The Steam Machine: the love child of PCs and consoles. Will this finally bring an end to the online war that has raged on for decades?
The Steam Machine (AKA Steam box) is Valve’s attempt to create a console like PC that is able to utilize high end PC hardware, to provide a small form factor machine that delivers a console-like experience. The release of the Steam Machine has been a little rough to say the least. Purchasing one is quite difficult with all the options that are available and comparing specs isn’t exactly easy when some sellers don’t show the exact components of their machine (I’m looking at you Alienware). With that said, there are some good value machines out there like the Steam Machine P by Syber.
The hardware is still quite expensive and the support for Linux, while good, is not amazing.
Alongside all Steam Machines comes Steam OS, the Linux-based operating system that allows the user to access their games. Though very functional and polished, it does not allow installation of addition programs like a normal PC. It is possible to install Windows, but doing so kind of defeats the whole idea of the product. So what about the games? Well since it’s based on PC hardware and software, there are no console exclusives that would normally come with a new console. However, there are myriad of games available on Steam. Although not all games are compatible with Linux (Fallout 4 for example), there are certainly enough to keep any gamer busy.
So has Valve finally created the perfect in-between for consoles and PCs? I don’t think so. The Steam Machine still needs a lot of work, the hardware is still quite expensive and the support for Linux, while good, is not amazing. Maybe Valve or some other company will try again with a different approach in the future, but for now I believe it’s best to just to stick to your PC or console.