LAS VEGAS: GAMES CONSOLE UPSTART Valve has recruited 13 third party partners to build Steambox devices, predicting that the lounge-friendly gaming machines will break Microsoft's and Sony's control of the market.
Valve co-founder Gabe Newell announced that the company has inked Steambox deals with Alienware, Alternate, Cyberpowerpc, Digital Storm, Gigabyte, iBuyerpower, Falcon Northwest, Materiel.net, Next Spa, Origin PC, Scan, Webhallen and Zotac.
Newell said that the move is the beginning of a wider offensive to take down proprietary gaming systems like the Xbox One and PS4.
"The PC is successful because we're all benefiting from the technology being built and the competition between vendors [...] A couple of years ago we got get pretty worried this openness was going to be challenged, as a few proprietary systems in the living room started to do pretty well," he said.
"Last year we said we're going to build these machines, and now we're going to announce a load more hardware manufacturers are going to be building these machines.With them customers can get the experience and hardware they want, while software developers can be guaranteed a platform to push their products."
Steamboxes are custom PC and games console hybrid devices that let users link, buy and play games bought on the Steam store on regular TVs using a custom built Valve controller. The top-end Alienware Steambox specifications remain unknown and a spokesman declined The INQUIRER's request for further detail.
This means that the Falcon Northwest Tiki is presently the most expensive Steambox, with prices ranging from $1,799 to $6,000. The Tiki is listed as having a customisable processor, Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan graphics, 8GB or 16GB of RAM and internal storage up to 6TB.
Below it is iBuypower and it is the cheapest Steambox available, listed as costing a more reasonable $499. For their money punters will get a quad-core AMD or Intel processor, Radeon GCN graphics, 8GB of RAM and 500GB of internal storage.
There is no word on when the Steamboxes will be released other than that the first few will appear at some point in the second half of 2014. µ