When the rumors started to appear that Valve was working on its own form factor computer, which would be aimed at the console market, I was quite shocked but excited to see what was announced, when the Steam Machines announcement launched the biggest plus point I took from it was the clear mention of non-Valve Steam Machines. This week the first of these was announced.
iBuyPower a longstanding member of the computer sales industry, and avid gaming PC supporter, announced this week their own take on the Steam Machine, although currently only a prototype the official 'console' will be shown at CES 2014.
What is striking about the console, and something other outlets have picked up on is just how powerful the console is for such a great price, although there are rumors are two models, one model is rumored to be the following a" multi-core AMD CPU, AMD R9 270 GPU and a Valve Controller included for $499". This seems to be a very impressive spec for the price, and this is quite likely due to Valve's number one selling point (in my opinion) that of SteamOS. Valve has in recent years been pushing Linux support, it announced a beta for Steam on Linux and quickly had Nvidia, AMD and Intel creating significantly improved drivers then had existed before, showing the sway Valve and Steam hold in the industry.
Why is SteamOS the main selling point? It is free, based on Ubuntu, the OS should be entirely free to any manufacturers of SteamOS based box's, this will save a significant amount of money compared to a traditional gaming PC due to the Windows license, and more importantly helps avoid the terrible sales in the current PC market due to hate for Windows 8.
I can personally say I am extremely pleased to see the first announced partner for Steam Machines and SteamOS as it spells good times for Valve, Steam, Linux Gaming and as a follow on then stands to benefit other distros as the driver support and games are slowly migrated over (which is awesome for the previously ignored Linux gaming market).
CES 2014 looks like it will be a very important year for the PC gaming market and Valve with hopefully many more announcements to come.