Steam Machine – Am I Still Excited?

So a number of Steam Machines were showcased at CES recently, and I’m feeling a bit like it’s not what I was expecting, but quite a bit like what I should have been expecting. It’s far more open source, it seems, open to development. Many companies are making Steam Boxes – their similarity is they will all be running the Steam OS and be available as gaming machines that can play your Steam Games.

I’ve talked about my interested in the Steam Machines before, and I was definitely thinking of it more as a replacement and upgrade for our gaming consoles – you know, sitting in the living room, attached to a TV, using a controller, and playing your games. And I would expect and hope I could put a game in (well, buy it online) and just play it, not running into problems of compatibility, graphics cards, etc. I was also hoping for a price point that would be similar to the other new consoles, the X-Box One and PS4.

However, what this really seems like is a gaming rig, basically a PC, just one running the Steam OS, and which is designed for gaming and the use of a controller. In my mind, it makes me think of an AlienWare computer – which happens to of course be a company making Steam Boxes. Compatibility might not be an issue, but that’s more because these look like super souped-up PCs is all. So let’s look at a review of these boxes, and then join me in thinking about the Steam Box with a poll!

Steam Machines at CES

So the folks from SourceFed Nerd were able to go to CES and check out the Steam Boxes there – though they posted it on their main SourceFed page – and did a tech and price review of the offerings.

So, my first reaction is really just, WHAT? That’s some expensive options. My thoughts of a $500-ish console are out the window. Yes, there are offerings in this price range, but given that price is so far below the other prices, can it compare?

Will you be able to play all Steam games equally on these various machines? I wouldn’t think so. And see, that’s one of the things I have always liked about consoles, the ability to put in a game and have it work. To run basically the same graphics, and not have to tweak them to find the sweet spot for my system.

Because I’m not likely to buy one of the ridiculously expensive rigs, so I’ll never be the one playing at those higher levels. I don’t do enough online or versus sorts of gaming where that level of difference might matter, though I certainly have before and could tell the difference.

I guess the other question is, couldn’t I just buy a decent PC at this point and be cheaper? Or one of the new consoles? Maybe. What do you think? Are you excited for these sorts of Steam Boxes? Vote in the poll!

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