The greatest benefit of consoles can also be viewed as their biggest problem. When you buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 you can play every available title for that machine. This accessibility means that you don’t have to worry whether your system has the required specifications and you don’t have to consider upgrading your machine every few months to ensure that you can play the latest title. New console releases typically arrive at least every five years so, in this respect at least, you get your money’s worth.
However, this same accessibility and compatibility also means that the hardcore gamer can only really upgrade the display that they play games on and the peripherals that they use. The PC gamer will tell you that this isn’t enough, and that being able to upgrade graphics and video cards as well as other specifications of their machine is of great benefit to them.
On the one side, then, we have gamers that love the ease and compatibility of console gaming while, on the other side, we have PC gamers that prefer the complexity and the ability to upgrade their machines.
Bearing this in mind, we’re not entirely sure where buyers of the Steam Machine from Valve will fall.
On the one hand, it is a games console. It plugs into your TV and offers instant gaming with little of the faff that’s required to start playing PC games. However, according to Valve, it will also be fully upgradeable much like a PC, which means that casual gamers are unlikely to be interested. It also brings the whole compatibility issue to light once again. What’s more, it begs the question of who will be developing the titles that will prove essential to the success of the machine.
The Steam Machine will be available from 2014 and it will be available through a number of companies, so each model will be slightly different.
By registering now for Steam Universe and agreeing to terms and conditions you could be one of the lucky 300 that receive a prototype of the console. This could offer you the chance to see exactly how the upgradeable machine works and whether it falls on the side of console or PC in the big games console picture.