Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Nov 2013 19:19 UTC

Several publications got to play with Valve's upcoming Steam Machine and the awesome new controller, and as The Verge reports, it's essentially nothing but good news.

Valve's steel and aluminum chassis measures just over 12 inches on a side and is 2.9 inches tall, making it a little bigger than an Xbox 360 and smaller than any gaming PC of its ilk. And yet the box manages to fit a giant Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan graphics card and a full desktop CPU - and keep those parts quiet and cool - without cramming them in like a jigsaw puzzle.

That's a tall order, but they've managed it: despite the massive amount of CPU and GPU power crammed into that tiny box, it's quiet and cool. According to Valve, they're still working on this, and the device will get even cooler and quieter as it nears release. Considering Valve is aiming for the living room, this was a major concern.

The big question: how does the controller perform?

The touchpads are surprisingly accurate, and they make first-person shooters and other mouse-friendly games far more accessible than any analog stick can afford. You can sweep your thumb across the pad to turn on your heel, then move it a tiny bit more to line up a headshot without having to compensate for a joystick's return motion. You can push a thumb to the very edge of the pad to keep moving continuously. You can even use both touchpads simultaneously in cursor-driven games to move the mouse cursor faster than with either alone.

This is all in a long line of first-hand reports that all say more or less the same: it takes some getting used to, but it's far more accurate than analog sticks. It seems like Valve's whacky idea phase (the pictures in The Verge's article make clear just how whacky it was) is already paying off. I'm also very excited about how you will be able to download new controller configurations and adjust all the settings in case you're into that sort of thing. Steam Controller users will be able to vote on these, too.

The final question: SteamOS. How does the Linux-based platform perform compared to Windows?

As far as performance is concerned, Valve's Steam Machine with SteamOS certainly seemed up to snuff, at least with these high-end components. The team switched between a Windows and SteamOS box halfway through our demo, and I couldn't tell the difference.

Coming January, at CES, Valve will share more about the partners it has signed up with. Valve has been working with game makers on this Linux project for three years now, and thanks to many underlying engines already supporting Linux anyway, getting games to run on Linux isn't as hard as it seems.

Valve seems to be on the right track. I can't wait to hear just which partners will be supporting SteamOS.

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RE[8]: Categorisation
by jgagnon on Wed 6th Nov 2013 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE[7]: Categorisation"
Member since:

What they are saying is that you can buy a physical CD that includes Steam codes on it, so the game files can be managed through Steam if you want (some even require it to be done that way). There are lots of benefits to adding a game to your steam library, such as...

Steam allows you to buy a game once and use it on either any supported platform (you don't have to buy it for each, one purchase is enough). If they add SteamOS/SteamBox to that mix I'm sure it will be the same way. One purchase will allow access on all supported platforms (one at a time).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[9]: Categorisation
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 6th Nov 2013 00:16 in reply to "RE[8]: Categorisation"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

Yeah, but why buy it at a store if you are just going to use steam?

Its like going to a department store to buy an amazon gift card to buy a shirt. Why wouldn't you just buy the shirt at the store, or just buy the shirt directly from amazon instead of getting the gift card?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[10]: Categorisation
by jgagnon on Wed 6th Nov 2013 00:20 in reply to "RE[9]: Categorisation"
jgagnon Member since:

For those of us used to Steam it is a no-brainer, agreed. For those not used to Steam, it may be their first time using it. Some games require so much data that they only provide the first CD of stuff in the case and force you to download the rest, which is where Steam would come in. There are many reasons for why it happens. Sometimes people don't want to install from the CD and choose to install from Steam instead.

Also, there are sometimes special benefits tied to pre-ordering a physical title from a specific store, or a collectors edition, or other things like that. You can still get those benefits by buying the CD but installing with Steam. Best of both worlds.

Edited 2013-11-06 00:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[10]: Categorisation
by woegjiub on Wed 6th Nov 2013 05:19 in reply to "RE[9]: Categorisation"
woegjiub Member since:

It's for when you're in a store, pick up a box, and go "ooh, that looks cool."

Boxes also come with artwork, manuals, etc., and discs can reduce downloads for users with small caps.

Plus, many people like the look of a shelf full of things they can peruse and touch - look at the outrage MS faced when trying to make physical discs irrelevant.

Reply Parent Score: 3