It goes without saying that consoles have a long way to go before they can compete with dedicated gaming PCs. Even Sony and Microsoft's latest are unable to offer the graphical fidelity, steady framerate and other benefits of custom-built computers. With that said, Valve may have found a middle ground that can give fans the high-end experience they've been waiting for on a cheaper platform. Over a dozen of these revolutionary 'Steam Machines' were shown off last night at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Each of the machines shown will sport the new Steam operating system and come with a special Steam controller, which uses tracking pads instead of traditional analogue sticks, and is the only hardware actually being developed by Valve. Confirmed manufacturers of Steam Machines include Alienware, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest and Gigabyte.
Many of the prices and specs have yet to be decided, but we are currently seeing prices range from $499, the same as a new Xbox One, to $2500. We've also heard that prices may reach much higher than that. The specs themselves also vary quite a bit, with several offering up to 16gb of RAM and solid state hard drives. While some of these options are still quite expensive, others may be cheap enough to sway those who have yet to decide on whether they should purchase a new console.
As for how these machines will affect the market, it may still be too early to tell. One thing's for sure, these affordable new machines could prove to be game changers later this year.