Valve's prototype Steam Machine revealed; more announcements at CES 2014

Valve announced their plans to help launch a line of gaming-themed Steam Machines, made for the living room and using Valve's SteamOS, in September. Today, the first images of Valve's own prototype for a Steam Machine have been released as well as some new information on the game console-like hardware and software.

According to Engadget, the prototype Steam Machines, which will be sent to 300 beta testers later this year, have an Intel Core i7 CPU and a NVIDIA GTX 780 GPU inside. There's no word on the amount of RAM or storage space and the prototype also does not have an optical drive. However, it does run on SteamOS, which Valve says is a version of Linux that has been developed exclusively by the developer and not based on another Linux OS such as Ubuntu.

The article makes it clear that the Steam Machine prototype is not to be a replacement for a typical gaming PC. Aside from a web browser, SteamOS does not have anything like a typical Windows OS has such as a file browsing system. In other words, it's a closed system in terms of its OS, more like an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 than a Windows 8 PC.

Valve says that more information on their Steam Machine launch plans will be announced at CES 2014 in January, including which third party companies will be making the hardware boxes and their configurations, that will vary between a low end product designed mostly for streaming content from a PC to a TV to a high end hardware box.

Source: Engadget | Image via Engadget

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Hello,

Still waiting, now that SteamOS is made from the ground up, for the Half-Life 3 exclusive announcement.

riahc3 said,
Hello,

Still waiting, now that SteamOS is made from the ground up, for the Half-Life 3 exclusive announcement.

You mean a Left 4 Dead 3 announcement!

Just standard PC parts I know what most of it is right of the bat.
ASRock Z87E-ITX
Zotac Geforce GTX Titan
Seagate Harddrive 2.5"
Zalman CNPS2X
Case is a custom one
Power supply is most like lee a 500/600watt

Edited by SHS, Nov 5 2013, 1:08am :

Lord Method Man said,
Woah a PC in a modified form factor. My mind is blown.

Well, so is the XBOX One, right? After all it is based on the x64 architecture. I reckon what the selling point here is the platform as a whole.

pmdci said,

Well, so is the XBOX One, right? After all it is based on the x64 architecture. I reckon what the selling point here is the platform as a whole.

The Xbox one architecture is nothing like any PC you can buy or even custom make. The CPU is x86 based.

pmdci said,

Well, so is the XBOX One, right? After all it is based on the x64 architecture. I reckon what the selling point here is the platform as a whole.

No, Xbox One and other consoles have custom hardware, PCB, ICs, SoCs, etc. This is just a bunch of off-the-shelf PC components put in a custom enclosure.

I don't see the point of a steam console.
I have a solid desktop running windows that can run pretty much any game and I've got a console for other needs.
What's the point of this??

Especially when you are limited to the games that support Linux anyway, unless you have another equally as beefy computer running Windows. Its totally pointless.

This is what I don't understand. So this only plays Steam games that support Linux, that's not a lot.

Does it also stream games from my windows PC? So I'll need a decent Windows machine still to play the rest of my library?

Why not save the money and just hook up the Windows PC directly to my entertainment center and use an Xbox controller?

I have to agree it seems pointless but Valve is very concerned that Steam will be made obsolete by Windows 8. It links all your games to your Microsoft account the same as Steam links to your Steam account. Potentially they could also dual license to PC and Xbox.

thedaini said,
This is what I don't understand. So this only plays Steam games that support Linux, that's not a lot.

Does it also stream games from my windows PC? So I'll need a decent Windows machine still to play the rest of my library?

Why not save the money and just hook up the Windows PC directly to my entertainment center and use an Xbox controller?

That selection is growing so it is only a matter of time.

This says nothing to me. I'll wait for the final product with a price tag and some benchmarks to judge.

Shadowzz said,
Now we'll find out how well optimized Linux can be.

You can right now, I've tested Steam on Ubuntu and it works quite well.

deadonthefloor said,

I'm fairly certain that's a proprietary MS technology.

It is, but WINE does a reasonable job of providing open-source drop-in alternatives, meaning that some DirectX games can be played on Linux, certainly most older games can. Unfortunately the WINE community has little of the resources that a giant like Microsoft has, so they're not able to keep up with the current version (D3D 9.0 is mostly implemented, but D3D10 is a way off yet). Still, it's a noble effort.

The problem with WINE is the game and graphics card people don't test or support it. It seems like most of the updates I get for my graphics card are specific to some game. I don't know if NVidia does those or the game developers push code to them.

Shadowzz said,
Now we'll find out how well optimized Linux can be.

This is already known. When Valve themselves said their games run better on OpenGL than DirectX.

SharpGreen said,

This is already known. When Valve themselves said their games run better on OpenGL than DirectX.

That was OpenGL4 vs DirectX 9.

Way to Valve/Linux!! You've outperformed a 10 year old technology, kudos!

i know its only a prototype but if its anything like the final design im sure a few "xbone look like a vhs" guy gonna bite their tongues off

Hmm, so Valve is claiming that the OS is not based on an existing distro and that its pretty much closed like a console OS?

