The more we learn about the Steam Machine, the more nebulous a concept it becomes. Not restricted to the 300 prototypes sent direct from Valve to beta testers before Christmas - nor the Xi3 Piston, which for a short while we wondered might be the Steam Box - it’s instead a set of vague specifications; an OS and a controller; an ideology.
No fewer than 12 hardware companies have managed to join the dots of that triangle so far, according to Engadget. Here are their names.
We already know iBuyPower’s machine - which matches the Xbox One for price and betters it for size - and Digital Storm’s more conventionally-shaped $1,500 monster. But beyond those two, Valve have also partnered with Falcon Northwest, CyberPowerPC, Origin PC, Gigabyte, Materiel.net, Webhallen, Alternate, Next, Zotac, Scan Computers and - to everyone's audible lack of surprise - Alienware.
Computer manufacturers are terrible at names, aren't they?
These dozen are the early adopters, all due to show their wares at this week’s CES 2014 - a veritable Steam Machine news blowout, by Valve’s own suggestion. But other third parties might yet make an appearance during Valve’s press conference tomorrow afternoon, US time.
It’s exciting to speculate the many different shapes and sizes these Steam Machines might come in. Want a Steam-capable PC for your lounge that doubles as a coffee table? You’re probably covered.
What would you like yours to be built around? Affordability? Power? Your wrist?