,

Those two straight out murder anything Intel has in that price class. If they will go with Intel HD-series for these we might see another lawsuit coming.

I don't actually know what Core M or the other will cost. I do think it's plausible, but it just seems unlikely given the lacking amount of design wins AMD has had in smaller devices.

TheExperiment said,

I don't actually know what Core M or the other will cost. I do think it's plausible, but it just seems unlikely given the lacking amount of design wins AMD has had in smaller devices.

When we take into account that Intel products ALWAYS cost more than we can be sure Beema/Mullins will cost less.

Also I hope Steam isn't stupid enough to actually put ARM into it...

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Also I hope Steam isn't stupid enough to actually put ARM into it...

It said it could play the majority of Steam games, so I'm guessing not so much.

Surely, AMD hasnt had much sucess in smaller devices but since this still is an console and AMD actually owning this-gen consoles, maybe they took note ;)

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Surely, AMD hasnt had much sucess in smaller devices but since this still is an console and AMD actually owning this-gen consoles, maybe they took note ;)

There's also SteamOS to consider, if they're using that. I keep hearing AMDs Linux drivers aren't so great, but honestly I don't know/care.

Depending on the price and the ability to use it as a controller + screen when gaming on your main PC, this could be a very nice device to have. Without that function, I can see this sitting uncharged in a draw somewhere until you have a long journey somewhere since a smartphone can cover the daily commute.

This is what I love about SteamOS - it's completely flexible. If a manufacturer wants to make a console, they can; if they want to make a handheld they can; if they want to make a tablet, they can; if a manufacturer wants to incorporate it into a TV, they can.

If it's priced right I could see a device like this complementing Steam Machines and PC gaming very well. There are lots of games on Steam that would be better suited to a device like this than a traditional PC.

heatlesssun said,
There's really nothing unique about putting an OS on different form factors. It's been done with Windows forever.

Then why don't we have any gaming handheld to date that actually make it a reality except valve pushing it one step closer by unifying all the games you own and make sure it's playable across wide range of device with SteamOS. Meanwhile, windows isn't taking note of that concept.

Master of Earth said,
Meanwhile, windows isn't taking note of that concept.

Meanwhile, Windows isn't a device but an OS, which not only happens to play a lot more games than SteamOS but can run on multiple form factors too. Windows based tablets have been around for over a decade now, and that's ignoring existing ideas like the Razer Edge Pro (which coincidentally can also run Steam), etc. It's been done, tech is just advancing so it gets even smaller.

Max Norris said,

Meanwhile, Windows isn't a device but an OS, which not only happens to play a lot more games than SteamOS but can run on multiple form factors too. Windows based tablets have been around for over a decade now, and that's ignoring existing ideas like the Razer Edge Pro (which coincidentally can also run Steam), etc. It's been done, tech is just advancing so it gets even smaller.

I mean windows isn't taking of note that concept by tailor it for dedicate gaming handheld like what they done with X1 as a console. Razer gaming tablet is not a mind blowing form factor and isn't highly recommended to be honest despite reviewer endorsement that barely made any sense.

Master of Earth said,
I mean windows isn't taking of note that concept by tailor it for dedicate gaming handheld like what they done with X1 as a console.

Tailor it how? Takes all of 2 seconds to make Steam the Windows shell instead of Explorer, create a limited user account for it that automatically logs in, presto, "SteamOS" that actually runs all the titles in the catalog versus a small percentage. It's not like Windows is lacking gamepad support or anything...

dead.cell said,
Windows costs money...

... on devices 9 inches or larger. Besides, even if it wasn't, considering this is a gaming device, wouldn't you want to have access to all the titles? Or just a small handful? A no brainer.

A no brainer sure, but they really should've pushed that limit up a bit. 8.9" screen isn't exactly ideal. I guess they don't want direct competition to the Surface Pro line though, which makes sense.

Max Norris said,

Tailor it how? Takes all of 2 seconds to make Steam the Windows shell instead of Explorer, create a limited user account for it that automatically logs in, presto, "SteamOS" that actually runs all the titles in the catalog versus a small percentage. It's not like Windows is lacking gamepad support or anything...

How? It will have multiple layer of overhead if they put a intact version of windows into the handheld device and don't expect it to run like a breeze as the x1 have specifically tailor for gaming.

dead.cell said,
A no brainer sure, but they really should've pushed that limit up a bit. 8.9" screen isn't exactly ideal.

Sure, but but since this article is talking about a handheld "GameBoy like" device, plus only 5 inches at that and not a "tablet with handlebars", it's a perfect match, plus free at that.

Master of Earth said,
How? It will have multiple layer of overhead if they put a intact version of windows into the handheld device and don't expect it to run like a breeze as the x1 have specifically tailor for gaming.

You mean just like how the X1 is doing multiple things in the background too, never mind you are allowed to disable things that wouldn't be appropriate to a gaming setup in the first place? A quad core CPU with 4GB isn't exactly going to be running a heavy CPU load when idle... even on Windows.

Max Norris said,

Sure, but but since this article is talking about a handheld "GameBoy like" device, plus only 5 inches at that and not a "tablet with handlebars", it's a perfect match, plus free at that.

Fair enough. My head's still a bit cloudy from Saturday night... :laugh:

theyarecomingforyou said,
This is what I love about SteamOS - it's completely flexible. If a manufacturer wants to make a console, they can; if they want to make a handheld they can; if they want to make a tablet, they can; if a manufacturer wants to incorporate it into a TV, they can.

If someone wants to bring out a poor quality device that harms the SteamOS brand, they can.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Not with a focus on gaming.

There have been several Windows based UMPC's that were gamepad-like in design. Obviously the tech has improved to the point where it's actually small enough to be considered comfortable and (theoretically) cheap enough to focus purely on gaming. Form factor itself though, nah not even remotely new.