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Previously called the SteamBoy, it has recently been announced that the portable Steam Machine now called the Smach Zero will be available to buy from the last quarter of 2016 and pre-orders will be available from November this year.

Gamespot announced that the new portable device for all of your PC games purchased through Steam would be available for pre-order from November 10th and that there would be a special pre-order price of $299. Valve didn’t disclose the final price of the system but simply that the normal price will be slightly higher than the pre-order price.

There have been a few worries about the capabilities of the hardware as premium AAA titles make their home on Steam despite how impressive the specs are in comparison to other portables. GameSpot stated that the Smach Zero boasts 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB internal storage, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi and optional 4G. It has HDMI out making playing on TV easier, and in addition to a 5″ 720p HD touchscreen.

The controls are based on the new Steam Controller and feature two configurable Steam Controller circle pads, eight face buttons and bumpers. The main brain is an AMD embedded G-Series SoC Steppe Eagle with Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics.

There is no word on the capabilities of the battery yet and how long it will last, but it is likely to not last as long as the 3DS with its impressive 10 hours battery life, but might be more comparable to the PS Vita’s 5 hours due to better graphical capabilities.

The website for the Smach Zero is currently pretty barren but more updates can be found there.


Quick Take

I’m really excited to be able to take my PC games on the go and always felt it was something the games industry was missing. I won’t be pre-ordering though. I want to see what consumers think of the system first before making an investment.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • If the Nvidia Shield Portable couldn’t sell at $299, what makes them think that they can sell there Steam Boy for €299? I think I’ll stick with my 3DS and Vita for now.

  • Hawk Hopper

  • Dave

    interested to see how this works. I would love a porta-pc .

  • Phredreeke

    Because the nVidia Shield, being ARM based, would only run Android games (unless you were to stream from a PC but then you lose the portability aspect) This is x86 based and would run games from your Steam library (only games with Linux support most likely)

  • Until I see the list of games I can’t exactly be impressed, besides even if it has a few standouts, how many people will pay that much for a portable experience? Somehow I see a niche that this device will fulfill, but I don’t see it come anywhere close to the 3DS numbers, let alone the Vita numbers.

  • They definitely deserve credit for trying something different.

  • Phredreeke

    The point is that this isn’t a platform that has to be explicitly targeted by the developer. If the game runs on Linux, is playable with controller or a touch screen, and isn’t that demanding in terms of system requirements (that’s the big one), then you can play it on the Smach Zero.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    Best of luck to them, but I think this is destined for failure. It’s as if no one besides Nintendo understands the dedicated handheld market. This handheld has two problems:

    1) Price – $299 is just way too high for a handheld. History has shown again and again and again that the vast majority of people are not willing to pay that much for a handheld, regardless of the quality of the hardware. There is a line in the sand for handhelds (it’s around $200), if you cross that line your handheld will fail, period.

    2) Bringing home console/PC games to handhelds – Sony tried that with the PSP, then again with the Vita, how did that work out for them? The idea of playing home console type games on the go sounds appealing at first, but people play games on handhelds differently than at home and you need different types of games to cater to that play style. Handheld games should be designed to be played in 15 to 20 minute bursts, not games you play for an hour and a half or 2 hours at a time. The one saving grace is that the Steam library is large enough that there are probably a good few games in there (mostly indie games, I suspect) that are designed to be played like that.

  • braneman

    The biggest problem this is going to run into is storage space, either you’re gonna have to buy a massive microsd card, only install older games from GOG, or just keep one or two modernish games on the system ever.

  • But how many people are going to pay €299 for a system like that? At the end of the day what’s going to matter most for this piece of hardware, is how many standaout titles will come out, that will convince people to pay the 300 smackaroos for this handheld.

  • Phredreeke

    The selling point isn’t exclusives, the selling point is having your Steam library in a handheld. For someone with a large Steam library it is hell of a lot better value than a Vita, even though the latter is cheaper.

  • Phredreeke

    I don’t think modern AAA titles are suited to the hardware anyway.

  • If that’s it’s only appeal, than this device will have a very niche following.

  • Agreed! At least Nintendo and Playstation have some idea of how this works. However the Steam Boy will probably do just as good if not slightly better than Shield Portable did.

  • moose

    “Handheld games should be designed to be played in 15 to 20 minute bursts, not games you play for an hour and a half or 2 hours at a time.”
    I have to disagree with you there. The reason why I liked the PSP so much was because it was full length games with the ability to turn it off and go back to it later exactly where you left off. they didn’t have to be short because it didn’t reset when you turned it off. they were pretty much full games with downgraded graphics and every now and again a feature removed. I didn’t get the vita because the games don’t really feel like proper games, just stuff you can pay £5 for on the android/apple store, making it pointless to spend the money on a vita when I have a smartphone. If the vita had games like killzone shadowfall or project cars which apart from downgraded graphics were like their original PS4 appearances then I would buy it in a heartbeat.

  • Phredreeke

    it’s something no handheld has offered before =P

  • Niwjere

    The PSP’s sleep function was a stroke of genius. It should be a requirement on all future handheld gaming devices.

  • RD20

    Actually the Vita has a lot of full games personally I only own two vita games in addition to BL2 that came with it. I have the SAO game and FFX remake that is all I need those two alone are easily 200 hours plus of content. It also has the same type of sleep feature I actually really like the vita. If I get through those two I will probably pick up persona 4 golden.