At CES 2011 an ambitious project was introduced to the world by Valve: the Steam Machines. The first prototype, brought to the Las Vegas’ consumer expo, was the Xi3 Piston and exposed pretty well the philosophy behind the “box”: a modular machine that would replace the console we are actually used to and, instead of the highspec computers, would adapt to everyone’s needs in terms of investment. That sounds great.
The Steam Machines are going to be produced by lots of certified manufacturers (Alienware is among them and has already arrived on the market with its first machine), including Valve. From Valve itself we are awaiting the most innovative Steam Machine, a proper gaming computer with its own controller.
The gamepad is representing a little mystery among the gamers and fans of Valve, mainly because it was initially based on two touchpads – similar to the one we use on laptop or on the DualShock 4 – that was supposed to replace the analogic sticks. This concept immediately created a concern about the comfort in gameplay, so Valve was forced to revise several times during the years its starting ideas: so far, we have arrived to an almost common controller, that lost its uniqueness to encounter the current tastes of the gamers instead of trying to gradually change them with a new standard.
WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Valve will be at GDC 2015 supposedly with lots of news regarding its project, and this is going to be a new milestone for the Steam Machine project. Being in development for four years or more, is not so reassuring. The changes from the first prototype, even though it underlines a great respect for gamers’ feedback, make it clear that there could be some confusion about the “final destination” of this project.
With that said, I don’t know if there is still room for the Steam Machines on the market, as this idea is four years old and the gamers’ tastes are evolving day by day. Furthermore, PS4 and Xbox One are now on the shelves of the stores, so the need for new hardware has substantially lowered.
Tell us in the comment section your expectations for the upcoming GDC.