What is the Steam Machine?
What is the Steam Machine?
The Steam Machine is a video game console created by Valve Corporation to run their video game platform on a television. The console integrates directly with the Steam Controller and a television to allow you to play PC games on your television, with a standard controller.
Steam also licenses their software out, meaning that you can purchase a Steam Machine from a variety of manufacturers including Valve, Alienware, Zotac Nen, and others.
What Does the Steam Machine Do?
The Steam Machine is a gaming PC designed to operate like a gaming console. The Steam Machine features the SteamOS, a Linux operating system designed by the game developer and developer of the Steam client, Valve. Steam Machines are the PC equivelent of a console, designed to allow you to play Linux games through the Steam client, right on your TV. These consoles work exclusively with Steam games, and are designed as entertainment centers for games, rather than as computers.
What is the Steam Box?
Valve originally announced the Steam Machine as a the Steam Box. However, the name was changed before launch. The Steam Box is no longer used, however, if you do see it, it is an older article referring to a Steam Machine.
Why Would You Want a Steam Machine?
While Steam Machine’s are basically modified gaming computers, they have a number of advantages over a complete gaming rig for non-technical users. First, they allow you to stream games from running Mac and Windows computers (so you will be able to access your other-platform games). Second, they are automatically compatible with the Steam Controller, which means that you can play computer games like console games. Third, they don’t include any of the restrictions that you may find with a PlayStation or Xbox. You will be able to upgrade your Steam Machine, you will be able to work without the limitations of PS DRM, and you will be able to do it on your living room TV with a controller.
In short, Steam Machine is a great way to bridge the convenience of console gaming with the flexibility and customization of PC gaming.
What Games Can You Play on a Steam Machine?
Steam Machine is compatible with most or all Linux games. If you already have the steam console downloaded, you can simply click “Games” and scroll down to “Browse by platform” and choose “Steam OS + Linux”. Steam currently (as of time of writing) maintains a library of over 3,000 Linux games, which they add to frequently.
So, Do I Want a Steam Machine?
Probably not. Steam Machines aren’t actually very good for what you are paying. In fact, in most cases, you’re 100% better off buying your own PC and then installing the free Steam OS onto it yourself. If that’s too complex for you, you can always ask a friend who is a little bit better with technology or even take it in to almost any geek shop.
Why? The Alienware console is $750 and features in Intel Quad Core i7, 2.2 GHz processor, 8GM DDR3L RAM (upgradable to 16GB), and 1TB of HDD ram.
For $550 you can buy a CyberPower Gamer Ultra GUA3400A Gaming Desktop with an AMD FX-6300 Six Core 3.5GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB HDD, 24X DVD optical drive, 2GB graphics dedicated RAM, and AMD R7 250 graphics drive. It comes with Windows 10 Home, but you could easily strip that off and install the SteamOS if you want.
Steam Machines are also more limmited than other computers. With a console designed around gaming, it’s not a full computer (unless you modify it), but still costs the same or more.
Steam Machines offer a lot of flexibility in that you can upgrade your computer, modify it when needed, and play over 3,000 games. However, there are also a lot of disadvantages. If you plan to get a Steam Machine, our advice is to buy or build your own computer, install the OS on that, and then buy the controller to play with that, because you will get a better computer for the same or less money.
If you must buy one, check on Amazon.com, where you can frequently find some like Alienware up to 50% off.