Valve's official Steam Machine prototype isn't cheap, but it won't be the only Steam-powered video-game console available come 2014. This morning, iBuyPower revealed a prototype of its own upcoming Steam Machine, which will go on sale for just $499 next year. For the price of an Xbox One, the computer will offer a multicore AMD CPU and a discrete AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card - that's a $180 GPU all by itself - and come with Valve's Steam Controller as part of the package deal.
That's an absolute steal. This is exactly what Valve is betting on: for the same price, an x86 SteamBox will be more powerful than the new consoles. with SteamOS, it has all the convenience of a console, too. With the launch titles for the two new consoles being total and utter garbage, the argument "but SteamOS has no games!" is moot.
I can't wait until CES coming January when Valve will unveil its publishing partners. That's the make-or-break moment. If SteamOS will get all the same major titles as the consoles, why on earth would anyone want a limited, locked-down, proprietary, slower console?