It’s official, “the universe is expanding in 2014,” and Valve is coming to a living room near you. In the first of three announcements rolled out last week, Gabe Newell of Valve announced Monday the release of SteamOS. That’s right, an operating system built solely around Steam. Open source and completely free, SteamOS is targeted at those wishing to experience all the greatness of the Windows and Mac games in their Steam library on the big screen without sacrificing an ounce of performance or audio quality.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. On Wednesday, Newell announced part two of his epic surprise, “Steam Machines.” Take note, machines is plural because Valve is releasing not one, but a variety Steam gaming machines made by different manufacturers, all of which will run SteamOS. The variety of boxes is designed to allow consumers a range of “size, price, quietness and other factors” to choose from. Better yet, if you’ve got the itch to build your own Steam Machine, there’s nothing stopping you.
Announced as being available early 2014, those who simply can’t wait to get in on the action can qualify for a lottery style beta. 300 Steam users will be picked to receive prototypes that they then use to provide feedback. Valve has also noted and perhaps encouraged user’s ability to hack their boxes.
One announcement left and come Thursday night last week, every known user in the gamesphere was on the edge of their seat watching the countdown. On everyone’s mind, the possibility of the impossible … would Gabe Newell finally announce “Half Life 3?” What better way to sell a new product than to release a new installment to one of the greatest defining video games in the history of the industry? On Thursday night as I sat salivating, I even took to drawing a “3” onto my “Half Life” tattoo…it’s only weird if it doesn’t work right?
Well Friday morning Valve rolled out their final announcement for the time being. To the disappointment of many, it wasn’t the Half Life 3 we’d been looking for. That said, the Steam Controller they announced looks pretty freakin’ cool! The most notable difference between the Steam Controller and the controllers we have come accustomed to in the past is the replacement of control sticks with dual trackpads and the addition of advanced “super-precise haptic feedback.” In laymen terms, this controller will give you the most epic thumbgasms you’ve ever experienced. All games supported by Steam, old and new will be available for play using the new controller, even games that were originally made for only a mouse and keyboard. The controller also boasts an easy to use touchscreen in the center that allows for easy access to a players Steam overlay.
Though Valve has vowed to reveal more in the coming months in regard to the development and capabilities of these new projects, those of us who were foaming at the mouth for a Half Life 3 will have to keep foaming.
However I do believe Newell missed a brilliant chance to troll the entire gamesphere; just as he was leaving the podium following Friday’s announcement he should turned to the crowd and said “Oh, and “Half Life 3” drops on Saturday.”
Until then, I’ll start saving my nickels and pennies, and enter for a beta console.