The first Steam Machines are finally on their way. Alienware and Cyberpower announced machines that will be available in October.
Alienware’s machine comes in at $449. Cyberpower’s is a bit more expensive at $499.
Here are the specs for Alienware’s $449 machine:
Intel Core i3 – 4130T DC
nVidia GeForce GTX GPU w/2GB GDDR5
500GB 7200RPM HDD
1×1 802.11 Wireless Card
It’s a decent entry PC for those of you who don’t feel like custom building one. There are several more configurations with better CPUs and more hard-drive space.
The other big news yesterday was a release date for the Steam Controller. Those who pre-order can get it early on October 16.
Valve also gave us a much better look at the Steam Controller in a new trailer.
This is how Valve should have first announced the controller. I’m not going to lie; I’m pumped to play some more Cities: Skylines with that controller. It looks great.
Looking great and playing great are entirely different. Valve has a lot riding on their controller. I believe the controller is the most important part of persuading console-centric players to jump on PC.
Can Valve convince console players to jump to PC?
PC gaming is as popular as ever, but Valve wants even more folks on Steam.
Let’s look at some of the biggest obstacles for jumping into PC gaming?
First? Price. Avid PC gamers know price shouldn’t be that big of an obstacle. You can find plenty of custom build guides that don’t break the bank. But, the average console gamer is still hesitant. Enter Steam Machines. It’s a simple, easy-to-use PC for a reasonable price.
Hell, PC gaming is cheaper in the long-run anyways. You don’t have to pay for multiplayer (outside of MMOs), PC stores (Steam, GOG, GMG, etc.) sales are awesome, and there are a lot more games.
Second? Playing with a keyboard and mouse. This probably isn’t a big deal for most, but some of my friends aren’t too fond of the keyboard and mouse combo. “Can I play H1Z1 with a controller?” was one of the first questions I heard when several of my friends jumped on PC. The Steam controller fixes that by making every PC game work with a controller.
But, the execution has to be flawless. The trailer makes it look great, but we’ll see in October exactly how great it is. If I were a betting man, I would put money on it being awesome. Valve knows how important this entry into hardware is. They are not going to half-ass it.
Steam Machine’s impact won’t be immediate
The Xbox One and especially PS4 are popular. Console gamers are not just going to leave their friends behind. Word of mouth will be especially important for the Steam Machine’s long-term success.
Plus, console players love their exclusives. You can’t play Uncharted on a PC. Then again, Valve isn’t targeting die-hard console players. You’re not going to convince a die-hard Xbox One or PS4 owner to give up Halo or Uncharted. It’s not happening. But, there are plenty of people who look at PC games and want to play them. They just think the barrier of entry is too high.
Valve and PC manufacturers are addressing this with Steam Machines and the Steam Controller. I know of at least one console-only friend who is already planning on grabbing a Steam Machine. And, I bet there are a lot more.