That was a point that I was wondering about since they first announced this.

Right now, it seems to be a locked down OS that is built to focus on Steam functions only, including a web browser.

trooper11 said,
Hmm, so Valve is claiming that the OS is not based on an existing distro and that its pretty much closed like a console OS?

That was a point that I was wondering about since they first announced this.

Right now, it seems to be a locked down OS that is built to focus on Steam functions only, including a web browser.

Sounds like editorialising by Engadget to me. The OS itself cannot be closed due to the nature of the GPL license, the Steam component certainly can - but beyond that it's guaranteed to be an open platform.

Cyborg_X said,
All while crying about Win8 and the Windows store.

Which makes even more sense as Steam is now a direct competitor of Windows 8. It now offers similar features with similar restrictions.

Athernar said,

Sounds like editorialising by Engadget to me. The OS itself cannot be closed due to the nature of the GPL license, the Steam component certainly can - but beyond that it's guaranteed to be an open platform.

if the platform is open, then hello hacks? it has to be closed. ever heard of hardened linux distros? this console has to be a closed system to a point. it can be 'open' in the sense that maybe you can make apps for it, but it should be as closed as possible.

xbbdc said,

if the platform is open, then hello hacks? it has to be closed. ever heard of hardened linux distros? this console has to be a closed system to a point. it can be 'open' in the sense that maybe you can make apps for it, but it should be as closed as possible.

A "hardened Linux" distro is still open source. You cannot bypass the GPL.

Athernar said,

Sounds like editorialising by Engadget to me. The OS itself cannot be closed due to the nature of the GPL license, the Steam component certainly can - but beyond that it's guaranteed to be an open platform.

I guess it depends on what you consider the OS. Any kernel modifications must be released but everything else can be locked down.

Spicoli said,

I guess it depends on what you consider the OS. Any kernel modifications must be released but everything else can be locked down.

Not if those components are GPLed too you can't. And I highly doubt Valve has entirely reinvented the wheel beyond the kernel.

Saying that the OS is closed does not have to mean its not open source in design.

I think the closed part stems from how the UI is presented. It sounds like its not presented as a standard desktop, but rather a console UI that is 'locked down' to just Steam functions. The user lives in something like Steam Big Picture mode with access to whatever apps are on Steam such as a web browser.

So while behind the scenes, its an open source build, the end user is presented with a locked down presentation. I don't think that's in violation of any rules or anything.

Athernar said,

Not if those components are GPLed too you can't. And I highly doubt Valve has entirely reinvented the wheel beyond the kernel.

I suspect they probably will develop a complete UI on their own. Something like the Kindle Fire.

Athernar said,

Not if those components are GPLed too you can't. And I highly doubt Valve has entirely reinvented the wheel beyond the kernel.


I think you're misunderstanding the GPL. Including GPL components in a product doesn't compel that product to openness.

Heck, a bunch of car computers and TVs run Linux--my Roku runs Linux. And we all know how 'open' and transparent those platforms are.

Joshie said,

I think you're misunderstanding the GPL. Including GPL components in a product doesn't compel that product to openness.

Heck, a bunch of car computers and TVs run Linux--my Roku runs Linux. And we all know how 'open' and transparent those platforms are.

No, I think I understand the GPL quite fine. If you modify code and publically distribute compiled binaries then you must also provide the Source.

Joshie said,

I think you're misunderstanding the GPL. Including GPL components in a product doesn't compel that product to openness.

It depends on what you mean by include. If you link to an object made from GPL code, then your code becomes GPL. That's why it's called a viral license, and it's a big pain for the industry. Companies have staff dedicated to scanning and removing anything GPL from their source. Just including a stand-alone binary built from GPL code isn't an issue.

Athernar said,

No, I think I understand the GPL quite fine. If you modify code and publically distribute compiled binaries then you must also provide the Source.


Only have to provide the code for the GPL'ed components. Everything NOT GPL'ed you're under no obligation to release code. Also just because a system uses the Linux kernel doesn't make it a requirement that ALL code that runs on top of said kernel be released. Android is a perfect example. Google does NOT have to release its code (beyond the kernel mods), but they do anyway...because they want to.

SharpGreen said,

Only have to provide the code for the GPL'ed components. Everything NOT GPL'ed you're under no obligation to release code. Also just because a system uses the Linux kernel doesn't make it a requirement that ALL code that runs on top of said kernel be released. Android is a perfect example. Google does NOT have to release its code (beyond the kernel mods), but they do anyway...because they want to.

Yes, but we're talking about a customised GNU/Linux distro (Rumored to be derived from Ubuntu) here, not purely the Linux kernel.

Valve does not have the developer resources (And likely nor the desire) to build an entire userspace.

you do realize that back in September Vavle made 3 announcements in a week or so 1 being the steam controller 2 being steam OS then 3 being Steam machines

notuptome2004 said,
you do realize that back in September Vavle made 3 announcements in a week or so 1 being the steam controller 2 being steam OS then 3 being Steam machines

So? Steam is still made out of water.