Sunday, February 2, 2014

Will The New Steam Machine Takeout The New PS4 and Xbox One?

It seems like over the past 15 to 20 years, we have seen the top three contenders in gaming continue to make their rise. Sony's Playstion, Microsoft's Xbox, and the multitude of Nintendo's consoles. As of recently, we have seen Nintendo fall off where as Sony and Microsoft have taken the console wars head on. But then again, we also know how big PC gaming still is, and how ruthless PC gamers can be about their opinions on console vs. PC gaming. PC's are widely looked at as being more powerful than gaming consoles. Whether it be better graphics, better frame rate, better anti-aliasing, the ability to mod, etc., PC gamers are very adamant on their stance.

Console gaming is still very, very much alive, as the recent 4.2 million PS4 units sold has shown us. But now PC wants to move into the console world as well. Valve and Alienware have joined forces to see this dream lived through. Their new Steam Machine looks to make its own push on the console wars.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Steam and it's gigantic community, Steam is ran by the PC gaming company Valve. Steam is both an app and game store that offers a multitude of different games for your gaming pleasure. They even boast games that have been out of the loop for a while on normal console multi-player formats. Games like Team Fortress 2. The only catch is that it is PC only.

With the new Steam Machine, Valve and Alienware are now able to expand their app and game store to the living room where the other console heavy hitters reign supreme. The system itself is basically a smaller version of a normal gaming PC. It runs on the SteamOS that allows for the Steam App to run via standard console methods. Since it is looked at as a console, it is also designed to be hooked up to your TV. So should you have a brand new 4K TV and , essentially, a small gaming PC/console hybrid, you have the ultimate gaming set up.

The controller for the Steam Machine is a bit different then what most console gamers are used to. Instead of  analog sticks and D-pads, you are met with a touch screen and two track pads. The controller is also compatible with almost all versions of Steam and Steam games. The touchscreen in the center of the controller is not to be confused with the touch pad idea that is on the current PS4 controllers. Instead, it is designed to keep players on track in terms of their game. While the touchscreen is in use, it will appear on your game as a visual overlay so you can see exactly where your finger is placed. The 16 total buttons might be a bit more than one most gamers may be used to as well.

The fact that the SteamOS was designed with streaming purposes in mind shows just what this new gaming machine could do. The OS is Linux based, and allows for Mac and Windows games to be streamed directly onto the machine, and then from the machine to your TV. All of your first person shooters, action adventures, online multi-player, and even MMO's will now be available from your living room instead of your bedroom desk. Should the application of this prove to be both easy and beneficial, Sony and Microsoft may have a whole new monster to worry about.

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